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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.
Sunrise

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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Canary in the Cave 25K trail race November 15, 2014

http://www.wvmtr.org/events/canary-in-the-cave-25k-2/

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I had heard of this race for a year or two through Buddy Johnson. Buddy highly recommended it. He had sent me pictures that he had taken while racing and really talked it up. The WV Mountain Trail Runners group http://www.wvmtr.org puts this race on…one of several that they do. I was familiar with WV Mountain Trail Runners through the Highlands Sky 40 mile trail race http://www.wvmtr.org/events/highlands-sky-40m-trail-run/ that I did last June.
Carla Cross, Sara Martin, Doug Falls and myself did this race, Canary in the Cave 25k. This was Doug and Sara’s longest race ever. Sara had done 2 half marathons and Doug had done a few halves and 25ks, but not one this long. Carla and I have done a few marathons and ultra marathons.
Sara drove up the day before the race and stayed in a hotel room. Carla, Doug and I left Roanoke the morning of. I got out of bed at 4am, picked Doug up around 5:15, then Carla in Blacksburg at 6:00. We were excited and on our way, with a 2.5 hour drive to Fayetteville, WV.
Fayetteville, WV is part of a huge outdoor recreation area. The New River gorge goes through there, which is big time whitewater. The New and Gauley rivers are the best whitewater rafting in the East and one of the top in the world. The area offers all other outdoor activities like hiking, camping, zip lining, rock climbing, kayaking, and so on.
Doug and I had just done a big whitewater rafting trip on the Upper Gauley in September of this year.
We got to the race start and checked in. We were originally supposed to get a nice merino beanie with our registration, but they had a last minute vendor issue. We ended up getting a trucker hat instead! 😳

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The weather was very cold. The start of the race was 17 degrees and snow was on the ground from the evening before.
Here are some pre race pictures we took:

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The race started at 9..and we were off. The trail was great and had an inch or so of snow on it. The first 10 miles was single track rolling hills going through the woods. The first few miles I didn’t feel as strong as I thought I should, but was doing ok. I was enjoying the trail and course immensely…it was beautiful. At mile 10 we hit hit a wider trail then went downhill farther into the gorge. This part of the trail lasted for 5 miles. Along the way there were beautiful views of the gorge, the New River, the New River Gorge bridge, an old mine and several waterfalls. This may be the prettiest course that I have raced on.

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Doug and I were back and forth most of the race. Sara was a good bit ahead of us, which was expected. Carla was a little behind Doug and I as she took her time, took pictures, and enjoyed it. I felt stronger at mile 10 and enjoyed the downhill. We got to one of the waterfalls and mine at around mile 15.5, and had roughly 2 miles to go. This was a long 25k race at around 18 miles. The end, last 2 miles, were pretty brutal…straight up and out of the gorge.

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I had to walk/hike most of the last 2 miles, as it was straight up. Another racer and I pushed each other along to the finish. My finishing time was 3:21. I was originally hoping for a sub 3 hour, but did not think that was realistic, considering the course and conditions. I was happy with my time and how I felt for the majority of the race.

All of us did really well overall, especially with it being Sara and Doug’s longest race ever. Sara ended up placing second overall female! Her award was a pumpkin pie with no crust! How funny.
Here is the link to the finish times http://www.wvmtr.org/events/canary-in-the-cave-25k-2/canary-in-the-cave-25k-results-2014/
Here is my garmin link to the race: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/641779003
I HIGHLY recommend this race. We all enjoyed it very much.

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Credit to Carla and Buddy for all of the pictures except for the one of us running.

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