I was looking for a race to do as a bit of a test of my training before my 100 miler in April. I looked around for local races and when I found the NJ Trail Series was putting on the Febapple Frozen 50k, I found my race. I was able to persuade a running buddy, Jose, to attempt his first ultra by doing the race as well.
Up far too early, Jose and I drove the 2 hours to the race, picked up our bibs, and tried to relax before the race started. The course was a 10 mile loop, broken up into a 4 mile loop and a 6 mile loop, both with ended at the aid station/start line/finish line area. The area was covered in a thick layer of ice and I worried what this would mean for the race. We were here and I wasn't going home without finishing, so I just told myself to relax and have fun.
|Jose and I right before the start|
The first lap flew and although I had to walk a lot of the sections and had a few near falls, I felt good! Going out for my second lap, I started to see more of the 50 milers, who had started an hour before us 50k runners. Not being a trail runner, I was a bit timid on the steeper and more technical downhills, especially when they were rocky, rooty, icy, and/or muddy. I was in awe seeing other runners glide down the hills with ease, looking like gazelles prancing down.
The second lap was a bit slower than my first (not shocking), but I felt pretty good. I was curious as to how Jose was doing and found him at the finish all bundled up. After taking a few tumbles (he was in the majority of the group who had some falls), he decided he was done for the day. I was bummed for him that he wasn't having a great day, but proud that he was honest with himself and knew that calling it early was smart. I felt eager to finish the third lap so we could head home!
|Incredible half-frozen waterfall along the course. Glad Jose got a picture of it!|
The last 6 miles felt like they would never end and I knew I was cutting it close to my sub-7 hour goal. I pushed as much as I could and finished the course (which was 1.75 miles short) in 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 19 seconds. I knew I had to add on some more to make it an even 31 miles, so I took off on the first section of the 4 mile loop, which was mostly on roads. I was able to finish with a time of 6 hours, 59 minutes, and 34 seconds.
|Me finishing on the icy finish!|