Awesome day for a long trail run. Warm weather helped make the Gil's Athletic Club's 10th Annual Fat Ass 50K a very enjoyable event. For anyone reading this who might not know, the loose definition of a "Fat Ass" race is one that is very low-key and there is typically no entry fee. All that is asked is that you bring something for the aid station table (I brought a 12-pack of Moxie, cookies, and chips). They are very laid back and more of a glorified training run than a race.
Ian and I headed down this morning, arriving in plenty of time to get our gear ready and socialize. Was happy to see Ron Farkash and John O'Connor there, two running acquaintances who also ran the Vermont 100. Was happy to learn that John also got in the Western States. Jeff Washburn also made an appearance, and is looking really great after suffering from a big stroke several months ago.
For the run, I was trying out a newly constructed pair of screw shoes to help with traction on the ice and snow. I drilled 18 sheet metal screws (each) into the bottom of a pair of old trail running shoes. They did even better than I expected. A+ for sure. Sure the snow and ice inevitably made things slower, particularly the uneven footing on the snow, but there was never one ounce of doubt of slipping. Grip was incredible on the icy sections.
The race started at 9am and we were off to run the 10K loop five times. Ian and I both had the same goal, to not race it and just treat it as a relaxed training run. Mission accomplished and we had a blast, running the entire race together.
Loop by Loop Recap
Loop one was fun, and Ron and I in particular yucked up a storm of conversation around all things ultra-related. Easy to do with energy so high early on.
Loop two was also fun. I started the race with a fleece jacket over a short sleeved shirt, but ditched the jacket for this loop and replaced it with a long sleeved shirt. Ron moved ahead here but John stayed with Ian and I.
Loop three, yup, still fun and feeling strong. Day continued to get warmer and the snow a bit softer, but it never turned as mash potato-like as I thought it would, which was good. I mused during this loop that since there were five loops, the race was like a work week. It was now Wednesday.
Loop four - John called it a day here, but Ian and I went on. Ditched the long sleeve shirt and wore a pair of Moeben sleeves. The owner graciously sent me a few pairs to share with my friends and try out, and I really like them a lot (Ian likes his too). Very comfortable and warm. Our splits for each loop were pretty consistent. I regret not taking the auto-lap counter for each mile off, and manually taking a lap reading after each loop instead. But overall, our times look like they were pretty close for each loop. The only thing that got longer was our stops at the aid station, but we didn't care. Conversation was pretty minimal from here on out. We were both feeling strong, but obviously a bit more tired.
Loop five - Final loop. Friday. I marveled at how well I was still feeling. Granted, we had been running at a snail's pace from the start, but still. We kicked in the turbo for the last half mile or so and finished with plenty left in the tank. Funny that I set a new 50K PR with this race even though I wasn't trying... but it had been a long while since I've run a 50K and my time before was way slow to begin with. Not a big accomplishment on that front, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.
Really fun time. An absolute blast in fact. Those GAC running club guys are a lot of fun and put on some great races. This was no exception.
Ran 31.1 miles @ 10:26/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 144/171
Trails with packed snow.
Upper 20s warming to around 40. Clear to mostly cloudy.
See notes above regarding clothing, since it varied so much.