Trap Pond 50K - Laurel, Delaware
April 8, 2018 - Trap Pond was a party of old friends. With Brother Don and Bob Burns in tow, I headed to Delaware for my first race in the First State and a reunion with one of our dear college friends, Don Daut. I was there for Don's first marathon in Cleveland after sharing more than a few rainy days in Clarion splashing puddles up and down Main Street in unchecked and unadulterated youthful abandonment. We are all brothers at heart and a reunion was long overdue. Don was signed up for the half marathon with three trips around Trap Pond; for me it would be six trips and a dog leg to round out a fast and flat absolutely hill-less 50K.
The race takes place on the flat and wide crushed stone surface of Trap Pond State Park's Bob Trail. The 50K was run on a counterclockwise out and back before running six clockwise trail loops. Arriving early it was great to once again share the day with Don Daut. My good friends Jackie and Al Ong also showed up to surprise me before the start.
At 0730 Jackie and I headed out for our adventure in 37 degrees and pure sunshine. As temps climbed to almost 50, I stripped down as I went. Don's half marathon began at 0745, so we were not able to run together. For the first out and back I took it real easy, pacing with a nuclear submarine commander stationed in Norfolk. By the time I was warmed up and ready to up the tempo I was reluctant to do so because of the fascinating conversation with my Navy pal Tyler.
Being a flat course, I could run evenly throughout. No roots no rocks, and no hills. Several boardwalks and bridges and a bit of road. Easy peasy. My out and back took about a half hour and each of the rounds were run at about 50 minutes. I didn't go faster at the start or slower toward the end. It was even throughout. While I did feel some fatigue from the after-effects of the previous day's 10K effort in Pennsylvania, my level of strength remained constant. It was a good testament to my level of fitness. The thousand miles I ran over the winter in the worst of conditions had formed a good fitness foundation while my knee was healing.
Making sure I could always hold conversation throughout the day I made some new friends. I never ran so fast that I couldn't chat. While my 5:32:00 time and 14th place finish was satisfying for the degree of effort invested into the run, I recognize that there is a whole lot more in reserve that could be used to produce a faster time. Had I not raced the day before, a sub 5 hour time was very achievable. After a few beers with the boys at a local Mexican hangout I came away feeling as prepared as I can be at this point before my first "A" race at Hellbender 100M in two weeks.
It was a great party. Perhaps the part I will remember most is when all three of my pals - Don, Don, and Bob - met me in the closing stages of the race to run in the final few hundred yards together. It is a solid reminder that old friends are the most cherished, and also that I have a lot of years of running left in me. As long as I can show up and run with old friends and new, I see no point in finding something else to do.
Photos courtesy of Al and Jackie Ong