serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Twin Mountain Trudge Trail Race turns Epic (3 of 5)

posted by Chris Barber

2011-twin-mountain-trudge-trail-raceThe first two posts Hawaiian Shirt Ray shared were how he was prepared for the Twin Mountain Trudge.  Now you’ll find out why it was a good thing he was prepared…

My Trudge and How it Became Epic

As you can see I was well prepared and mentally and physically ready to start The Trudge.  From last year’s Trudge I found that many of the 22 mile runners would start to really slow down on the second lap.  My strategy was that the adventure really doesn’t start until the second lap and I would use the first lap to keep fueled and stay hydrated.  I set my watch to go off every 30 minutes to remind me to eat a few mouthfuls of food.  Then on the hour I would take two salt tablets (they are not just for running in the heat).  Plus, as I mentioned earlier I wanted to drink the entire 80 ounces of fluid that I carried.

My first lap went just as planned and I was feeling great.  Upon my return to the start/finish area I had a cup of warm broth, refilled my hydration pack with another 80 ounces of fluid, and was ready to go out for my second lap.

At this point Josh Fuller and Jen Malmberg tried to talk me out of going out for my second lap.  I came to find out that twin-mountain-trudge-trail-racenobody was willing to tough it out for a second lap.  It took me about 3 hours and 25 minutes to go 6 miles!  That’s how tough it was.  With this, Josh couldn’t let me be the only runner going for a second lap and got his gear together and took off with me.

The second lap was actually “easier” to run since all the other runners had trampled the trail down.  I still was prepared that my second lap would take me at least 4 hours to complete.  Having a target on my back and Josh chasing me down made me run a lot more of the course than the first lap.

The Spiral into an Epic Adventure

I was still following my set plan of eating every 30 minutes, taking salt tablets every hour, and staying hydrated.  My goal at this point was to stay out of the sights of Josh.  Mentally I wanted him to turn every corner, come to every meadow, and start the long climbs without him being able to see me.  I was able to do this and I started thinking about how it was going to feel to come in first place under such challenging conditions.  I started thinking about the dinner all of us were going to go to after the race and all the stories that we would tell about our adventures out on the course.

Well, during all my day dreaming I missed the cutoff to head back to the start/finish line and ended up starting to run a third lap.  I did not realize I missed the cutoff until things started to look familiar, like I have already run this section.  I decided to backtrack to the last intersection.  When I got there I was thinking this is where the cutoff was supposed to be and it wasn’t.  I decided to start running forward again and went a little further than the first time.  This time I knew for sure that I missed the cutoff.  What really solidified this reasoning is that if I was on the correct part of the course I would have ran into Josh, and I didn’t.

I was already tired, and now I just wasted more energy running the wrong direction twice.  I really started to feel tired around 6 hours into the race and by this time I have already been out for about 7 hours.  I started back tracking again and by now it was getting dark.  Being prepared, I put my headlamp on and started backtracking.  It seemed that I was backtracking further than I needed to.  I have to admit, I had a little panic at this point but quickly regained my composure.  Check out what happens next.



  1. [...] Read more tomorrow to find out why Hawaiian Shirt Ray was glad he had all this gear. [...]