VERT-Sasquatch Trail Race Recap

It started with the smell of dried leaves and ended with a fast descent leading to a grassy dash to the finish line.  Such was the VERT-Sasquatch Race, a 2.35 mile trail race held on July 15, 2012 at the Middlesex Fells.

When I turned 30 this year, I created a list of 30 things I wanted to accomplish in this 30th year of existence (inspired by my wife’s similar project).  Item #14 is “Complete a trail race.”  A short race close to home seemed the perfect opportunity to check an item off.  In high school, you could say I was a fairly serious, if not overly fast, runner.  I ran four years of cross country and indoor track and even attended Green Mountain Running Camp in Lyndonville, VT each summer.  Green Mountain featured an abundance of trails to run and is where I first found the joy of running through nature, as opposed to on asphalt.

Walking towards the start line of VERT took me right back to those high school XC days.  Somewhat inexplicably, the grassy stretch where the race started was covered in dried leaves, filling the air with a smell that I will forever associate with early season invitationals and dual meets.  I suppose there is an explanation, i.e. no one ever raked the leaves, but that takes away from the poetry of the moment.  I couldn’t help but think back to my first ever race in the summer of 1994 at Wickham Park, a 2.5 mile summer series race covering most of the same course as the state championships.  I sized up my competition in my wave, mostly based on appearance, and determined I wouldn’t be out line positioning myself near the front, mostly so I could avoid getting caught up in the mass start and risking a fall before the race even got going.  As the starter counted down, I got into a slight crouch and realized I was truly looking forward to a fun, hard race.

We had gotten some intelligence on the course before the start, which indicated that after about 0.75 miles on the road we would make a sharp turn onto the trails and be immediately greeted by a steep incline.  The prophecy was true.  Although I tried to dial back a little at the start, the fact that I was in a wave where the faster runners were around my ability put me in the lead pack on the road, a position I didn’t want to relinquish.  As they say, “pride comes before the fall [in pace].”  Thankfully we had learned before the race that this opening hill featured a false plateau, after which it continued to climb.  There’s something mentally draining about thinking you’ve crested a hill only to realize there’s more to go.

Sometimes nature can “take your breath away” and sometimes nature just makes you feel like you can’t breathe.  This course happened to feature a bit of both.  I found myself huffing and puffing mightily after the first hill but I did my best to maintain a good pace over the flatter terrain while I could.  The course itself wasn’t overly technical but did feature a good amount of rocks and places to trip you up, even when paying close attention.  Spurring me on was a guy behind me playing music so loud that I could hear it through his headphones.  Now, I have strong feelings about the use of headphones during races in general, which I won’t get into here other than to say I don’t like it at all nor do I understand it.  I understand it even less for a trail race, which partially derives its appeal from trails generally being found in nature, where the sound of outsole on earth/rock is enough music on its own.  If you’d rather listen to Lady Gaga during your race than the birds, that’s up to you.  Just don’t make that choice for me, please.

All that said, I motored on over the course and began to pick off runners in the first wave, a neat little benefit of being in Wave 2.  Everything was going smoothly…until the bumps started.  These weren’t big hills, but they were enough to throw me off my stride and sap my energy level.  I hadn’t anticipated the extra energy I’d expend stepping up and over rocks and what not.  Those struggles were forgotten though when the course volunteers told us there only remained one downhill to go before the finish line.  Normally when people say “it’s all downhill from here” it’s a load of…stuff.  This time it wasn’t.  Not at all.  In fact, it was a rip roaring downhill and, despite fatigue, despite the uneven footing, and despite it being a long time since I’d done so, I bombed down that sucker.  Or, at least it felt like I was bombing down it.  Regardless of whatever pace I was actually going, I felt free.  Keeping everything loose, I essentially assumed that I’d hit the right spots to get me down unscathed and let gravity work for me.  It was as much fun as I’ve had in a race in a long time.

With the momentum of the downhill behind me, I turned onto the homestretch of grass to the finish line.  2 runners had about 10 meters on me and I kicked into another gear in an attempt to catch them.  As I pulled up on their heels, their competitive juices kicked in and they kicked in return.  We all crossed the line with the same time, gassed.  I anticipate a run-off in the coming weeks to settle this.

The post-race party featured a great beer tent with some fantastic, free, microbrews, all of which I sampled and enjoyed thoroughly.  Trail racing and microbrews?  A guy could get used to that.

Run Happy,


7 Responses to “VERT-Sasquatch Trail Race Recap”

  1. Michael Lucas Says:

    Awesome Post! I have been wanting to run a trail race for quite some time now and you have definitely inspired me to schedule one ASAP! Let us know how the run-off turned out!

  2. Medifast coupon Says:

    Instant approval cash advances are meant especially to the purpose of fast acceptance in the loan even though
    the money seeker goes by having a bad phase or perhaps labeled bad credit.

  3. 55 inch tv wall mount swivel Says:

    Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iPad
    and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad
    is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely
    off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  4. Zenni Optical promo code Says:

    As small online loans are loans involving none with the applicant’s property as collateral, lenders often ask
    for a post dated check through the borrower.

  5. Zenni Optical promo code Says:

    Most of the people make an application for these financing
    options in order to meet emergency family charges when they
    do not have access to much cash left in the end of your month before next payday.

  6. Zenni Optical coupon code Says:

    This amount may be readily returned on your own upcoming
    payday because they are payday advances.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: