I want to start off this race report by first acknowledging the race directors, sponsors, and especially the volunteers who spent a very long Saturday in the wind and rain to make this race possible. The amount of organization taken to successfully and smoothly park 1,000+ people’s worth of cars without issue was amazing!
Waking up at 2am to the sound of sheets of rain hitting the hotel window didn’t quite allow me to sleep easy the night before the race. When my alarm went off at 4:45, it was quiet. Music to my ears as I sipped my Kenya coffee. No rain for my warm up and the start of the race was all I wished for, and mother nature delivered! The race started at 8am sharp, and eventual winner David Roche took off like he stole something. A gap immediately formed between Roche and the 12 person peloton that would hope to chase him down in the remaining 30 miles. I made the decision in the first few minutes of the race that I would go out with that front pack and try to compete as long as I could. Although slightly out of my comfort zone, the first 8 mile loop felt smooth and somewhat in control.
After The North Face 50 Mile in December, the weakest part of my race was anything downhill. This past training block, I tried to put more focus on the downhill aspect of my running and it made a big difference. For the first time in my life, I was not only keeping up with others on the technical, rocky downhills, but I was even going by some people. Footwear choice was definitely important on a muddy, sloppy day like that, and for once, I made the correct choice. The New Balance Vazee Summit was the perfect shoe for today’s conditions. I will be putting up my first full shoe review of the Vazee Summit in a few weeks for those interested.
Miles 12-17 were the very fast and runnable Quarry Trail. Disappointingly, this was the weakest part of my race, as I was having a hard time finding a comfortable tempo rhythm to settle into. 17-25 were back onto the single track and I was having a blast! Winding through the trail, splashing through creeks, and getting dirty encompassed everything I’ve desired out of a trail race.
At some point in a race though, things start to get tough. On Saturday, that was right around the marathon point. Those who have seen me race know that I have a certain face when things get tough. I wore that face all the way to the finish as the last few climbs seemed to beat me to a pulp.
Fortunately, I only died in a minor way (unlike the last time I raced in Auburn) and held on for 7th in 3:32; an 11 minute personal best at the 50k distance.
A few stats about the race:
- Number of runnings of the Way Too Cool 50k
- Number of finishers in 2016
- Fastest 7th place finish in WTC history
- Guys under 3:40 in 2016. Previous best was 8 from 2015
- Ladies under 4 hours in 2016. Ties best from 2015
- Number of times Alex Varner pooped in the bushes before the race (bathroom neighbors)
Strava data from race can be found here