This was my second
Wakely. To give you an
idea of the impression the first one left on me - I had surgery on
February 4th, after begging the Doctor for the earliest
time possible and immediately started the rehab process with July in
mind. I was sold on Wakely
after last year, in spite of getting worked over by the course.
It concluded with the blowing up of my right heel, forcing me
to get it taken care of and miss the fall of 2008 racing season.
Everything was laid out in as organized fashion as possible –
surgery in February, my first week of running in mid-March, a 50K in
May, a fast Marathon in June. By
July 18th I would be as ready as I could be to go after
that 4.54 Ian put up last year. Two
weeks before the race I received a phone call from Ian, informing me
that his knees were not going to let him race.
Bummer! Ian was an
integral part of the Wakely experience in 2008 (see 08 race report)
and being as I have run my best races against great competitors that
have forced me to go above and beyond – I needed and wanted him
there! After wrapping my
head around his absence, I got extra diligent about the taper as the
road marathon in June had left my legs feeling heavy the last couple
of weeks of training. Had
I done it too close to Wakely?
I was fortunate to get a
campsite by the Dam late Friday afternoon.
I had tried to take a back way from Pennsylvania up Route 81
and the 6.5 hour drive had taken over 7, leaving me very frustrated
and worried that I would have to drive even further down the endless
Cedar River Road. The
prospect of setting up camp on the Moose River Plains with darkness
falling around me was not something I wanted to do.
After setting up camp, the normal sleepless night before a race
left me tired although bringing an inflatable mattress was definitely
the move, at least I was comfortable!
I normally enjoy a diet rich in fiber and had cut it Thursday
morning in an effort to limit the gastro-intestinal distress I
sometimes get at these races (it is a never-ending experiment).
I stuck to plain pasta, cinnamon pop tarts, bananas, grape
juice, and plain bagel with peanut butter.
It worked great and I took some special notes so as to repeat
the process this fall at the longer races.
A rain (heavy at times) fell on my tent as I tossed and turned,
trying my best to visualize a successful race the next day and
wondering just how messy the course would be.
I was up way before the bus
came bouncing into camp. Sleep
is such a vital thing & I had been up Thursday morning EARLY with
our 7 month old Dawson, paying my dues for yet another weekend away
… oh well. I was as
rested as I was going to be. On
the bus I chatted with a really nice guy named Rick the whole way out.
As always can be found at trail races, the group of
participating runners were very friendly, laid back, and just pumped
to be at such a beautiful setting, rain or not.
I also met a guy named Greg from Burlington, VT by way of
Alaska who sat behind me. Nice
people! I was anxious to
see my friend John Ehntholt at the start, who I met at Wakely last
year. We had become close
since then and had run Lake Placid Marathon together in June.
It would be nice to see him again.
He had been running LONG, doing lots of miles, and was using
this as a “warm-up” for a 100K he is doing at the end of August.
John informed me at
the start that a nice size bear had been spotted nearby.
Nice! I always
search for wildlife whether in PA, NY, NH, or ME and never see
anything. I would prefer
not running across one out on the course, especially not one standing
between me and Wakely Dam! I
made it a point to get out early and went out aggressively, with Ryan
Smith in tow. I knew Alan
Evans, who had run a 5.09 last year, but did not recognize Ryan.
I wanted to make the clearing at West Canada Lakes by 2 hrs and
20 minutes at the latest and rolled through at 2 hrs 16 min.
The course up to this point was wet, but not horribly bad in
terms of mud. It could
also be that fresh legs were handling it well.
I had to slow down for safety reasons (as I am sure everyone
else did also) on all the wooden foot bridges that were slick as if
covered by ice. I was taking in gels every 20-25 minutes and throwing
in some Mojo bars along the way – striving for the 200+ calories per
hour that I know I need. I
refilled my bottles once (so four for the race) probably one time too
few but I was trying to move as fast as possible and felt good
The course got
annoyingly muddy on the flip side of Cedar Lakes and then through
sections along the Cedar River up toward Lamphere Ridge.
I would guess it was as much a result of my legs tiring as
anything else. As all
Wakely runners know, the final, tough test comes once you head away
from the Cedar River at the last lean to.
That section stinks, even though it was dry!
This part of the course makes you wish for some uneven,
rolling, muddy, rooty, and rocky terrain.
It ends up being remembered as a non-technical, gradual uphill
that never ends. At the
sign that reads 4.4 miles to the finish by the Carry lean to I was
within reach & I could smell it.
Once I THOUGHT I hit
the final trail section that kind of levels out and takes you up to
the road I cranked it up. I
am sure too much and too soon because it wasn’t long before I was
begging for that gate to show itself.
I noticed a lack of blue trail markers and started to panic
that I had ended up on the wrong path somehow.
I actually stopped and started yelling expletives at whatever
could hear me. Are you
kidding me! The 4.54 at
this point was out of reach. I
pressed forward. Finally,
finally, the road was in front of me and I put together a nice pace,
realizing that sub-5 was going to be close.
Thank goodness I came in under 5 by a hair, because if I had
missed by a less than a minute or so I would not have been happy.
On the way home, as soon as I had cell service, I called Ian
and let him know that the Adirondack Mud had helped him keep that
course record…. For this year!!
I later found out that my good friend John had rolled an ankle
early in the race (easy to do on this course) and had gritted his way
through. X-rays the next
day ruled out a break and he will hopefully be ready to go for his
Thanks for a great event
again Jim & all the volunteers!
I must keep coming back to this one – the experience is too
valuable. So I will see
you in 2010!