Tammany 10!

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Tammany 10!

jrmtown
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TAMMANY 10!. 38 miles, 10 hours, 10 loops, 12,000 ft gain/loss The TAMMANY 10! 40 MILER is 10 ascents of Mt. Tammany, the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap, and the longest continuous climb I have encountered in the state. It’s mostly at a grade that is only slightly runnable for an above average fitness, with some rock gardens that would require you to be at your wits to avoid twisting a foot.


This race had only about 20 people in it, natural for such a unique and slow going event. The day was cold, but only around freezing. The “gun” went off at 6:30 right as the sun was crawling out behind the landscape. It was perfectly clear. We all trotted off the park balcony across Rt. 80 from the bottom of the mountain, most in simple warm running clothes with only a few hydration packs or bottles. Because you had to ascend twice and come back to check-in at the start, you didn’t need to plan out carrying much in the way of gels or water. I brought two 20oz bottles but ditched one at the bottom as we crossed the road to the start of the trail. It was going to take a long time to do ten loops, I had done 2 loops before on my own in the heat of summer and it made me want to sleep for a week. This would have to take some strategy, it wasn’t even a hard trail run with rocks and hills, it was ten hard hill climbing workouts interrupted with tenacious focusing on running safely down steep rocky sections with slippery snow leftover from a couple late season storms. Personally I dreaded the downhills for the reason it aggravated my recovering plantar fasciitis, so it would have to be done slower than I wanted. But I love running downhill, it’s like going on a hunt and feels therapeutic on all the legs muscles.


But I wanted to learn to run entire uphills; my legs are shorter than most so it is more efficient than hiking while I am relatively fresh. My goal was also to do this in Leadville later in the summer so best to get on with it now. The top of the first loop, the first official climb, treated us to a clear sunrise, ahhh, almost better than coffee! The first three loops I ran all except a boulder middle section, albeit slowly. A very fast hiker could keep up with the pace. Checking in every second loop was a treat, I got to have replenish my gels and down some dates. The gels always hit me real good with their caffeine. When I get on that buzz, and into a good pace running uphill, I just yell out songs like Weezer’s “we are all on drugs” to fellow runners and talk to day hikers. The hikers were pretty cool; some even remembered the loop I was on! All were wondering what the hell was happening, and their comments of “holy s” and “go get ‘em buddy” were huge motivators. I do love my alone times on the trail, but never get tired of crowded trails during a race, people are really cool to runners and ussually always smile or motivate. A few years ago, I would have not imagined hiking more than one loop, and had no idea how fun it was.


The running uphill deteriorated a little around lap 5, where it was just too much effort to go 17 min/mile so I took to hiking some of the first rocky outcrop and all of the boulder field, and half/half past then. Surprisingly, my times didn’t lower that much. I was still on for an hour per loop giving me the 10 hour limit. Around lap 8 my friend Elizabeth hiked past me trying to run a steep section. I decided to hike a loop with her and chat a little to see what it was like to not force an uphill run, as habitual as it has become for me. It helped me move along faster and was a skill I should at least improve on. By this time a lot of the snow that covered much of the trail earlier on had turned to slippery slush, and the downhill section opened up- a whole new set of rocks!


I think lap 7 was the toughest. My heart rate soared and I felt like upheaving. I have never felt like this on a less than 10 hour effort. This run was going to catapult me out of my slump, being the first 25+ hard effort since December.


After that last lap, in which we were now intimately familiar with the 4 mile or so path, now able to run it blindfolded, we rounded back across the highway one last time to roll up the stairs and be greeted with a plaque made with one of the Delaware Gap rocks and a pie. Elizabeth, Courtney and I all finished within 5 minutes and Harry the first place was already shivering waiting for the rest of us. I hadn’t seen him the whole time, and the whole race was wondering when he would lap me. He probably came close, and finished another time zone and change ahead. Some had one of their most amazing days, including Marge, who finished strong as it was becoming dark again. Kick ass!


What a tough long run, with some decent fast hiking mixed in, and a perfect training day for hill ultras. Based on my past runs, a 100 miler like this would take 30+ hours!
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Re: Tammany 10!

Chris
Nice race report Jason and congratulations on finishing.

Interesting observation on hiking vs jogging hills based on leg length, never thought about that.
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Re: Tammany 10!

M Jones
Nice work, Jason. Sounds like a very tough course. But what about Harry?  8:41?! That guy needs to get tested.
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Re: Tammany 10!

SamSnyder
In reply to this post by jrmtown
Thanks for the report.  I've been working on that loop for the past few months.  I've got it down to just over an hour and 3 consecutive loops.  I admire anyone who is able to do 10 loops in 10 hours!
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