9 Jan 2012

Frozen Sasquatch Trail 25K- January, 7 2012

Author: Matt Young | Filed under: race-reports

What a difference a year makes. From temps in the teens, snow, and blustery wind a year ago to a balmy 50ish with clouds and a flash of rain… and mud for the 2012 edition of the Frozen Sasquatch Trail Race.  Honestly, I prefer 2011’esque weather. I’ve always liked running in the cold and snow and racing in it is even better. But at least we had mud.

Finish at the 2011 edition of FS
2012 Starting line in spring-like conditions. Photo courtesy of Daniel Todd.

Shorts, short sleeves and pair of throw away gloves were all that was needed today.  I tried to get out ahead of most of the field to avoid the bottleneck at Overlook Rock Trail, just a few hundred yards from the start.  I could see the lead pack running most of the hill but it wasn’t in my plan, or within my ability, to run that hill. And as I reminded my friend Harry as we started out, it’s a long race.  Even if we were “just” running 25K.  On a side note, this is one of the few venues that you feel somewhat shamed for running just the 25k.

Heading to the trail one row back. Daniel Todd, photographer.

The first mile which included the meat of Overlook was done in just under 13 minutes. A few people passed me as I walked but I wasn’t too concerned.  I’d babied my lower calves for the past few weeks and they needed time to warm up.  They were tight but manageable.

Old Boundary  Road was uneventful with a little back and forth with a few other runners. Gary was around me, mostly ahead, and I passed Sami and could tell something was wrong with her by the simple fact that I passed her.  I heard later it might have been a turned ankle that ended her day earlier.  What a great young runner she is.

Hemlock was goopy and slick especially at the top where it’s the steepest. But this is one of my favorite trails on the race.

At the bottom of Hemlock we hit Aid 1 and since I was carrying 20 oz of water I took one quick cup of water and moved on.

bottom of Hemlock - photo by a Dolin

Beech Glen is mostly runnable except for the top where it gets steep.  My friend Michael caught up to me and we talked some on the way up.  My only fall for the day was on the ridge section of Beech Glen where I did and end-over-end down the hill. The great thing about and end-over-end is you land on your back and get back to your feet fairly quickly. If you’re going to fall, that’s the way to go.  After a quick check I was missing a water bottle but I could see it up the hill about 10 feet away.  The crew that was behind me caught up when I fell and we worked our way down Wildcat.  I was passed by one big runner barreling down the hill at a pace I wasn’t willing to try under those conditions.

I passed a few people in the campground on my way to Aid 2 at Johnson Hollow.  I was glad to see some friends like Dave, Carrie and Ashley (and Martha).  One quick drink and a gel and it was off to Johnson Hollow, the last but toughest climb.  I worked up Johnson with Nathan and we talked and paced each other up the hill. He was running the 50k and we both agreed there’s too much runnable trail ahead to waste energy on this last uphill.  My plan is always to hit the top of Johnson Hollow with the some legs so I can run the last six or seven miles of the race through the rolling hills and down Teaberry.

Check out the course profile here.

Middle Ridge Road was the muddiest part of the race. On Thursday I was out marking the course and decided then I was going to plow through the muddy ruts and not try to go around them.  The outside edges of the ruts are just as muddy as the middle and a waste of time and energy.  And who’s still clean at this point anyway?

Nathan and I ran all of Middle Ridge Road and MR Trail together before we split at the last aid station. We passed a few runners that I’d been trying to track down.

I skipped AS 3 since it came so late and I knew it was a short road section with one hill and then Teaberry and the last 1.5 miles of mostly downhill running. Teaberry is also the slickest and most dangerous section of trail, the one that’s claimed at least one broken leg and other various minor injuries. A quick look over my shoulder revealed no one on in sight but I couldn’t  see very far either. Still, I wanted to finish on fumes so I pushed.

I was tracking to beat last year’s time by a bunch but any hopes I had of maybe eeking out any kind of award was dashed when I saw several guys already at their cars and refreshing themselves as I passed through the parking lot on my way to the finish line.

It’s always good to be done.  Dolin handed me the handmade finisher’s award;  very  cool and unique.   He also told me the course record was broken with the finisher completing the run in 2:03. Whooo.

But  I was happy.  I beat my last best time by 19 minutes and had a good race for me.   I’m always happy to run and finish healthy. It’s like the t-shirt given to me by my friend Bob Hagan says: Grace: Thank God we can run. (Psalms 115:1)   Every day is a gift. Every race is a gift.  And it’s by the grace of God I’m out there doing something I enjoy.

By the numbers: 25K (15.5 miles officially) in 2:21:00.2.  Average pace: 9:21.   Best mile split: 7:46, mile 10 (Middle Ridge Road).  Slowest mile split: 13:37 ,mile 9 (Johnson Hollow).  Average heart rate 87% of max.  2024 calories burned. 3 gels consumed and a little water left in my bottles.

If you want to see the Garmin detail including the course map go to :

A big, fat thanks to Dolin and Mrs. Dolin for hosting the race and for the hours of work that goes in to pulling off a race. Thanks to Dan and WVMTR for timing and supporting the runners. And thanks to the volunteers for coming out on a damp and rainy day so the rest of us can run.

For race info, results, pics and more race reports visit

See you next January for the best race around to kick off the new year.

Wet, tired and close to the finish. Photo courtesy of Daniel Todd.

  1. Michael Black posted the following on January 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm.

    Very nice report coach! Excellent performance.

  2. Johnna Marte posted the following on March 14, 2013 at 6:34 am.

    Very efficiently written post. It will be useful to everyone who utilizes it, including yours truly :). Keep up the good work – i will definitely read more posts.

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