Mason’s Breakneck Point Marathon Race Recap
To be honest Breakneck is a bit of a blur to me. Maybe it is because I was out there for so long that I can can’t remember the entirety of it. Or maybe it is because my brain has decided to block out the trauma of the event.
But here is what I do remember. The ram horn blew signifying the start of the race and we all took off. Matt Lipsey and Ben Robinson went out of the gate hard and strung out the field. I wasn’t really sure how to take this race since it was so different from anything I have ever done before. The first climb wasn’t that technical and since I didn’t know how many opportunities I was going to get on non-technical terrain, I decided to send it. I attached myself to the back of Max King figuring he was the guy to beat. Spoiler alert: He did win so I guess I was right about that. I felt pretty good on that initial climb so I didn’t have much regrets about going out hot. That is until we got to the first decent. Which was technical and it hit me hard. While I was struggling with this I got passed by Lee Berube, Eric LiPuma and David Hedges. I wasn’t able to respond to them until the trail evened out and I was finally able to open up my stride. I hit aid station 1 with Lee and Eric.
Then we hit breakneck point. Climbing up the cliff was a huge quad burner and took way more out of me than I expected. I also lost contact with Lee and Eric here. The decent after Breakneck wasn’t much relief either since you basically had to just hop down large stone steps. So, at this point my quads were jelly… and I was only 9mi in.
It did eventually open up on a paved path with a slight downhill which felt absolutely divine. The good times only lasted so long. I picked up more sports drink at the second aid station and then started the longest climb of the day. This is where I ran into Ben and Cory Keehn which was a nice distraction because go SWAP team! I actually was able to run the descent with Cory decently which kinda surprised me with how I was feeling. Then we started climbing again and Cory dropped me like a bag of bricks. My quads and calves were twinging terribly threatening to revolt and cramp. I couldn’t lift my legs to get up the hill running so I started hiking here. Up until this point my fueling had been solid but there was a big gap between aid station 2 @10mi and aid station 3 @18mi. And right around 16 mi I ran out of fluids. Which made getting gels down quite hard.
When I did get to aid station 3 it was glorious but I was still in rough shape. I got some water instead of sports drink because I felt I needed it. But at this point I shifted from performance mode to survival mode. I would run if I could but I hiking was pretty much all I could muster.
I had accepted my fate when I ran into Matt. He told me he had gotten lost and had to drop out. Now me being the eternal optimist (or fool) that I am took this as an opportunity. Who knows what happened to everyone else ahead. Maybe I was still in this thing!
Then I immediately got lost. I ended up getting caught by two guys and through much trial and error we found which way to go. I had lost momentum and my legs were screaming so I couldn’t keep up with them. Plus, my detours meant I was coming into the last aid station late again. Which meant I ran out of water *sigh* again. I also stopped taking gels at this point because in my mind I had no idea how long I was going to be out there so I was rationing what little fuel I had.
I finally got to the last aid station where I got some more sports drink and took off again. It is here where I got angry. I am not proud to say this but I was mad at everything. I was mad at myself, the course, these rocks I was running on, and that tree over there that thought it was better than me. But in my anger, I decided I was going to finish this thing. I am not pro “death before DNF” but I wanted to try everything I could before dropping out so long as I wasn’t hurting myself. Basically, I decided to bet on myself in a different way I ever bet on myself before. With my background in collegiate running it took a lot of humility to walk it in. But I am proud that I did.
I have mostly stuck to shorter and faster races and I knew going into this I was going to be out of my element. I see now that nothing could have really prepared me for this event outside of just doing the event itself. It was a giant leap of faith. It has been awhile since I have experienced the joy of just successfully completing a race. Maybe over time and years I can improve my technical running capabilities. One day I may be able to crush Breakneck and races like it. But for now, I just want to run fast and flow. So, while I may not have placed or ran as well as I had hoped breakneck was still a win.
Side note: It is only a win because I didn’t hurt myself. Nobody should risk their health to just finish a race.