trailstasher

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Explore Your Limits 10k February 2015

Pre Race information:

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This race is at Explore Park, Roanoke, Va
My history with this race:
2014-52:42 time, 8th place in 5 year age group, and 62nd place overall
2013-54:38 time, 8th place in 5 year age group, and 87th place overall
2012-1:00:12 time, 8th place in 5 year age group, and 113rd place overall
2011-1:04:08 time, 8th place in 5 year age group, and 115th place overall

2011 was my first running race ever and I wasn’t trained up for a 10k, much less a hilly trail 10k. Happy 4 year anniversary to me!

I will set my goal at 51:59 (sub 52) time.

I have had Achilles tendinitis the past 2 weeks, so I am not sure how this will affect me.  It is not painful, but I am scared to push too hard.  I will know more by race day, as I plan to do a run today.  I have been doing so much tapering, racking , resting and recovering since early January, that my training is all out of whack.  I don’t have a good feel for where I am at, performance wise.  Going between a 50k race pace and a 10k race pace is kind of tough.

We have had a lot of snow the past couple of weeks.   Explore Park hasn’t been used much at all, so there is up to 10 inches of snow there.  This should be interesting!  The trail will be beat down, since I am not a lead runner, so maybe it won’t be good bad.  The temperature is supposed to be around 7 degrees.  This may be the coldest race I have done so far.  I think the snow will slow everyone down, so that may affect my goal.   There has been a lot of talk about putting sheet metal screws in your shoes to give you more traction.  I did this yesterday..hope it helps!

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This is the shirt and bib I picked up before the race.  Somehow a mistake was made by me or the race director.  I thought I signed up for the 10k, but got a yellow bib (5K) instead of a white bib(10K).  I switched just before the race.   Here is a picture of the shirt and bib with the correct 10k bib.

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I chose to wear shorts, which is very normal for me.  Several people made a big deal out of me wearing shorts on this cold day, in the snow.  The camera guy took a picture of me (pre race) and said “Do they have a drug policy at your work?”.  There were at least a couple of others that wore shorts for the race, but not pre race.

Here is a picture of the beginning of the race.

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Post Race information:

I drove Dru Sexton and Jack Bugo to the race, as a four wheel drive was needed to get in the park. It is always fun to ride to races and back, with friends. We had no trouble getting up the hill, at the entrance.

This was a VERY hard race!  Arguably the toughest that 10k that I have done.  The now was around 5 to 6 inches deep the whole way.  The snow as crusty on top, but soft underneath.  I thought that the leaders would pack down a trail, but I was wrong.  I was crunching through the snow, the whole time.  It really wore me out.  I could not decide whether running in the soft snow was better, or the crunchy untouched snow.

I was behind Doug Falls for the first part of the race, but passed him around 2 miles in.  He was right behind me most of the rest of the way.  I also noticed that Mack McGhee was right behind Doug.  I spent most of the race trying to keep Mack behind me.  Mack is in my age group and is registered for the RNUTS series, so he is a direct competitor.  The cold and snow never bothered me at all.  I didn’t feel strong at all, but kept trudging a long.  The last mile came.  It was hard for me to know what was going on behind me, but I was pretty sure that Mack passed Doug.  Then I knew Mack was right behind me.  He had more than I did on the last quarter of a mile, going up hill to the finish.  He passed me near the end and so did Doug.  I was disappointed that I let Mack pass me.  Other than that, I was glad the race was over.  I was beat.  It was a very tough event.  My ending time ended up being 1hr 10mn, which shows you how slow the course was, with the snow and conditions.  Everyone was much slower.  That is 17 minutes slower than my time last year, on this course. I ended up 7th place in my age group, so at least I did better than 8th!(see top) I fell WAY short of my goal, but I had a great excuse, with the snow! My goal was based on perfect conditions. I don’t think the screws helped much, as most of the snow was so soft. There was some ice on the road portion, that I think it helped on.
The achilles soreness was not a factor at all. The 2 ultras I did the past 5 weeks were probably a factor today, but no excuses for that poor performance the last half mile today.

I was glad for Doug, as he got 2nd AG for the 50-54 ag.  Same for Tabitha Walker, getting third overall in the 10K and Karen Dillon for getting masters for the 5K. Robert Drinkwater and Dru Sexton placed, which is an every race deal for them.  Lastly, Eddie Mann placed 2nd in the 5K. Kudos!

Some bad news, was that my friend Eian (who already had a recently diagnosed hip stress fracture), was at the race as a spectator.  He slipped and broke his femur at the stress fracture..Ugh, that was/is terrible.  He is in the hospital now and has had surgery.

Another great adventure.

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Holiday Lake 50K Feb 14 2015

First race of LUS..Lynchburg Ultra Series. This one is labeled as a 50K++, as it is around 33.2 miles. It is held at Holiday Lake State Park, near Appomattox, Va.  The race is an out and back, that part of it goes around both sides of the Lake.
http://www.extremeultrarunning.com/2015_HL/runner_packet.pdf
It is light rolling small hills and very run-able for a mountain area trail race.

PRE RACE:  I will set a goal of 7 hours.  It is hard to set a goal, without doing the course before.  I did a recent 30 mile ultra in 6:37.  This one is almost 4 miles longer, so 7 hours may be tough to do.

I picked up my bib and shirt yesterday..was disappointed that the shirt is bright pink! It IS on Valentines day, though!  Darn Horton!  David Horton is the race director.

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POST RACE:  I had been torn all week whether to 1.) stay at the race event, the night before, 2.) get a hotel room close-by, or 3.) get up at 2:30am the morning of (I live 2 hours away in Roanoke).  The race options were to stay in a lodge at the park or camp at the park. The advantages to staying at the event the night before, is to not have to get up early and be able to enjoy the Friday night dinner.  The cons were that there would be several people sleeping in the same room, which means snoring and a good chance of not getting much sleep.  Hotel was too expensive and not close enough.  It was too cold to camp.  My son had a basketball game Friday night and I am the coach…that was a big factor as well.  I finally decided to coach my son’s game and stay at home that night.  I would leave out by 3:30 that morning.  Luckily, Gina Gilbert invited me to ride with her husband Josh, and 2 other friends, James Decker and David Landes.  I gladly accepted the offer.  This was a treat, as it made the whole trip a lot more fun.  Great people.

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I had been a little worried about the weather.  An arctic wind was supposed to come in and make it very cold and windy.  The cold doesn’t usually bother me, but all the talk got in my head.

I got a decent nights rest and was up at 2:30..I was at the Gilbert’s house by 3:30.  We got to the race around 5:30 and had plenty of time to get ready.  The race started at 6:30.  It was dark, so most of us used head lamps until the first aid station at mile 4.

Friends at the race were as follows: Gina Gilbert, Josh Gilbert, James Decker, David Landes, Dru Sexton and Caleb Johnson.  Others that I am acquaintences with are Matt Prescott, John Robinson and James Phillips.

I had a great time and the race went perfect.  While it was cold early..around 18 degrees I think, the weather was perfect overall.  I left my top layer and headlamp at the first Aid Station with Gina.(Gina did not race, as she has been having some heel issues).  I was extremely comfortable the rest of the day with 2 shirt layers and shorts.

It started out on a road.  After less than a mile we entered the trail.  I started in the back..it got really backed up for the first couple of miles, but smooth after that.  One lady had a bad fall in mile 2 and had to go the the hopsital for 19 stiches!  I felt pretty well all day long.  We had a creek crossing pretty early in the race..always nice to get your feet wet in a cold creek, on a cold day!  The early part of the race goes around part of the lake.  That was probably the best part of the trail.  The sunrise through the trees was beautiful.
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The whole race, I was judging how I was doing compared to the 7 hour goal.  I hit the halfway turnaround point (16sh miles) at just under 3 hours.  I figured the last half would take close to 4 hours to do, but hoped it would be less than 4 hours.  The farther along I got, the more I realized that I shouldn’t have any problems hitting my goal.

I never felt miserable or ‘ultra’ tired, but I was getting tired those last 7 miles.  I walked more and my running pace was extremely slow.  I was passed by a chunky guy around my age at mile 25 or so.  I wanted to pass him back.  The fact that he was chunky, made me want to pass him back really bad.  I finally did around mile 29.  When I got to the road with less than a mile to go, I ran pretty hard to make sure he didnt catch me.  His small kid and wife were cheering him on at the end, which was a nice moment.  I crossed the finish line at 6:33.  I was happy with that time.

We received a Patagonia long sleeve technical shirt as a finisher award.  Everyone under 8 hours got one.  I was very pleased with the shirt.  It is one of the nicest shirts I have gotten.  It more than made up for the pink registration shirt. 😉

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Here is my garmin readout for the race.  As you can see, my pace faded near the end, but that was expected for me.  https://connect.garmin.com/activity/698240589

This was a fun race and I highly recommend it.  The trails are not the best I have been on, but they are good.  It was a great, well done race

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Humble Creek trail race 10K January 24, 2015

This race wasn’t in my plan…..2 weeks ago I won a door prize at the Frozen Toe race. The door prize was a free registration to the inaugural Humble Creek 5k/10k trail race. I had heard about the race on Facebook. Blue Ridge Trail Runners (Lynchburg trail running group) put it on. The race is in Altavista, which is about 90 minutes away. That Saturday morning was free, so I thought I might as well do it, if someone would go with me. Eian Cork said he would go. The weather was sleet the day before the race and supposed to be cold, wet and frozen the day of.

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Wow..this was a tough 10k. Arguably the toughest 10K I have done. The first 3 miles seemed like a lot of short steep hills with no recovery periods. This was on farmland and was mainly open pasture with major major mud. I don’t know if me doing a 50K 7 days prior was a factor, but I was sucking wind big time…for the first 3 miles. I had to walk part of several of the hills and the mud slowed us all down. The last 3 miles were much easier. The finish times were indicative of the toughness of the course. My time was 1:02…wow. That is a slow 10k time for me. That is roughly 9 minutes off of my Frozen Toe 10K time from 2 weeks ago. Eian Cork did much better than me on this race, but was still roughly 6 minutes off of his Frozen Toe time. This was a small race. I finished 18th overall and placed third in a 10 year age group. I think I got passed by both guys in my AG, the last half of the race.
The race was very well organized and the food layout and awards were awesome.
While, I appreciate and respect the great job they did by putting the race together, I did not like the course at all. This was mostly pasture and a little gravel road, double track. I prefer woods and single track trails. I can’t see me doing this race again. I am sure some people would love it, but it’s not for me. I can see a beginner and an Altavista area person liking this race.
This is the first climb:

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My garmin readout:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/682428252

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Tsali Frosty Foot 50k trail race January 17, 2015

http://www.active.com/robbinsville-nc/running/trail-run-races/frosty-foot-trail-races-2015

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PRE race information:
I will be doing this ultramarathon/50k race this Saturday. I had wanted to do it last year, but it was cancelled due to the government shutdown. This race is held on the Tsali Trail System, which is a National Forest and on Federal land, so they cancelled it last year. The race has 3 different loops that goes around Fontana Lake, which is in Western NC (Robbinsville area) and just south of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I am setting a goal of 6.5 hours. I find it really had to set a goal without running it before. It is roughly 30 miles and does not appear to be much climbing and elevation change.

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Travel and accommodations information.
Travel info:
We left Roanoke, VA (home) around noon on Friday. We stopped in Asheville, NC, on the way, and got the packet.
Nice bib, beanie and Pear Izumi arm sleeves.

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Accommodations info: We stayed at the Microtel in Robbinsville. We didn’t realize that the race is in between Bryson City and Robbinsville. The race address is Robbinsville, so we booked a place there. We were disappointed in the Robbinsville Microtel. For anyone doing this race, or visiting the area, I recommend the Bryson City Microtel over the Robbinsville one! We switched to the Bryson City one the second night. I got a good nights rest and arrived for the race.
Race day, race and post race info:
The temperature was in the low 30s, but the forecast called for a high of mid to low 50s.
I didn’t want to overdress, but I put 3 layers in , knowing I would have to stash or carry a shirt or two for much of the race.
We were off and running around 8:32 or so.
As expected, the trails were beautiful. The views of the lake were wonderful.
The course was steady rolling hills of wooded trails near the lake. I ran well for 15 miles or so. I did 13 in 2:30. I started wearing down after that and had to hike a lot of the remaining miles. I ran when I could, but was more comfortable hiking, with the energy level I had. I finally got to the third and final aid station at mile 23.
At that last aid station, I noticed that the guy manning the aid station had a ‘Canary in the Cave 25k’ hat on. I told him that I ran that race. He said he was the director of it. He was happy to hear that. I, then, noticed they had a bottle of Brandy and Schapps sitting out with a shot glass. They offered me some gatorade, snacks and a shot of liquor. I thought that was pretty funny…I took a picture of the liquor. I usually don’t drink liquor, but I had to this time..just because. I took a half a shot of brandy.
I actually felt better after that aid station, for 3 miles or so. I had 7 plus to go, though. My wife and I had exchanged a few texts. She was going to meet me a couple of miles from the finish line. I ran into the race director with around 2.5 miles left. He was just checking in people. I ran into my wife soon after. She ran/walked with me the rest of the way and carried my extra shirt and water bottle. It was great to haver her support and company the whole trip. I crossed the finish line at 6:37. That was 7 minutes short of my goal. That time isn’t bad, considering my lack of long distance training, the last couple of months. With some decent training, I could easily do this race in under 6, if not 5:30. They gave out a nice keychain as a finisher award. It was a fantastic race and I would do it again.

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We went out that night. Most of the nicer restaurants were shut down for the off season, but we found a nice place to eat in Waynesville. The Bourbon Barrel Ale. Maria spent the day in Bryson City, while I was racing. She had a great time visiting the shops and talking to the people. I got a feel for the city through her and by visiting it some later that night and the next morning. It is a fantastic little town. It is very outdoors with a lot of personality. I got the feel that it is on the brink of growing a lot more in popularity. It is already a very bustling place in the spring through fall. The night after the race and after eating, we had a beer at Nantahala Brewing. This was a very cool place with great atmosphere. I highly recommend it.
A younger crowd (late 20s) of 7 or so guys and girls were at the brewery. They approached me and asked if I did the race. They had seen me stretching in the parking lot, from the stiffness in my quads. They had all done the races, as well. Only one of them had done the 50k. We were sharing stories. They had been at that last aid station, waiting on their friend, when I went through. They remembered me and that I took that shot. They made a big deal out of it. We all laughed about it.
My Garmin readout:
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/682428300


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Frozen Toe trail race 10K January 10, 2015

http://www.mountainjunkies.net/Frozen_Toe.htm

PRE race thoughts and information:
This is my first race of the year and it is the first race of the Mountain Junkies “RNUTS” Roanoke non ultra race series.
This is a 10K trail race in Roanoke, VA. It is on the Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail, which is on Federal land. http://www.roanokeoutside.com/chestnut-ridge-trail I run this trail more than any other, as it is a nice loop of 5.6 or so, is challenging and is very convenient to where I live.

My time for this race last year (2014) was 53:22, 8:41 pace and 9th in my AG (age group).  2013 was a 55:13 time and 17th AG placng.  2012 was a 57:35 time with a 14th AG placing.  I have had roughly a 2 minute increase every year, but I don’t see that happening this year.  Another kink in all of this, is that they might run it reverse this year (clockwise), which seems to be harder and slower.

I feel like I am getting more and more comfortable with just running at a comfortable distance pace, vrs running painfully wide open.  I may be slower this year due to that.  I do think my endurance has gotten better, due to running trails more this year vrs the Mill Mountain/Blue Ridge Marathon road course.

Due to them reversing Frozen Toes this year and the fact that I think I may have already plateaued, my goal is sub 53 minutes.  I do not expect to hit the goal, but it is something to aim for.  I would not be surprised at all if I was in the 54 or 55 minute range.

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No shirt for this race! You get a choice of socks or a buff.  I will do a post race report soon.

POST race report:

It was around 15 degrees this morning for the race.  The trails were frozen hard, so no worries about sliding in the mud, like we have been.  I enjoy running in the cold, so that was helpful.  I decided to run a good pace at the beginning, but not as fast as I have in years past.  The fast start in years past, had me breathing way too hard after a mile or two.  I think the slower start paid off.  Doug Falls, Eian Cork and I ran together most of the way.  This made the race more fun.  I checked my watch around halfway and was surprised that it read around 25 minutes.  I walked a little on the mile four to five hill, but I felt that was necessary.  I felt strong the whole way and finished at 52:40!  Well below my goal.  I really exceeded my expectations.  I was 7th in my age group and 61st overall, out of 250, in the most competitive Mountain Junkie race of the year.

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Here is my Garmin report: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/670208458

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2015 adventure hopes and plans

The races and adventures that I hope and plan to do are as follows:

I plan to do the Mountain Junkies Rnuts non ultra trail series for the fourth year in a row. http://www.mountainjunkies.net

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The Mountain Junkie races are a must do. They are challenging, fun, and well organized. The atmosphere is top shelf, as well.

I also plan on doing the Lynchburg Ultra Marathon Trail Series for the first time. http://www.eco-xsports.com/events/lynchburg-ultra-series/

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I have mixed feelings about this series. I am excited and eager for the challenge, but have other thoughts as well. I have completed the Promise Land race before, which is part of this series. It is probably the hardest one, other than Masochist. So, I have confidence that I can complete Holliday Lake, Terrapin and Promise Land. The last race of the series is Masochist, which is a 50 miler. The cutoffs on Masochist are no joke. I am not sure if I can keep up the training level through November to complete this race. I am looking forward to the challenge. I have several friends that will be doing it as well.

Another race that I am doing in January is the Frosty Foot 50K. This race is one that I wanted to do last year, but it was cancelled, due to the Federal shutdown. The fact that it’s in NC, on Lake Fontana and near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a huge draw for me.

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Another big adventure I plan on doing is to backpack the Linville Gorge in North Carolina. I grew up in NC and have visited the outer portions of the Linville Gorge. It has always interested me a great deal. I have always wanted to backpack it and see the entire thing. 3 or 4 friends and I are planning to do it in May.

Th last HUGE adventure I hope and plan for in 2015 is an Alaska vacation. More to come on that!


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2014 adventure recap

I am seeing a lot of my adventurous friends post their miles and workout numbers for the year of 2014. I am interested to see and compare them all. Everyone is different. Some do less running miles, but more bike miles, or core workouts, for example. I did not keep track of my miles this year. I have kept track of them for months at a time, but never stuck with it. There are apps that easily help you keep up with it. I’ll have to decide today, if I am going to keep up my miles this year or not.
I do keep track of my races and big adventures. I am proud of them.
Here is a list of the races and big adventures I did in 2014.
First, here is my 2014 races:

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Starting from the bottom, the Frozen Toe 10k trail race, the Explore Your Limits 10k trail race, the Montvale 10 mile trail race, the Mill Mountain Mayhem 10k trail race and the Conquer the Cove 25k trail race were all part of the Mountain Junkies RNuts race series. I competed in every race and got third place in my age group for the series.
I also did the Into the Darkness 4 mile trail race n October. Into the Darkness is Mountain Junkies race, but not a RNuts series race.
I did four other races, other than the Mountain Junkie races. I completed the Willis River 50k trail race, the Blue Ridge Marathon road race (toughest road marathon in the country), the Highlands Sky 40 mile trail race and the Canary in the Cave 25k/18mile trail race. ALL of these are fantastic races and experiences. I highly recommend them.
My big non race 2014 adventures, as I don’t count day hikes or short camping trips, are as follows:
Backpacked the entire 70 plus miles of the Appalachian Trail portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with 3 friends, in one 4 day trip.
I also kayaked 23 miles of the James River with friends, in one day.

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Next post is my 2015 adventure plan!