trailstasher

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Promise Land 50K trail race April 25 2015

Promise Land 50K++ (34+ miles) of tough mountain trails..LOTS of climbing..technical..and beautiful.  This is arguably the toughest/best 50K on the East coast.

http://www.extremeultrarunning.com/2015_pl/application.pdf

http://www.extremeultrarunning.com/2015_pl/entrants

Look at the major climbing and elevation change!

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This was my first 50K, back in 2012, when only barely trained up for a half marathon level.  After that 2012 race, my ankles and hip flexors were absolutely trashed and hurting bad.  I was happy just to finish the 2012 race under the 10 hour cutoff.  I think I ended up with a 9:20 or so time.

Moving forward to 2015.  I was still not trained up for this.  I trained off and on the last part of 2014 at the 13 to 16 mile level.  2015 has mostly consisted of racing, resting, tapering and resting again, so no real training at all.  But…that is basically how I roll.  I tough out these ultras on half marathon level training.

My goal for this race was 8 hours, but realistically I was predicting around an 8:30 time.  My prediction was based off of the other ultras I did this year.  My time at Terrapin was 7:28, so I figured to add roughly an hour for the 4 extra miles (as Terrapin had lots of climbing, as well).  I was also worried about my legs recovering and feeling strong for this race.  I have done too many back to back races, without much recovery time.  This will be my fourth ultra in 4 months, plus a 15 mile race, a 10 mile race, and a few 10ks.  The 10ks were even extremely tough ones!  I had a few decent training runs since November, but not many.

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This race is/was exciting for several different reasons.  First, it is an exciting race by itself, due to the toughness, atmosphere, reputation and beauty.  This is pretty much a bucket list type race for the East coast, anyway.  We camped out at the race site, the night before.  Camping out there is an absolute must do.  There is a big grassy field that everyone parks and sets their tents up at.  Another reason it was exciting was that 2 of my best friends were doing their first ultra…Sara Martin and Robert Drinkwater.  I was very excited for them.  It was also Brian Lang’s first ultra.

Other friends that raced were Dru Sexton, Josh Gilbert, James Decker, Matt Prescott, David Landes and Caleb Johnson.  Gina Gilbert was there crewing and supporting us all day!

Race start at 5:30am!  I slept ok and got up at 4:30.  I didn’t habe coffee, which is an extrem rarity for me.  It was in the low 40s I think   I had shorts, a short sleeve shirt and a long sleeve shirt on.  I ended up tying the king sleeve shirt around my waist for most of the day.  The weather is extremely unpredictable here, especially at the different elevations.

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The race starts at the camp and goes up a gravel road for less than 3 miles.  We hit single track after that.  There is some climbing, but then you hit an extremely nice part..smooth trail, grassy with views and very little climbing.  You climb some more.  Early in the race and depending on where we were on elevation, it was sleeting!  Yet, it was relatively warm while sleeting..odd.  A technical beating downhill is next..then a good stretch of road going downhill.  You are now at the lowest point at mile 20.  You know there is lots of climbing left.

From mile 12sh to mile 30 is called the “Dark Side”.  You can see why on the map.  I had totally forgot how hard mile 20 to 30 is, especially with 20-mile-tired-legs.  This part is going to Apple Orchard Falls and the climb after that.  It is very very technical and lots of climbing.  This is part of what makes this race what it is..it is beautiful, but comes with a price.  I thought I had a chance at a sub 8 race until I got to this part.  I was painfully slow.  There was a group of 3 college age kids that was near me.  One girl (that looked very strong earlier) kept bending over like she was going to puke.  Her 2 friends kept waiting up for her, but finally left her after the falls.

At some point, later in the race, it got really cold.  It had been light raining off and on all day.  I had tied my long sleeve shirt around my waist.  I put it on for the rest of the race.

At times the race felt like a death march.  It was brutally slow (for me) and just flat out tough.  Words cannot really describe how hard that Apple Orchard Falls portion is.  People and myself were moaning and groaning in this section near Apple Orchard Falls.  There was more water coming over the falls than I have ever seen.

We went through Cornelius Gap aid station twice in the middle of the race.  It was great to see Helen MacDermott there volunteering and smiling.

These 2 videos give you a small taste of the Apple Orchard Falls section.

I FINALLY made it to mile 30..I had a couple small climbs left, then all down hill on a gravel road to the finish.  My sub 8 hour time was long out of reach, but I finished before the 8:30 time that I figured I would be around.

Gina was waiting for me at end of the road..see below picture.  I don’t look too tired and miserable :).

Sara, Robert and Dru were waiting for me at the finish line…always nice to have a reception.

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My garmin report: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/757860206

Patagonia finisher shorts! (anyone that finished under 10 hours)

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Sara and Robert did outstanding.  Sara was right at the 7 hour mark and Robert was a little behind her.  I was extremely happy for Sara and Robert.

Josh was the fastest I think at well under 6 hours.  David Landes had a great race at a little over 6. Everyone did well.  I am by far the “caboose” of our Mountain Junkie group.  I think I was 45 minutes behind the second to last person in our group.  I hate that they have to wait on me…and do not expect it.  I do appreciate it though.  It is a little humbling to finish 2 plus hours behind a few of my friends (not all of them by any means), but that is how good they are and how average I am.

I always feel like it is a success just to finish this race.  There is so much that can happen.

Another great (pure) adventure and one for the books.

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Mill Mountain Mayhem 10K trail race April 11 2015

This was my fourth time doing this race.  This is a VERY tough trail 10K race.  The toughest that I know of. It takes place on Mill Mountain in Roanoke, which is next to the downtown area.  Mill Mountain is Roanoke’s version of Central Park in New York.  The race goes up up and up, corkscrewing to the top of the mountain, where the Star is, then it comes crashing down to the finish.  It is roughly 4 miles or more of up hill and 2 or less of downhill.  The downhill is extremely technical!

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

My time last year was 58:03, which was my best time ever.  I placed third in age group last year.
2013 I was 6th place in age group with a 58:36 time
2012 I was 8th place in age group with a 1:04:00 time

Leading up to the race last week, my legs felt dead. I guess all of the heavy racing has caught up with me. I tried to run last Monday, and just did not have it. I ran 2 miles, then walked 2 miles on that training run. Unheard of! I rested the rest of the week, hoping that I could be strong for this race.
We did a test run last Saturday. I felt ok, but my time was a little over a hour! Ugh. 2 minutes off of my race time last year.

I hoped to at least beat out the top competitors in my age group for RNUTS.  If I could do that and have a close time to last year, then that would be a relative success.

When the race started and going up the first hill, I could tell I wasn’t as strong as normal, but I kept going.  The race corkscrews up around 4 miles or more, then it comes crashing down for the finish.  I finally got to the top at the Star, and was so happy to be able to go down from there.  I finished strong with a 58:21 time.  Just a few seconds slower than last year.  I am relatively happy with that, considering all of the ultras I have done this year and the tired legs.

http://www.mountainjunkies.net/results/results.php?segment=45-49&raceid=226&gender=M

I was most happy about beating my 3 closes RNUTS competitors (at this point).  Other competitors may rise, as some have not done as many races.  So, I met my minimum goal.  I really wanted a 57:30 time, but just did not have it this year…maybe next year.

It is amazing that I placed 3rd in AG last year with a 58:03, but was 9th in AG this year with a 58:21.  What a difference in the AG!  My AG also had the most participants in it.  Four from my AG made the top 20 overall, but none place in top 3 overall or got Masters.  I thought I would have gotten at least 5th, in predicting before the race, but I was way off.

Friends that did well:  Matt Togo in his first MJ race in several years was 5th in my AG.   Karen Dillon got 3rd AG.  Tabitha Walker got Masters.  Doug Falls got 2nd AG.  HT Page got third overall.  James Decker got Masters in his first event eligible for a Master.  Congrats to them.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152843162524072.1073741912.282116549071&type=1

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