Race reports from the Watchung 10 mile by Phil & Tom

Last Weekend MPF Campmor Trail running athletes, Chris, Tom and Phil participated in the Watchung 10 mile and 10k race. Congratulations to Tom Haines who placed 7th (10 mile), Chris Focacci placed 6th (10k) and Phil Germakian who won the 10 mile race!

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Phil Germakians mile race report from the NJ Trail Series Watchung 10 Miler on Sunday June 5th.

I arrived at the Watchung Reservation with the intention of casually running the 10-mile trail race. I was not there to compete, because to be honest, I did not think I could. It takes a certain type of training, mainly speed work, to perform well in short distance races, and I had done ZERO over the past six months. The lack of speed work in my training was due to an injury that has left me with little confidence in my current running ability. However, using smart race tactics and a lot of HEART, I was able to still have a very successful race.

As soon as the race began, my competitive side was ignited. After a couple minutes, I glanced down at my Garmin to discover I was running a 6:41 mile pace! The excitement of the race had gotten to me, but I knew I could never maintain that pace for 10 miles, so I backed off and allowed another runner to take the lead. I settled in behind two other runners, forming a lead pack of three. Fortunately, one of those runners was a friend of mine who agreed to work together. We decided we would allow the lead runner to control the pace, hoping to conserve our energy. At this point, we were about 2 miles into the race, and we were now moving at a 7:05 average pace. I was not planning to run this fast, and was hoping that the lead runner would eventually slow down. Luckily, he eventually began to show signs of fatigue, slowing on the short technical sections, giving me a bit of a break. My friend, Lenny and I slowed with him, allowing him to continue to control the pace. We were both not interested in running faster than we had too. This strategy works well, just as long as the pace does not slow down too much to allow other runners to catch up from behind.

At about mile 9, that’s exactly what happened. Another 10-mile runner flew past our group. I immediately increased my pace to match his, gluing myself to his heels. I was not about to give away this race in the last mile and a half. Whoever was going to win this race, would have to earn it. With about a half-mile to go, Lenny started his kick, and I followed. It hurt to stay with him, but I told myself to hang on. I needed to stay close to keep my chances of winning alive. Lenny had the lead by a few strides as we emerged from the woods. With only about 25 meters to go, I dug deep, found a new gear, and with a final burst of speed crossed the finish line, winning by fractions of a second in a time of 1:20:34! It was by far my most intense race finish ever, and also my second win of my young running career.

A special thanks to my MPF Campmor teammates, Tom and Chris for their support, and to Rick and Jennifer McNulty for putting on another stellar NJ Trail Series event!

Phil


Tom Haines race report from the same 10 miler.

Sadly, the bullshit you are about to read will be my last race report for the MPF Trail Running Team. I recently announced to the team that I will be leaving the US for a new life in China.

At about 6pm I was glad to receive a call from RD who asked my help marking the course for the following days race.

So Saturday evening I spent a couple of hours in twilight throwing white flour on the ground. The evening was rather uneventful until I got to the south side of Watchung. I descended the hill towards the river bed and heard a loud rustle to my left. Looking up, expecting to see a deer I got the shock of my life. A bloody great big Grizzly bear on hind paws staring at me with evil intent. Actually it was black bear cub about 2 ft tall on all fours. It turned and ran. I turned and ran.

I know bear sightings in other parts are common but this is first time I’ve ever seen one. And in Watchung for goodness sake! Watchung is like trail for the gentry. We don’t have bears. We have manicured trails and a Starbucks at every intersection. Bears are just…..wild. They belong in wild places.

I finally arrived home and had a few more drinks to calm the nerves. Onto the race. This is always a very minor portion of my reports.

I arrived just about 8:30am with a gruesome headache. I had coffee, a 5hr energy and 2 Tylenol in an attempt to remedy the effects of the previous day’s alcoholic over indulgence. Several friends were running the 10mile race. Amongst them were Len and Phil. I knew these two were very close in (high) ability and I used my caffeine high to goad them into a fight. Neither was reacting to my taunts and both played down their chance of winning. A bit different then what Phil written above...

At 9 30 we set off. I tried to keep up with these two guys and managed to do so for a great number of seconds. A pack of three went off ahead, and were never seen again.

Another group of 3 moved past me. I struggled to keep moving for the first 40mins and I lost sight of them. However almost instantaneously on 40mins my “hangover” disappeared I got my second wind. For some reason it always takes me this long to really warm up. After this time I really felt good. I made up time on the 6th place guy but never quite caught him. Due to some marking vandalism (maybe by bears) I missed a turn near the end. It didn’t cost me more than a minute or so and certainly no placing. But my final time was 1hr 30 mins 23 secs. 

Damn that missed turn! Damn that last beer.

Thank you to the MPF Campmor Trail Running Team. Its been great knowing y’all. 

Tom