TagRunning

VT100 Finish

Photo taken at: West Windsor, Vermont

In races of all kinds, there’s always a push to finish strong. Most runners conserve that little energy to turbo boost at the last quarter mile. While it’s exhilarating to watch that strong finish, I’ve always been enamored by those who trudge in slowly, with almost no display of gratification as they cross the line.

Today as I stood behind the finish line watching runners slowly trickle in, one particular runner swept the ground away from beneath my feet. The clock froze at 03:04am as he limped across the line. Pale face, headlamp off and no support crew. All he did was turn around, looked at the finish line for that bleak second, stopped his watch and plopped on the ground. I could sense he was frozen in time and so was I. Wonder what was grinding in his mind. Was he happy he finished the run? Was he in pain? Did he know he’d finished? Was he just soaking it all in? Or was he contemplating what to do next? Why was he all alone there? I heavily resisted the urge to go speak to him and let him savor the moment. Some questions are better left unanswered.

Volunteering at the VT100 this weekend has truly been an experience. Way different from last year. Last year I was predominantly taking care of the runners needs and ended up pacing a gentleman for about 17 miles. This year, I ended up primarily taking care of parking duties, closing out the camp and fixing a support van’s flat tire.  Nothing beyond the call of duty. But if I were to steal one snapshot from this weekend, it would be that brief moment at the finish line where I seemed to connect with that runner.

The Wapack and Back 50 miler earlier this year was a reasonable goal I’d set for myself. Something that I put in a ton of effort for but miserably failed. I let my practical side easily override my neural urges and THAT is something I want to breach. Someday I’d like to cross a bold finish line. Something that I demarcate myself. And when I do that, I want to have invested everything that I could in my realms into it, and go beyond that. Only then will I possibly start scraping the surface…

Not all finish lines are the same…

Middlesex 17 miler

A good 5 hours out in the woods. Terribly underestimated the skyline trail. Quite a few foot slips and ankle twists made it more of a hike than a run. Also looks like my body is ‘reacting’ to the weekday runs. Badly needed some tummilicious food at mile 13. Note to self for future runs!

Finally got around visiting the Wrights tower! Despite visiting the fells several times over the last few years, I’ve never really ‘made it’ to this section of the trail. The tower by itself is nothing impressive but it does have some interesting history. Ice from here was apparently exported to India way back in the 1800s when Middlesex fells was a commercial plot. The tower gets it’s name from Elizur Wright who was instrumental in converting the erstwhile commercial land to what is now called the Middlesex Fells reservation.

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The Bear Mountain Half

Ran the #ECSNY Half at the Bear Mountain State park today! As the stats down under reveal – this was one divine killer run. One of the hardest long-runs I’ve run so far. My average timing on ‘flat-road’ half-marathons has been 02:10.  Over the last few weeks as I mentally and physically prepared for this run I was estimating a sub 03:00 finish.

BMSP NF

About six miles on the trail I targeted a sub 02:45 finish – But I guess I succumbed to the mountains and then the mind lost to the body in the last 3 or 4 miles. My initial strategy was to hike up the inclines and run down the slopes. Out there, running down the trails was absolutely inevitable and my glutes and calves reminded me of the innumerable hikes done years back in India. A gracious fall by a culvert further slowed me down. I ended with a 03:27 finish. Though these run stats are deplorable even under average standards; I had a truly wonderful time on the trail there.

In hindsight, I believe I need to strongly work on my lower back and do a lot more hill training. Also calls for a lot more hikes to work on the glutes and calves.  Now that the Bear mountain hike is off the list, eye’s on the SRT hike/run later this year.

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