Sunday, April 24, 2011

Traprock Race Report

It's been over a week since the race, and I think it's taking Goat and me longer to recover from the event than the runners.  Wow, what a day it was...!

We arrived at 7AM to start setting up for the race and many runners were already milling about the parking lot.  The good news was that there were plenty of willing hands to help move equipment and help set up.   Even though we put a lot of time into organizing for the day, it was still a bit of chaos!  While people started unloading, I quickly hammered in some signs along the road and handed out traffic flags to our parking attendants.  Miriam pulled together the volunteers and started organizing aid stations.  Goat and Jessica set up registration while I helped with the tent and the start/finish area.  We owe a big thanks to Jerry Turk for the use of his structure for the start/finish line as well as his timing clock as well as a big thank you to the Shenipsit Striders for the use of their tent for one of the aid stations.  While we are passing out thanks, let's not forget all the great documentation of the event - photos and video provided courtesy of Chad Hussey, Sneak Bear productions, Bob Malloch, and Flo Dickie.  A huge thank you to all the volunteers throughout the day - you folks make all the difference!  All of the photos in this blog courtesy of Chad Hussey.

Once we sorted out registration, it was time to get everyone to the starting line.  We had promised an 8:30 start time and I did not want to disappoint.  After a few remarks including course description, the runners were off!   The 50K quickly turned into a 3 man race with Dane Mitchell, Ben Nephew, and Brian Rusiecki staying close together on lap one.  There was a big gap to the rest of the field including Deb Livingston taking charge in the ladies race followed closely by Sheryl Wheeler.

It was fun to see some of the runners coming into the aid station, but we really didn't get much chance to watch the race.  There were reports of 2 injured runners on the course, so we needed to ensure they received first aid.  The good news was that no one was lost this year.  The course was dry, but injuries were the story of the day as many took a tumble along the way.

Before too long, Rich Fargo came through to break the tape for the 17K race in 1:23:46.  There was a large gap after Rich with nearly 12 minutes elapsed until Andrew Skarzynski crossed the line at 1:35:33.  In the women's race, it was Patty Subik-Reilly in 1:50:24 taking a piece of the rock followed closely by my a rookie trail runner, Charlotte Davies (my true love), one minute back.

While the 17K runners enjoyed a burger, the 50K runners were battling the course and the spectators and  volunteers were battling the cold.  Temps were cooler than last year, but we were grateful the rain remained at bay.  After 2 laps, Brian Rusiecki had dropped off the pace a bit, but Nate and Ben were still within a couple minutes of eachother.  It was great to have such a high caliber field in only our second year, and we were anxious to see who would prevail.  As it turns out, all Top 3 runners broke the course record handily with Dane Mitchell finishing the course in 3:55:17 followed closely by Ben Nephew in 3:56:39.  Brian held on for a strong 3rd place finish in 4:04:38.  These 3 guys set the bar high for next year's race as there was a gap of more than 30 minutes with the rest of the field.

In the women's race Deb Livingston defended her title with a time of 5:09:30 with Sheryl Wheeler close behind and taking top female Master's plaque with a time of 5:14:23.

Overall, we had 65 finishers in the 50K and 50 finishers in the 17K.  There were a few DNF's due to injury and fatigue, but overall everyone seemed to have fun!  Most people enjoyed a burger and seemed anxious to race home to fill their well earned Traprock pint glass!

In reflection, it appears that we end this year with another group of happy customers.  We worked hard to ensure everyone had plenty of food, water, and gatorade as well as a well-marked course and enthusiastic volunteers.  Runners were even able to take in views this year from the ridgeline.  The T-shirts were fantastic this year and everyone seemed pleased with the pint glass (I think the glass will be a permanent fixture now).  Come back next year to add to the collection!

We are still tallying up the numbers, we plan to donate any surplus to Haiti relief.  Unfortunately, due to the added equipment required to host a larger field, it doesn't look like we will clear much this year.  The good news is that we should not need a significant investment next year.

We are glad everyone enjoyed the race this year.  I think this year's race was better organized and supported.  Last year, everyone was pleased to see to see us pull off our maiden voyage and provided high praise.  This year, we felt an obligation to deliver and improve on the mark we set last year.  It was a tremendous amount of work, but is very rewarding to see the smiles on the faces of the finishers and hear the comments about the course.  It's our chance to give back to a sport that has been so very rewarding to us.  Hope you all enjoyed Traprock 2011!  Goat, Marty, and I are already planning for 2012 and plan to deliver an even better event next year!  We're even thinking about adding a couple other races to our portfolio.  Who knows?  This could keep us busy for a long time :-)



Monday, April 11, 2011

Crunch time!

We're 5 days away from the 2nd annual Traprock 50K and 4 days from the annual tax deadline and I'm feeling the pressure.  Taxes are almost wrapped up and Traprock is almost ready for it's second showing, but it's coming down to the wire.  We have nearly tripled the field this year (nearly 140 runners at last count), so Goat and I are a bit concerned with the rapid growth in the past few weeks.  It's a lot!

My garage looks like it's stocked for the next global disaster and I don't even have everything at my place.  I have 3 tents, 6 tables, 5 five gallon water jugs, about 40 gallons of gatorade, 2 coolers for ice, all kinds of flagging, award plaques, sand bags, PVC structures, and lots of other race goodies.  Goat has a similar stash at his place, and Marty has enough food to feed a small army.

Don't get me wrong...we are really, really excited about this year's race!  We have a great field of runners and it feels like it should be a manageable number of people.  It will probably max us out for parking, but otherwise we should be OK.

It's really been great to see the race come together this year.  So many more people are involved and we have a lot more planned for this year's event.  Last year we didn't even have an official finish line for Pete's sake!  This year will be much better.

It's also been interesting given my physical status.  I was still on crutches in February, and walking on and off with a cane until about 1 week ago.  My goal was to walk without a limp or pain by my Birthday (April 4th), and it didn't quite happen.  The good news is that I'm almost there.  If I hadn't set that goal, I suspect I would be much further behind at this point.  Now, I'm very close to walking normally.  The leg isn't perfect, but we're getting close to a reasonable stride.

Up until a month ago, I couldn't get myself to think much about Traprock.  I was focused on getting better....but I knew I would see many of my friends on April 16, and want to make a good showing.  I want to be able to help set up and walk around all day without pain.  It's coming down to the wire!  I can walk reasonably well and everyday gets better.

Yesterday, I had to scream and laugh with excitement when I was able to dry my right foot while standing only on my repaired leg  (without holding onto anything) for the first time in 7 months.   You may have no idea how amazing it is to experience it, but trust's like breaking one of your personal records in running (but better).   I climbed rock briefly on Wednesday and everyone was excited for me.  It was OK, but standing on one leg for 4 seconds was waaaayyy better in my mind.  Wooohooo!!!

So, Friday is the day when I attempt to walk the Traprock course to mark it for the race.  In the interest of time, Goat and Marty will be there to help as well.  We'll split up the course and attack it from all angles. I'll cover as much ground as my body will permit.  I'll have to keep in mind that I'll need to be on my feet all day Saturday as well.  Nevertheless, I'm as anxious to see how I make out as all the runners are about their efforts in the 50K!

Good luck to all the runners this weekend and thank you all for sharing your weekend with us!  We appreciate you and intend to work hard to make it a memorable experience for all of you!

See you all Saturday!