The Vegan Power 50k was on Saturday. It was my second time doing this race, and it is definitely one of my favorites! The race is organized very well, the race directors are awesome, the course (6 loops) is pretty great, there is fabulous post-race (vegan) pizza and the race always draws an awesome crowd of runners!
I got up bright and early on Saturday (it was actually dark and early) and headed to Massachusetts. If you’ve never been to Western Massachusetts, you should check it out. It is quintessential New England. Upon arriving, I saw lots of familiar faces. Trail runners are the best. We are like a little traveling circus, and this race was no exception. It was about 6:30am, and there were already lively discussions of food, beer and running. Sometimes, you just feel like you’re home.
I jogged around the parking lot a bit and I felt rather spry. Cayuga Trails was only two weeks ago, but I knew I was going to have a good day. Sometimes, you wake up on race day and you feel like a sloth in cement boots. Other times, you are a unicorn, and you’re ready to shoot rainbows out of your eyes. I was ready to shoot some rainbows.
The race went off right around 7:00am. There was a lead pack of about three and a chase pack of about three. I was running right behind Daven Oskvig, and I knew he would be my toughest competition. We finished loop one (5ish miles) on course record pace. Going into the race, I didn’t have a race strategy. I wanted to be flexible and see what happened. In that moment, after five miles, I decided I was going to try and Zach Miller it. For those of you who aren’t ultrarunning geeks, that translates to “take off now and try and hang on later.”
Long story short(er), I dropped a quick mile – and a quick loop – and gapped the field. I can’t say for certain, but I think I may have drawn a few snickers from a couple of the race directors (looking at you, Jake and Benn). Were they amazed by my running prowess or giddy over the inevitable implosion later on? Regardless, the “take off” part of my plan was complete. I kept pushing through loops three and four. I knew I was on course record pace, and I still felt pretty decent, even as the temperature was rising. Loop five was a bit more challenging, and doubts started to creep in.
I finished my penultimate loop in a bit of a tizzy. I poured lots of water over my head, finished off some coconut water and started moving again. I felt like the walls were closing in, and as I hit the big hill for the last time, I was reduced to a walk. I resisted the urge to panic, and at the top of the hill, I was able to start running again. One of the bonuses of a loop course is that you regularly see other runners throughout the day. Words of encouragement from friends are awesome, and words of encouragement from complete strangers often do the trick as well!
I was really struggling with a couple of miles to go, but I managed to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. Finally, the finish came into sight and it was over. Yay! The “hang on” part of my plan was now complete as well. I managed to take the win and set a course record of 4:08:49. It was a really good race for me and I’m super happy with the result.
Full results of the race are available here.
Big congrats to everyone who ran, especially the kickass folks from Strong Hearts Vegan Power. Samantha took first place and was flying all day long! Huge thank you to race directors Ana, Jake, Benn and Michael, as well as all of the volunteers!
My next race is 0 SPF in about a month.
How was your weekend?