August 8, 2016
Here in Vermont, at the campsite aside the Blueberry Hill Inn, I barely have cell phone service. I can drive on backroads for hours and barely see soul. Here I can sit in a field and hear the blades of grass rustle in the breeze. Stepping out of the door of a house one’s eyes will be greeted by the sight of trees rather than concrete. I love Vermont, and it makes the perfect back drop for everything that is trail running.
I didn’t take the Moosalamoo as anything major this year. I had done the 36 for two years in a row, and the 14 last year. But I seldom enjoy doing a race without a challenge, so I opted to do this course barefoot. Bare footing through the trails is not something new, I’ve been doing this for about a year now. I love the feeling of the ground beneath my feet.
Is it difficult? Do I feel pain? The trail is sometimes uncomfortable, but if I stay focused on what’s in front of me, everything will work out. In my opinion it is par for the course as far as trail running is concerned.
Through the trail going up Moosalamoo, I felt like a kid in a candy store! It was wonderfully humid, and misty through the trees. A beautiful forest to be running through. This year I did not push myself up the mountain. I was fortunate enough to have found someone who was about my pace, Jodi, and followed her for much of the journey up. In previous years I found that I was not drinking enough water going up this ascent, but whenever I had the opportunity I took a sip.
In my Nathan pack, water up front in the bottles, and Tailwind in the back reservoir, has served me very well. The water goes down most often, with sips from the Tailwind when I’m feeling a bit more exhaustion.
Upon reaching the top of the Moose, I tapped the sign post marking the top, and started the descent. Over the last few weeks my knee has been giving me some issues—mainly from me not rolling out enough–and it was for this reason I brought my z-poles. Hiking poles helped tremendously on the down hills, as I could get the poles out in front, and use my arms to help get me down the steepest sections.
Moose Aid 1 came at 7-ish miles, and that was my first opportunity for food of the day. A Dixie cup of Mountain Dew, and some potato chips were my breakfast. Then began the ascent along the Money Brook trail.
About 3 miles later I found my friend Scott at Moose Aid 2, volunteering at the aid station. Some PB & J squares, and a few pickles later, and I was off to do my last 4 miles. I was able to meet up Oren at this aid station as well–he was out doing the 36. Bit more food, and off I went.
At around this point in the last few years I’ve always had GI issues–but this year everything seemed to be settling fine. I kept on trucking through the woods, stopping for water and the occasional hill.
Reaching the finish line, I was greeted by some more of the fabulous volunteers, as well as John, the RD, who encouraged me to have cake and lots of it.
My last day in Vermont was spent exploring some sites…