I must begin this post thanking the race director, and my friend Ian for putting on this race. He did a great job with logistics, information, prizes and the course was great. I am proud to be on his Red Newt Racing team. Thanks again for a perfect first ultramarthon!
I drove down on Friday fully intending to sleep in my car at the race start. Luckily my friend Peter offered me a bed at his farm. If you’re ever in the Delaware area, check out Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary. Peter and his wife Gabrielle have done an amazing job creating a rescue for otherwise doomed farm animals.
I got my number and met a fellow Strong Hearts team member, Jason Young and his family for dinner. His kids are the cutest! Their older daughter (name omitted for privacy, but it’s a beautiful name, I just have to mentioned that) colored me a picture while we ate and I carried it with me in my pack during the race.
After an early dinner of calzones and French fries, I got to Peter’s house and get in bed at 8:30PM. I slept really well and was awoken by a rooster just before my alarm at 6:00AM
Everyone meets at the finish and then takes buses to the start, 30 miles away. The course follows the Delaware Watergap trail for 30 miles. Pretty self explanatory and not easy to get lost. After getting off the bus, a bathroom trip in the cornfield and a blowing of the rams horn from Ian, I was running my first ultramarathon.
I began the race behind a few women, but after a mile or so it was myself and one other lady. She introduced herself and we talked for the first 10 miles. She actually went to Cornell so she knew where I worked. We traded places for a while and even took a wrong turn together, adding a mile onto the race. The wrong turn was due to some hunting markers being the same color as the race markers. After getting back on track, I had no other issues following the trail.
At the third aid station, she went to the bathroom and that was the last time I saw her.
The race is mostly rails trails with some single track at the end. Quite honestly, perfect for someone like me. I started off with gloves but took them off about half way, the weather was great. I clicked off miles between 7 and 8 pace, but wasn’t really focused on it. This race had no expectations, so I felt really relaxed. After 20 miles I remember thinking, ok I would be satisfied if I stopped now, but really, I didn’t feel like I wanted to stop. It felt good to be out there with no problems or distractions.
The last few miles had some single track and some steep inclines, but nothing crazy. It felt good to switch it up after all the flat trail. The last little bit of finish was on grass and I think I actually sped up for that section. I could have kept going (maybe, hindsight is 20/20).
4:07 unofficial (7:26 pace) course record and first female.
The winning male time was 3:16. No words.
This is only the second year this race is being run, so I see a lot of fast future times on this course.
I drank coffee and ate a date before the race.
I drank Tailwind at the aid stations, at a mini Clifbar at mile 15 and some dried mango at the last aid station.
Next time, I think I’ll just drink Tailwind in my bottle.
I needed this race. Attempting speed this past summer was not working for me. I was not having much fun and feeling burned out. After Ragnar, I realized I needed to find my love of running again. I started running not to be fast or anything like that, I run because I love it. I needed a race with no expectations. A race where I told myself to go slow, to walk if I needed it and to have fun. This race was perfect for me.
Have I signed up for another? No.
I am taking some time off mentally and physically. It is needed. I am very happy to end my season with this race. There is nothing worse than ending a season with a bad taste in your mouth.