This is now my third attempt on the Q Trail, the first being the initial FKT with Neil Clauson three years ago, then another attempt last September that I DNF'd at mile 24. This one I had been planning to do in early May, a few weeks after Boston as a long warm up to Western States. Welp, we all know how those races are going for 2020, so I moved this attempt up so I could take some rest and figure out if and when we'll all ever get to race again, and hopefully come back recharged and hungry to go hard again.
I started at 4:35 am at the route 68 TH in Prospect and proceeded south, hitting Mt Sanford in 1:08 and getting to my first drop bag at 1:53, seven minutes up on my goal. The next section up over High Rock is my favorite section and I moved well through that, hitting the base of the Sleeping Giant headwall in 2:51, 9 minutes up on my goal. I had a very rough go through the Giant but was still feeling excellent, hitting the end of the trail at 4:07 elapsed and now 7 minutes behind my goal. After a 4 minute "aid station" I was gone and back up through the Giant and down the headwall at 5:30, a full half hour behind my goal, which I finally said goodbye to- I wanted to go close to or even under 8 hours. I put some music on the iPod and refocused myself for the work ahead as I moved back through the next section over High Rock and started to push the pace at mile 25. My legs were feeling very fatigued but energy was high and spirits were good. Had no problems with my stomach (save for two quick pit stops on the day) and made it back to Brooks Rd drop bag at 6:31, now targeting a 8:30 finish time. Went up Mad Mare Ridge and was still moving well, was moving great all the way through to Mt. Sanford, hitting the summit at 7:32 and trying to make the final push home in under an hour. Coming down to route 42, these final 5 miles would be by far the hardest of the day as the outside of my right foot and lower ankle were screaming in agony from a few minor rolls (as I usually do) as well as the enormity of the already eight hour day on my feet and the off-camber rocky trail finally started to break my spirits. I finally hit Cornwall Ave and pulled my hat low over my eyes and ran as hard as I could back the route 68, trying to will myself in under 8:40 but alas! 8:40:30 would be the new FKT for one of CT's rockiest, technical trails.