Friday, April 10, 2015

Twin State 50km 2015 - Race Report

I remember hearing about the Twin State 50k/50m race from my friend and training partner Jay that ran it. The race is a "Fat Ass" style race run on mostly dirt roads run in the hilly Windsor, VT area and takes place on some of the Vermont 100 mile course that I had run while pacing Justin Contois there. This would be slightly different weather from the summer VT 100 race, with the Twin State taking place in the end of March (it was early April last year, and the VT 100 is in July), but the location is easy to get to from my house and Jay has a co-worker that allows us to stay at his place. I decided to sign up this year and initially went for the 50 mile course, but due to not really being motivated this winter season to get a lot of miles in I decided I would be better suited to run the 50k course. Additionally, I'm not sure I could physically (or mentally) run 50 miles on roads.

Map of GPS track

Elevation profile

Even though the course is on dirt roads, it still ends up having around 4,100-4,400 feet of climbing as you rise out of the town of Windsor to the hilly dirt roads and farm country overlooking Mt. Ascutney. The race runs around the area of West Windsor and at several times along the course, the mountain comes into view as you climb and descend the frequent hills. There were two start times to choose from either 6:30am or 8:30am and since we were going to be up there Friday night, we chose the earlier time. Also, that would give us a chance to finish the race a little earlier in the day.

There were probably 30 people for the start of the race, meeting in the Windsor HS parking lot. The beginning of the race starts with a 2.5 mile climb up to the dirt roads surrounding the town. The scenery from the first high point on would prove to be great, even on the grey day that we had. I ran with Jay and Mariana (the eventual third place female and 13th overall) to start the race and slowly pulled away somewhere around mile 3 or 4. I was trying to keep a consistent effort on what I knew would be a long run with a fair amount of climbing.

The hills and changing viewpoints went by pretty uneventfully until mile 28, when I had a tough time climbing up the last hill. The miles were starting to wear on me at this point, probably due to the fact I haven't run over 22 miles on roads for a long time. I talked myself into just pushing for those last few miles and the run would be complete. I ended up seeing Jay and Mariana coming up the last hill I struggled on as I was heading down. I got a major hamstring cramp just as they went by, but it went away quickly. Heading back across the covered bridge into the town, I had a small amount of energy left and just put it all into getting the race done.

One of the first downhills

Mt. Ascutney view

Panorama looking towards Mt. Ascutney

Cowshed Trail

The covered bridge across the Connecticut River

Jay finishing up his 50k with a 47 minute PR

I ended up finishing eighth out of 51 50k finishers and I am happy with the effort and run that I put in. It definitely lets me know where I am at after this inconsistent winter of training, and I know where I would like to be leading into the next race. Jay ended up placing 14th and took 47 minutes off his PR that day, and Mariana was 13th and 3rd female. It was a great race and I had fun up there for the weekend. After we were done, we headed over to Harpoon Brewery for some recovery drinks and food.

Coming up next, I will run the TARC Spring Classic 50k in Weston, MA on April 25th with an (far) outside goal of running a sub-4 hr effort. My "A" goal is to try for a personal record at the distance, which is 4:27, that I set at the 2013 TARC Fall Classic. The Spring Classic is a relatively flat course that I have run a portion of during the inaugural TARC 100 miler in 2013 with Justin Contois and Eric Ahern. I'm hoping to wrap these two 50ks into continued training for another attempt at the AMC Hut Traverse sometime in early July. I'm hoping to finish that one this time, read my report from last summer's attempt with Chris Dailey.

Gear used:
Shoes: Inov8 Raceultra 290
Socks: Darn Tough VT 1/4 light cushion
Pack: Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek
Gels: CarbBoom and Honey Stinger

Twin State Results can be found here

and the strava link is found here