Sunday, September 5, 2010

Race Report: Monster Marathon, Virgil, NY 9.5.10 - the non-ultra ultra

Distance: 26.2 hilly trail miles -- not ultra distance, just ultra difficulty
Elevation change: 5560 feet
Falls: 2
Close calls: 5
Near misses: 4
Almost really bads: 1
Broken bones: 0
Red stuff leaking out: just a little

  • Drove up from my in-laws house at Cuba Lake the night before and stayed with Chris and Joe of Finger Lakes 50s fame.  Thanks for the hospitality, guys!  Set me up nice for race morning. The Ipswitch Ale was tasty.
  • A perfect day.  Cool and damp, 40s to start, probably never warmer than low 60s.
  • Double out-and-back course. Wasn't sure I'd like that, but it was good.
  • Age-adjusted start.  I walked up to the line at my 7:38 start time (well, ok, got there at 7:39 (ish)--if it's possible to be late, I will be, even from 50 feet away).  And, then, off I went in a blaze of glory (or a slow jog, depends on your perspective).
  • Less than a mile of road (mostly dirt) to the Finger Lakes Trail.  Up it went.  Up.  For a mile plus.  Up. Nice warmup.  Up.  And did I mention it went up?
  • Some nice groove & flow once up (there's that word again) on top. Pretty variable trail surface--rocks, roots, dirt, pine & spruce needles, stream crossings, very short patches of dirt road, a little grass.  Sweet.
  • About 47 minutes to the first aid station at 3.2 miles.  About 10 more minutes to my first fall.  Nothing broken.  Little blood.  Life was good.  I was running a trail, how could it be anything but?
  • Forest monster at 6.3 miles.  You'll just have to run it to find out.
  • 1:22 at the turn, 6.55 miles. 
  • Somehow, 2:54 back at the start. What? (Do the math.)
  • Tired at the split, but got a second wind on the third leg.  Good math.
  • Somewhere north of 16 miles, started to think toenails were overrated.  
  • At 18 (19, 20?), the second fall.  Hydration packs make nice air bags.
  • About 25, the almost really bad.  It was a long way down to that creek.  With lots of rocks on the way.  And gravity would have been in full control.  Whew.
  • 6:22 finish.  They said add 1-2 hours to your road marathon times.  Got it.
  • Wraps, salads, and Roosterfish at the end.  What's not to like?
Recommended?  Oh yeah.  Check it out on the Finger Lakes Runners Club page.

Up next: Virgil Crest 50 miler on some of the same trail sections.  That will be....interesting.


  1. nicely done, jim! wish i could have been out there with you all; what an awesome day to be out in the woods! "paltry" 26 miles? it's a pretty awesome 26, huh?! excellent - you're all set for VC50. if you loved this one, there's more to love on that one! see you in a few weeks. and don't worry about the toenails; you'll just lose them again at VCU!

  2. Thanks Chris! Sorry you couldn't be there, but VCU will be great. And yes, Monster was a monster...what a great course! On my calendar for next year...with however many toenails I happen to have at the time. Bring on VCU!

  3. oh, man ... wait until you see the section from the rock pile to daisy hollow! one especially viscious climb but them some real awesome trail. there's a rope on the major climb ... more for letting yourself down than for helping you get up!

  4. and thanks for the hop devil! love him!

  5. a rope? now that sounds like my kinda topography! i may not say that at the end of the race, but it sounds like fun now ;)