Wildcat Ridge Romp 50K, Rockaway, New Jersey 3,5

High Point: 1050' - Low Point: 650' - RESULTS

August 10, 2013 - I did not do diligence on this event.  Figuring it was but 25
miles from midtown Manhattan, I guess I expected mostly a metro woodsy
run.  Shame on me.  This turned out to be one of the most technical courses
I've been on this year, including Manitou's.  It took some serious rock dancing
and agile maneuvering to negotiate this one.  I should have figured that any
event with the word "ridge" as a part of the name had to be rocky.  Then too
I had completely forgotten that this part of the country got absolutely
hammered during the last Ice Age.  The wildlife management area that we
would run through showed heavy evidence of glaciation.  There was the usual
garbage and scrap metal you might expect in the woods this close to major
civilization, and broken glass shards were as common as gravel at many points,
but for being this close to the city this area was rugged and wild.  A huge bear
was spotted close right before the start.  Apparently there are a lot of bears,
but all I encountered all day would be a quick-moving six-foot black snake that
shot across the trail in front of me.  Anyway, let it be known that I highly
recommend this event to any of my rock running friends.  Green Pond Road in
Rockaway is the place if you want a formidable challenge.

The course has mild hills throughout - all runnable - but seemingly always in
your face.  Feeling rested after two weeks off, I felt good and started off
without any complaints.  The pure technical nature of the course slowed most
everyone.  I really worked hard at not falling, but still went down five or six
times.  The route involved doing a 10.5-mile loop three times to complete 50K.
The first time around it took me 2 hours and 1 minute, which dashed hopes of
finishing around 5:30 - the course was just too technical for that.  By ten miles
I was loosened up enough to put on my race face and begin to move up in the
field, as usual.  I fell hard on the second loop and got twisted up in the rocks,
bruising my left quadricep enough to make every step painful.  I was running
with some other people so I just tried to hang in there for the sake of company.
Feeling good mostly, I moved out and completed the second loop in 2 hours and
12 minutes.  Still feeling good I felt a 6:30 finish was probably what I could do
on this day.  On the third loop I got lost with Melissa Woods, friend of lots of 
people I know, and we ended up running an additional two-and-a-half to three
miles for the day.  Damn.  She was pissed, but I have been there before and
just made the best of it and backed off my ambitions.  I don't know how we
got lost; all I can say is that when I am in conversation with someone else I am
not paying as keen attention to what I'm doing, thus I fall more too.

As I kicked back and accepted the fate of a busted race, I took it easy on my
sore quad and increasingly tender right Achilles and finally managed to finish
without getting lost a second time in 7:24:29.  Oh well.  I gave up an hour and
ran at least 34 miles to get it done.  Not that important of an event, but I'm
sure glad I came.  It beat me up enough that I am forced to cancel out of a fifty
miler I am registered for next weekend.  This one will require more than a week
of recovery.  Maybe too many miles racing this year? Time for some serious rest.