Turkey Swamp

I’ve spoken some about the Turkey Swamp race i had been preparing for over the course of the summer, expecting to run a 50k through NJ heat and humidity over a ~2.5 mile trail loop at the Turkey Swamp park in Freehold NJ. From all reports regarding this race, it’s been brutal in the best of years, and anyone familiar with the weather in NJ during the month of August can imagine what it would be like running 31 miles through this. This year however, this was not the case, instead, we had torrential downpours, so much so, that upon arriving at the race, we were told that the race had been cancelled, the plug pulled by the overseeing park ranger. Anyone who has every trained for a race of substantial duration can imagine the combination of surprise, frustration, and overall disbelief that this news would cause… it was, devastating.

Fortunately, I have the pleasure of running regularly with a club, which means that more often than not we race together, or at the very least, crew for each other at races, and Turkey Swamp was no exception, 2 of us had committed to the 50k, and 4 more to the ten miler, plus an additional 2 on board for crewing purposes, so we promptly found a diner to vent our frustrations over the race, especially concerning the lack of a refund, or even an attempt at a sincere apology (no refund, no rescheduling, you could have your finishers medal if you so desired… but seriously, who takes that?).

I had prepared diligently for this race, logging 225.09 miles in the month of June, 204.9 in the month of July, with an additional ~60 miles logged in the mountains with 30 lb pack on, ran my long runs, all of which deliberately under-hydrated, underfed, and worn out from the previous days long run. PLUS I had tapered, tapered I tell you! This, last part was a big deal, as the week leading up to the race it was stunning outside, and all I wanted to do was hit the trails and run hard, but I needed to save my legs. So, what is a runner to do when his race is cancelled? Run his own race of course!

I took the day of Turkey Swamp to stew in my own frustration, and drink beer, then woke up early the next day, and laid out a harder 50k, this one involving technical trails elevation, no crew, no crowd support, and no one making me run. I ran it in 4:58:30, with little hangups, excepting someone stealing my cooler with my water in it around mile 27, which made for a pretty tremendous low, oh, and did I mention that it was STILL downpouring in torrents? Yea, I think this qualifies as an ultramarathon, no finishers medal, no celebration, only a burning desire to see what happens at mile 40, 50,… and 100. High mileage runs, here we come.

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