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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 😉
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