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It was a cool damp day for the Quad Rock 50… quite different from the weather forecast from the day before.

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Most of the race was spent up in that fog.

I was somewhat familiar with the course, having run the inaugural Quad Rock 25 back in 2012, but I had forgotten just how much it climbs. I mean, looking at the elevation profile there are clearly sustained climbs and descents, but during course of those climbs and descents there’s a fair amount of ratcheting up and down, like little teeth of a saw blade.

My goal was simply to survive the day, see how my body would handle the distance at this point of the year, and figure out where I need to focus my training for the Run Rabbit Run 100. The big take away is that I need more climbing, and more steep climbing, in my running diet. Coming down from the Towers Aid Station for the last time, my legs were NOT ready for the stresses of descending. Sure, I need more miles for RRR, but they need to be appropriately steep.

What else did I learn from the Quad Rock 50?

1. I generally don’t wear gaiters, so my decision to wear very low-cut socks was a bad one. I got lots of dirt between my socks and my feet. So it’s got to be ankle socks (or higher) for all future trail ultras.

2. The shoes I wore (Salomon Sense Mantra) felt great for about 35 miles, but not so great from mile 35 to the finish. As much as I like the shape and fit of that shoe, I think I’m going to need something more substantial for Run Rabbit Run (or I’m going to need to plan for some shoe switches).

3. Given the weather, I chose to wear a pair of knee tights (man-pris). Great call! I was never too warm, and the tights gave a little extra support in the quads and hips. And I’m always willing to look a little goofy in order to stay comfortable.

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

Kudos to the aid station and finish line volunteers! Even though I was solidly in the running for DFL, the final aid stations were still reasonably well stocked and full of enthusiastic people. And at the finish line there was still beer left, dispensed by cheerful staff, despite there being less than 20 minutes on the race clock, and less than an hour before the park would close. Even as I shuffled back to my car, volunteers who were packing up paused to congratulate me on my finish.

Not every race has that level of support, so it’s very much appreciated. Sometimes being at the back of the pack and coming to a depleted aid station can be dispiriting. The volunteers at the Quad Rock did much to keep my spirits high.