BDR Starkey Trail Relay (Inaugural)
Team members: Eric, Katrina, Daisy, and myself (original member Marina was there most of the weekend to cheer us on and general support, I was taking her place due to a back injury)
My loops below in backward chronological. Temperatures perfect for running, daytime felt a little warm if the sun not behind a cloud and the wind stopped and you're running on the sand, or felt chilly with the wind blowing. Night time got down to the high 40's.
I spent some time in a tent in a sleeping bag but couldn't quite get warm enough so ended up spending a good part of the time at night in my car. The parking area was close to the exchange area and not all that far from the tents. There was also a campfire for s'mores and warmth as well as a big screen TV where they played movies at night.
Refreshment table had water, gatorade, various snacks, and in the morning had Dunkin Donuts coffee and donut holes.
We had a lot of food at our tent and Eric had a cook stove to make grilled cheese sandwiches which looked really good but I missed having one due to timing. I did have a pulled pork sandwich and mac 'n cheese from one of the food trucks there during the day so never felt too hungry.
Our tent was set up next to the "Trail Pirates" with Ben, Mike, Nick, and Brad
There was also a woman there who asked if I was Tom's dad. She was a big fan of his, inspired by his dedication.
6.55@8:49 - Loop C Relay finish (Sunday 9:35 am)
I was pretty happy with this loop. Basically, I'd been up all night, more or less, had already run 30 miles and a lot of people were already done. But I was excited to get back out there. I watched for Eric coming in and he handed off the bib to me near our tent but then ran with me to the official exchange point so he'd complete his loop. Loop C was much nicer in the daytime, first mile was a reasonable 9:13, then the rest of the miles were all well under 9:00. Sun was out, and like yesterday could be warm when out in the open, but through the trees was much cooler. The section just before until just after the power lines was difficult but at least I could see what I was doing. Then the rest was home stretch.
9.99@9:52 - Loop A-B Combo (Sunday 5:07 am, picking up extra "A" loop from Katrina)
Original plan was for me to do Loop B as my last night time loop. Picking up Katrina's loop A meant I was going to just start a little bit early and have one more loop in the dark. But, the good thing about all the sand on Loop A is that there is very little to trip over. I kept thinking to myself, ok, this is only 10 miles and I'm just trying to do about a 10 minute pace, this is not a hard run. At the start of the loop Eric didn't realize I was running a double and then I wasn't sure if the plan changed again so when I get back near the tent I slowed down, checked my messages, grabbed a quick drink and finished up the loop after verifying, yes I'm running two.
So, the 4th mile was onto B loop which starts on the paved bike trail so I made up some of the time I lost slowing down at the tent. Then, more onto the bike trail where next two miles were faster than 9:00 pace. Turn right onto the power line road and slowed a couple of times when navigating the big, sharp, poking gravel and the couple of water obstacles. There was a guy I kept on almost catching up to but then lose as I'd slow down. I also stopped once to empy a pebble out of my shoe. Finally passed the guy as were were turning off of the dirt road and onto the trail. Shortly after that , a woman passed me as I was slowing down for some sort of obstacle. I stayed pretty close to her but as I'd pick up my pace so would she with us going from a 10:30 pace down to a 9:00 pace.
It was getting close to light, but just before it did I say a bead of light right before me, suspended a few feet above the trail and then it rose straight up into the air like a tiny spaceship. I got closer to it, it suddenly rose up higher and I relaized it must've been a bird with my headlamp reflecting off its eye. Just after that, there was a man off to the side of the trail with his dogs who was making room. I could see the two sets of eyes from his dogs and heard the man telling them to settle down.
All of the loops converge onto a wood chip covered trail, then cross a timing mat about 1/3 of a mile from the finish until out in the open through the camping area. Sprinted in as best I could and looked for my team mate. Uh-oh, no one there. Daisy where are you? She showed up a couple minutes later, nature had called. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Break time! My shoes were now damp from dew and a couple of the puddles I couldn't avoid 100%. Temps were at their lowest, maybe about 48 degrees. Shorts, long sleeve shirt, and tall socks were good enough for running but I quickly got chilled, so grabbed some coffee and a couple donut holes then warmed back up in my car. Daisy was out on the C loop and then Eric would do the A-B combo then I'd wrap things up.
3.76@9:06 - Loop A , second time (Sunday 2:20 am) - This loop went pretty well, felt better than the first night time loop, also knew the ground better and knew there was less stuff to trip on with much of it sandy, I felt comfortable running faster. Didn't wear a hat so I didn't fuss with the headlamp moving around as much and although it was a little chilly was fine for running once warmed up. When I got to the point where the Loop A and Loop B converged not far from the end another runner merged onto the trail from the B loop. He was moving pretty good but I stayed ahead. I heard him call out "good job runner ahead!". I recognized the voice, it was Mike H. from the "Trail Pirates". I thouht he would catch me but I managed to stay ahead. He thanked me later as it was easier for him to keep the pace while following me. The Trail Pirates were the favorite to win the "ultra" division.
I'd soon find out that the next loop for me would be another round of Loop A, going directly into Loop B.
6.53@10:06 - Loop C, first dark loop (Saturday 9:50 pm) - started off feeling really slow, first mile was 11 minute pace, got faster the next couple of miles and then slowed at the section just before and through the power lines. Ground was unfamiliar and a little harder to navigate than other trail sections. There was a water obstacle I slowed down around but the last mile and a half was pretty easy running compared to the first 5 miles and made up some of the time pacewise. Was hoping for more like 9:30 average but could've been worse. First night loop done!
6.28@8:15 - Loop B (Saturday 6:00 pm) - This loop is a mix of pavement, dirt utility road, and trail, with very little sugar sand and a couple of water obstacles. After the handoff, I spent too much time putting on the bib belt that we shared. The first mile should've been much faster but was 9:15, next two miles much faster at 8:02 and 7:52. The 4th mile started out fast running down the road under the power lines, but I had to slow down going over a section of large gravel pieces that would poke into your shoe (trail shoes would've been a great choice), but still "slow" 8:17 pace was not bad, next couple miles were 8:11 and 7:59, and 7:44 pace for the last 0.2. Katrina had put together a spreadsheet with estimated start/finish. I told her to put me down for 8:30 pace (originally had me at 8:00). So far I'm ahead of schedule, but those night time miles are going to be harder.
3.69@7:56 - Loop A (Saturday 2:58 pm) - This is the shortest loop, it's also the one with the most sugar sand (but plus side is very few roots to worry about tripping over). As runner number 4, and having been here since 10:15 this morning and watching the other runners go out and come back I was itching to go. I went out hard, knowing there was plenty of time to recover. I haven't run this fast on a trail in a while and it was good to see I could still go under 8:00 on the sandy trails. I'll have to come back and practice some more so I'm not always used to doing 11, 12, or 13 minute miles