The Febapple was held on February 25 at South Mountain reservation. It is a race put on by NJ Trail Series. The race had distances of 50 miles, 50k, 21 miles and 10 miles. I ran the 10 miler. The Febapple was not on my original schedule of races. I had planned to do a 10k the week before but did not make it. I knew I needed to start getting some race miles in my legs. On Wednesday I made a last minute decision to enter the 10 miler. After signing up online, I began mentally preparing for the race. What shoes? Should I wear a heart rate monitor? Water bottle-yes or no? On Friday before the race it rained all day. I was really happy with that. I run at South Mountain often and know the trails well. Parts would be really muddy and messy. Exactly how I like them. I chose my heftier trail shoes & planned to bomb through everything the trail had to offer.
Race morning was met with cooler temperatures then the previous days. A strong wind was blowing making things even chillier. Again more decisions to make on the correct combination of clothing- nothing too cold, nothing too hot. A few wardrobe changes later I was ready to go. Since the course was a figure eight (4.5 miles loop back to start area & then 5.5 loop on the other side)I opted not to take any water. This was a change from my normal routine & hoped I made the correct choice. The race started at 9 & we started off through the parking lot & onto an easy dirt path. We ran double file, I was in the lead. The course then cut down a really rocky downhill. I have run this section many times. Knowing the slope, I let loose and bombed the downhill. As I came to the bottom at the Locust Grove parking area, I had about a 400 meter lead. I continued onto the fire road at a hard but comfortable pace. The road had some ups & downs but nothing major until we made a hard right up a long uphill that would lead to the single track. I paced myself up the hill & maintained about the same lead. After a few minutes the turn off to the trail came & I happily started through the rocks & mud. Again knowing the trail well, I pushed the pace at the right moments & saw my lead grow. Soon I was back at the start area. The first 4.5 miles flew by in about 35 minutes. I shed some clothes, grabbed a drink and was off the tackle the remaining miles. The course started back out on more fire road. I carefully watched the ground paying attention the flour marking on trail below. An intersection came & I was a bit confused as to which direction to go. Thankfully some runners from the longer races came by & directed my on the correct path. A quick dip onto some more single track brought me back to more fire road. I looked back & did not see anyone from my race. I settled into a nice pace. I was hoping I was running hard enough to keep my lead. It is hard to maintain a good pace sometime with no one to push you. The trail had some climbs but nothing major and I soon found myself at the aid station. A gel & 2 cups of water had me ready to take on the final miles. The course continued on fire roads & I upped my pace knowing & would soon be done. There was one final long uphill to deal with but it passed quickly. Soon I saw the finish area. Looking back I saw I was alone and cruised to the finish for 1st place in a time of 1:15:58.
I was extremely happy with my race. I did not know what to expect from my legs. This was my first test of the season & it came out better than I could imagine. The whole Campmor/Mountain Peak Fitness team had a great day. Phil took 3rd overall in the 10 miler, Laura 1st female I n50k & Suzanna 1st female in 50 miler. The members who did not run were there cheering us on or volunteering. As always, it was a good race put on by NJ Trail Series & I look forward to participating in the next one.