Let me begin by congratulating Brian B. as well as coaches Erika and Stacey on completing this challenging event. Brian showed great dedication and determination throughout his training leading up to the race, and continued with more of the same on race day, as he finished with a solid time, looking strong, comfortable, and in good spirits. From Brian:
One of the best memories came just before the start of the race as the race director was giving announcements. Erika, Stacey, and I were chatting away and missed all of it which made me laugh because they both have called me out for not paying attention to them as they’ve gone over the WOD.
The race itself was just amazing. The scenery was great and helped, if only slightly, to take my mind off the pain of the long climbs. The people running the race were just as friendly as can be. It reminded me of the feeling that you have in the middle of a Hero WOD when everyone wants to stop but nobody wants anyone else to stop. People were cheering for each other, sharing water, and even running alongside for companionship. And after the race as we’re all struggling to return to normal, it felt like a gathering of longtime friends. A few guys were even trying to get me to join them on another trail race in a few weeks. We’ll see…
More than anything else I feel the need to thank Eric for all his help preparing for this race. Between the extra endurance wods and conversations about nutrition I felt strong during the entirety of the race. The only other time I’ve run close to this distance I hit a wall a few miles before the end of the run and that was on flat road. Clearly this stuff works and I’m super excited for future endurance events.
For Erika and Stacey this was about 18 miles and 3,000′ of elevation outside their comfort zones, making this as much, if not more of a mental challenge, than a physical one (even more on this to come). Both women completed the race, an accomplishment in and of itself, and can hold their heads high having done so. I’m very proud of all three of our athletes that set out this past Sunday morning to take on climbs and descents over four mountains (twice!), and got it done.
I’ll begin my personal 2012 Wapack Trail Race experience by letting the race report set the scene.
Clear skies, temperatures in the 60s, and low humidity greeted the record field of runners this year. Views of Mt. Monadnock were once again spectacular and the trail was generally very dry, although a few dark clouds and even a quick hard rain appeared during the race. While a logging operation along the trail had threatened to cause a detour of an extra 2 miles and 600 feet of elevation, it was unexpectedly cleared up just before the race.
Conditions were much nicer than 2011′s temperatures in the 80s and high humidity. My goal was to complete the race in under 4 hours, a PR by over 13 minutes, and my plan was to take what my body and the trail would give me. Overall I was very pleased with my speed on the parts of the trail that allowed for running, as well as my ability to quickly navigate the descents. My legs felt stronger than last year on the ascents, but the first one, after a brisk 10 minute run to get to it, was still a bit of a shock to the system.
Through about 12 miles, and the final aid station, I was hitting all of the time checkpoints I set for myself. Unfortunately, my legs had started cramping up roughly 3 miles before that, shortly after the turnaround. This is beyond a common occurrence for me in longer events, and has become an inevitability. I believe I did a better job supplementing this race than any previous, but it’s going to be back to the drawing board before the next one. The onset of muscle cramps came earlier, and were more widespread than last year, but this year I was ready to fight.
I’m most proud of myself, not for PR’ing, but for what I did to get it. Rather than succumbing to the pain in my legs, I pressed on, and worked as hard as they would allow. I believe two things gave me the ability to do this. First, experience. I’m not the best at remembering directions, or where I’ve been (there’s a reason some of the other CFF coaches have nicknamed me GPS), but having completed this course once before, rather than panic, I had a better idea of where I needed to be at approximate points to reach my goal, and that’s the second part. I had a goal. I believe if I didn’t have a specific goal, the course would have won. The number “4″ was burned into my mind’s eye, and drove me to take everything I could from my body and the trail, bombing down the final descent, and charging the last stretch of dirt/grass road.
I described the way I felt after completing the 2011 Wapack Trail Race as “the least comfortable I’d ever been.” For some time after that race I couldn’t find a comfortable position to sit in, and Lesley needed to drive me home. That was not the case in 2012. After a strong finish, I felt good post-race, and even managed to drive back (thanks to Les for being there to support me, just in case. I couldn’t do it without you). I’m happy with my performance, quantitatively (3:57:16, a PR of 16:08) and qualitatively. Although I still felt like a gazelle in a race with mountain goats, I look forward to doing it again in 2013, hopefully with an even bigger crew of CrossFit Fenway athletes.
- Muscle-up Review
- 2 Muscle-ups or 2 muscle-up progressions every minute on the minute for 10 minutes