The Febapple was held on February 25th at South Mountain Reservation. It is a race organized by NJ Trail Series. The race offered distances of 50 miles, 50k, 21 miles and 10 miles. The Febapple was not on my original schedule, I had planned to do a 10k the week before but did not make it. On Wednesday I made a last minute decision to enter the 10 miler. After registering, I began mentally preparing for the race as well as figuring out my gear for the day, what shoes, should I wear a heart rate monitor, water bottle-yes or no, etc. I run at South Mountain regularly so after all of the rain on Friday fell, I knew parts of the course would be really muddy and messy, exactly how I like them! Given the conditions I chose a heftier shoe that offered more traction to secure my footing as I bombed down the trail.
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. It was very important that I didn't over dress or under dress, a few wardrobe changes later I was ready to go. The course was a figure eight (4.5 miles loop back to start area & then 5.5 loop on the other side), so I opted not to take any water. This was a change from my normal routine and hoped I made the correct choice.
The race began at 9:00am, we started by running through a parking lot then onto an easy dirt path. As we ran in a double file I noticed that I was in the lead. The course proceeded to cut down a really rocky downhill, I have run this section many times so I let loose and bombed down the hill. As I came to the bottom of the hill at the Locust Grove parking area, I had about a 400 meter lead. I continued onto a fire road, at a hard but comfortable pace. The road had some ups and downs but nothing major until we made a hard right up a long uphill that would lead to a single track trail. I paced myself up the hill trying to maintain about the same lead. After a few minutes a turn off to the trail came, happily the trail became rocky and muddy. I pushed the pace at the right moments and 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 clothing, grabbed a drink and was off to tackle the remaining miles.
The second part of the course started back out on more fire road, I carefully watched the ground looking for trail markings, an intersection came I was a bit confused as to which direction to go. Thankfully some runners from the longer races came by and directed me onto the correct path. A quick dip onto some more single track brought me back to more fire road. I looked back and 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 sometimes with no one to push you. The trail had some climbs but nothing major and I soon found myself at an aid station. I had a gel & 2 cups of water and I was ready to take on the final miles. The course continued on fire roads so I increased my pace knowing I would soon be done. There was one final long uphill to deal with but it passed quickly. Soon I saw the finish area I looked back to see if anyone was there when I saw I was alone I cruised to the finish in 1st place with the time of 1:15:58.
Phil 3rd, Lenny 1st 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 and it came out better than I could imagine. The whole MPF Campmor Team had a great day. Phil took 3rd in the 10 miler, Laura 1st female in the 50k & Zsuzsanna 1st female in 50 miler. My teammates who did not run were there cheering us on and volunteering. As always, it was a good race put on by NJ Trail Series & I look forward to participating in the next one.