Ghost Train Rail Trail 60M, Brookline, New Hampshire 2,2

RESULTS                VIMEO
October 26, 2013 - Signing up for races well in advance has become a standard
for participating in ultra running events, but life has a way of sometimes derailing
the best laid ambitions, leaving one questioning why they are even toeing the line
when they may be neither prepared nor have the time for such challenging
distractions.  I was looking forward to rolling through a level hundred miles in
New Hampshire and crushing my previous personal best, but knew as the time
approached that I was probably foolish in even showing up due to my otherwise
"fullish" schedule and insufficient training.

Throwing all good sense to the wind, Mike Monyak and I rolled north with a
devil-may-care attitude.  Let the dice fall where they may.  Given the seasonally
cool temperatures expected we opted to stay at a warm hotel with a roof and
shower and cable TV even (I'm almost embarrassed to confess). What happened
to the days when I'd think nothing of shivering in a tent the night before an
event?  Life's just getting too comfortable.  Even the Ghost Train event seemed
mild by comparison to many of the other races I had done this year, bragging
in advance that it had none of that vertical nonsense of other races.  I wonder
if I am getting soft!!!   Naw.

Ghost Train sounded like a fun time and good opportunity to let the legs roll
unimpeded by roots and rocks.  A part of me was excited to see what I could do
on little to no training.  The other part of me was terrified at the prospect that 
immediately following the race: I would have to drive back the nine hours to PA
where I would be picking up a moving truck the next day, then pack the truck 
for two days before driving twelve hours to North Carolina where I would have
to unpack for two days, then drive back to PA.  Could I really run a hundred miles
and do all of that back to back to back???  Insane.  But at least, one might say, it
was in character!

So 0 dark early we toed the line at Camp Tevya next to a little covered bridge and
proceeded to follow a crushed limestone rail trail in 25 degree temps.  Despite
stripping down for the start, I was comfortable.  I eased into a good tempo early,
sharing the trail once again with my buddy Mike for awhile, just like old times.
Mike is always one step short of an ambulance ride, so I give him a lot of credit
for fighting to hold onto the dream while bearing the pain of career-ending 
debility.  He fights the good fight, but struggles to hold the line.

The route is an out-and-back for 7.5 miles each way, mostly level with some
climbing through the woods and a half mile of running along a road each way.
It is such a trail that one can build momentum and target a good time.  Aid
was appropriately spaced and very helpful.  The trail was adorned by beaucoup
carved pumpkins which were lit up at night and the occasional ghost along the
way to keep it light-hearted.  A recording of a train echoed within the tunnel
we passed through each time - below, making for a nice touch in keeping with the
theme of this event.  Each turn concluded with a run through the pedestrian
covered bridge - below, adding to the character of the day's experience.



I zoomed through the first 15 miles in 2 hours and 29 minutes, exactly on a ten-
minute pace.  I felt surprisingly good, was in excellent form without nagging
injury, and enjoyed the abundant social cameraderie.  At this point I was 
optimistic about my prospects for completing one hundred miles in a sub 24-hour
time.  The temps and weather were ideal and I wasn't thinking about what
awaited me when I got home.  Amy Hanlon surprised me on my first return
trip; since I didn't see her at the starting line I thought she was a no-show; I had
encouraged her to sign up for this, her first one hundred effort, and wanted to
be there to support and pace her, but she was already well behind and indicated
it was not going to be a great day for her.  I told her I would drag my feet a bit
so she could catch up.

I backed off by a minute per mile in the second go-round to hit 30 miles in 5:16,
which I was more than satisfied with.  Since my interval with Amy was growing
I chose to maintain and run for myself from this point.  She expressed doubts
about going the distance, so I worked at holding my tempo since my form was good
Nonetheless, I slowed  by another minute per mile to hit 45 miles in 8:20. I was
having a good outing and made the turn for the fourth lap after donning a headlamp
and enjoying a beer with Scott Slater, who I had run with quite a bit all day.

Early in the fourth lap both knees, especially the right, showed tenderness with
the ligaments starting to splay.  For some reason I failed to bring my wrap so
was left defenseless against the onset of pain.  I had no choice but to slow and
nurse my knees and concluded the event at 60 miles in 12 hours and 11 minutes,
watching those who I had spent the day with continue ahead without me.  Even
Amy stopped sometime during her fourth lap, her times indicating she was in 
far worse shape than me - too much racing probably for each of us.  Mike 
trudged onward on pure will power to cover sixty miles and finally caught up to 
me as I was dozing in the car afterwards.

I came to do a hundred, but was not disappointed in the effort I put out to cover
the distance that I achieved, enjoying my day and stopping before grinding myself
into injury.  After a couple hours of rest I was able to drive home the rest of the
night and prepare for the balance of my ultra week of moving, lifting, and travel. The move required an unexpected amount of time and energy, cutting into the efforts and times of three events that I engaged during the time of the move. Registering for races so far in advance leaves a lot of room for finally getting to race day not ready or able to do well. Nonetheless, with a bit of attitude adjustment one can still have a good day. Sure glad the move is out of the way, though!!! .

Team  Amy and Larry