Friday, October 5, 2012

Megatransect 2012 Recap

I completed the 26+ (I clocked 29.44 miles) Megatransect in Central PA on September 29, 2012. Check out this topographic map:

This was insane! We began our morning bright and early at 4:15am. I actually slept in my race clothes because I can't mentally function that early in the morning and I don't trust myself to get all of my gear on. My dad basically packed everything he owns, you know, just in case :-) Coffee was obviously the first objective of the morning and I started my day with a 16 oz "double buzz" coffee with caramel creamer. The race began at the Castanea Fire Company Camp Grounds and we arrived around 6 am. Free breakfast?? Heck yea! I had pre-race fuel of oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar. My camel back was filled with water and packed inside the front pocket was:

My dad introduced to me to those Stinger Waffles and they are amazing! I have a real problem with products that don't break down easily while your trying to chew and run at the same time. Believe me, it's quite a skill to eat and run at the same time and both of these products pass my test. The Stinger Waffle pretty much dissolves as soon as you eat it so I'm a huge fan.

This particular race had rest stops at mile 3, 10, 14, 17 and 22. (Always a good thing to check out before any long races!)

Here we are about 20 minutes before the race began. Look at me...I have no idea what I'm in for. ha!

7am sharp, we were off! The first 3 miles are a run through the town of Castanea towards the mountain. I felt great. I hadn't run all week (rest week) so my legs were basically flying off of the pavement. The first portion of mountain was a steep up hill climb. The trail was so narrow that we had no choice but to go up single file and then, the first boulder field.

It took me about an hour to get to the top.

Ugh...yea. It just kept going and going and going.

At the 10 mile rest stop, I refilled my water pack and drank some sports drink. They also had various snacks available.

So, here's where I began to realize that this was no normal trail run. I kept waiting and waiting for a normal stretch of trail (i.e. no rocks, roots or gnarly mossy/stumpy ground) to appear and then, an epiphany! There was to be no normal trail. The next 12 miles were a tortuous mix of steep up hill climbs and treacherous down hills. Every so often you would hear someone yell "Broken ankle! Pass it up!" Yes, broken bones. One woman was stuck up on the boulder field with a dislocated ankle for 6 hours. The ATV's could only drive in so far and then the EMT's had to hike up to her. I saw a woman break her wrist right in front of me. This, my friends, was no joke. At mile 22, I noticed my hands had swollen up to the size of baseball mitts. One last awful, awful, awful boulder field to go. At this point, I was swearing at everything nature. "F You Rock!" "F You Moss!" This trail race was a test of endurance, both mentally and physically. We emerged from a trail that kicked our ass to re-run the first 3 miles back to the camp ground. Back through the town and then the "Green Mile" which is lovely section of long grass. You feel like you're not moving. I growled over the finish line. This was, by far, the toughest challenge I have ever faced and you can't really understand what this involves until you do it yourself. I have no words to describe how much the process of finishing this race sucks and now, I stand one  week later thinking about next years and how I want to beat my time. Am I nuts or what???!!

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