I went in to the race knowing that I would be using it as a training run for my 50K. Saturday we ran 10 miles on trails in the morning and rode 33 miles in the afternoon, so I was just hoping my legs would cooperate enough to get me through the race.
Medved Madness consists of three, approximately 5 mile, loops (the race ended up being a little short, around 14.4 miles total) throughout the entire park of Mendon Ponds.
We lined up for the start around 8am and after a brief explanation of which colors to follow (white/blue, pink/black and then orange) it was time to start! I settled in toward the back and just took my time through the start of the first loop.
The start! Thanks Laura for the photo!
I really liked the first loop, it wasn't too hilly but it did take you through some muddy portions in the woods. I saw our friend, Ron, taking photos a few times and he cheered me on. I was wearing my new hydration vest and used the bladder for the first time, I had too much liquid on me but that was the point so that I could test it for my 50K.
I started off a bit too fast and so I pulled back during the third mile of the race. I was still with other people at this point and passed a few. Toward the end of the first loop, you could see across the pond and I saw other runners making their way through the course. The first loop ends with a nice little romp through the pond. I tried to run the entire time in the water but I felt like I was going to lose my balance so I sloshed my way through and up the grassy hill toward the start/finish area. Some of our friends who were doing the relay and just there to spectate cheered me on.
I went through and finished the first loop in 51:07 and then it was time to start the pink/black loop. I knew that this one was going to be more difficult, and it was. There were more hills and we ran through grassy fields that didn't have any tree cover. It was hot out, around 65 degrees already, and I just kept taking in water/Gatorade every mile or so and took my energy chews every 2.5 miles. I was able to pass a few more runners in this section, but some of the relay teams passed me later on in this loop.
Toward the end of the pink loop, our friend Ron was taking pictures at the top of a hill. He told me that Mike was doing well and having fun, and then I made my way down the hill to only go up another hill.
I got to the end of the pink loop and I only had 9 miles on my watch, I got nervous that maybe I missed something but figured that the third loop would be longer. My loop two time was 46:22 and my total time at this point was 1:37:29. Our friends were still there cheering me on and one told me that Mike wasn't too far ahead of me.
I ran down on to the trail and started to follow the orange markers. I thought that the beginning of this loop was a little confusing and I was concerned that I was going to miss a turn (a volunteer had to tell me to go up at one point because I almost missed a turn).
I was starting to get really hot at this point, but I just kept pushing on. This part of the course was through the woods and also through some grassy areas. There was another race going on in the park and they had used pink flags to mark their course. Since some of the three loops overlapped for our race, I thought that I had missed something during the pink loop and that's why it was so short. Eventually I realized that wasn't the case, but it was a little bit confusing having two races happening at the same time.
About one and half to two miles into the third loop, a friend of ours passed me. He was on a relay team and he was running great! We were running through the cross country skiing trails at this point and I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. We eventually cut through the woods to leave the cross country trails. There were these two guys behind me the entire time, and I could hear them talking but they hadn't caught me yet. I tried to keep them behind me for as long as I could.
As I kept going, there were some hikers on the trail that we were using for the race. I ran by them and eventually had to walk since we were going up a pretty steep hill. One of them asked me if I had been in Starbucks that morning, and I said that I hadn't. When we got to a flatter point on the trail, the guy next to me said something to the effect of that it was flat so I could start running again. So I did.
There were two women in front of me and I was gaining on them. We went through some more grassy fields and some mud and then I eventually got ahead of them, but the guys behind me passed me!
We finally reached what I had been waiting for - Cardiac Hill. This hill was so steep that it was difficult to keep moving forward without stopping. This was my slowest mile coming in at 12:50 pace.
When I reached the top, I walked a few steps to catch my breath and then started running. I could tell that we were getting close to the end since it was marked with pink and orange markers. I ran down the final hill and out of the woods. A volunteer told me to go around a tree and through the finish line. Our friends were cheering me on and Mike and I high-fived. Then, I was done!
I ran the third loop in 1:03:46 and finished the 14.4ish mile race in 2:41:14 overall. Not bad on those trails! Mike did great and finished in 2:25:01.
Now it is time to start tapering and the next time I toe the line it will be for my first 50K!