Ten months have passed since I held the honor and vantage point as the last individual to officially finish the Trilogy 2015. I have thought about writing this review for some time, each day allowing the euphoric recall to become a bit clearer. I have never posted anything, don’t have a social media account, but wanted to encourage anyone contemplating this run to SIGN UP. It is a chance of a lifetime, and as I was recently reminded this weekend, nothing in this life is promised. So here is my plea, if you have been thinking about this race, and are prepared, don’t wait. I completed Day 1 in 2011, and the idea of this whole race became like a virus in my running brain. I wanted to make a full attempt at this race in 2012, 2013, and 2014 but life, injury, and fear kept it at bay until last year.
WVMTR have excellent race coordination from start to finish, as well as all of the logistics for 24/7 support over three days. The food & shelter options are awesome, and there is no better place for pre-race anxiety than sitting by a woodstove or on the deck of the main yurt. The community at The Mountain Institute and the people of WVMTR are a perfect fit.
In my head I called this this race “The Big Enchilada”, confident in my endurance but not quite sure how my body would react with the big miles over three days.
Day One went off without a hitch, I had targeted around 8 hours, wanting to employ the tactic of conserving my muscle groups with an easy pace. Finished, fed, & foam rolled I attended the pre-race meeting for Day 2. Playful discussion from the seasoned veterans about how the map really is not to scale and only serves to distort the visual distance on the map made me smile, as did the comments about how even Dan has been spotted walking the hills. The one single point I remembered hearing as it was stated with absolute soberness was “do not dally”! The 14 hours of time allowed for the 50M journey is generous but this course will test you. I ended a near perfect race day with this thought as I headed back to my tent.
Day Two started with a thick fog, creating an eerie dimming of the headlamp glow, meandering down Cardiac Hill and onto the quest to summit Spruce Knob. We would have to try again next year to summit at a visible sunrise. Daylight brought with it the full glory of beautiful single track. Mud, Roots, & Rocks…everything I’d anticipated. I was in awe watching the front runners return downhill on the out and back to mile 25. I entered the ½ way station at Mile 25, thankful for the good food received in my first turn at Judy Springs. I needed the energy as I had to calculate the troubling space-time-pace equation at Mile 25. Einstein’s theory, E=mc2 boiled down, I could only lose 40 minutes of my pace over the final 25 miles. “Do not Dally” is great advice. I left with my lead time ahead of the Trilogy’s trail version of the Grim Reaper. I was told that if I made the final swing through Judy Springs ahead of the cut off, I had the race in bag. I did not believe them as I had lost 25 minutes of my lead at this point. The final aid station, offered warm broth and engorgement, I had about 55 minutes to cover the distance. Darkness as only West Virginia can offer approached. Some orienteering was needed to navigate the beaver ponds that a mistaken farmer calls his cow pasture. Holding panic at bay, I completed the fence obstacle course and attached myself to a small group as we approached Cardiac. Hoots and Shouts as we headed for the lights of the finish, 16 minutes to spare. My body was spent. Fed & showered, I took care of my foot care by the camp fire, off to bed. I awoke at 4 am hungry. Thankful for the pasta salad brought from home, I ate like a wild animal.
Day Three was beautiful. Laughs, and jeers as all the runners mixed it up at the start line. I adopted the slogan of “start slow and taper”. Lots of crowds for this day, and the food and awards festival at the finish was a welcomed site.
The Trilogy Train began with 62 cars on the track and I am happy to say my total victory was finishing as car #39.
Thank you to everyone who is WVMTR and TMI for making this my run of a lifetime. Hope you keep this run alive for a long time.
Trilogy Finisher #39, 2015.