Saturday, October 11, 2008

New River Trail 50k 10.11.08 Recap




I just have finished the New River 50k trail race and the wheels are still on the car. By this I mean that I ran well over the entire 31+ miles.



For the rest of the recap, I breakdown how the race day went.

Since I stayed close the starting area, I could leisurely take my time getting to the start.

I finished my stretching and checked the weather again. I was not expecting the weather to change in less than an hour, but I just wanted to reinforce what I already knew. The weather was going to be great for this race.

About 7:35 I headed down the starting area to finish some last minute stretching.

Stan walked up and it was good to see a familiar face.
I looked around and things are so different. I felt a little out of place.

Normally, as the start nears you see people warming up. Some are doing strides.

Scanning around the starting no one was doing any type of warm up and a lot of people were caring water bottles.

I hadn’t planned to carry any water. The info distributed said there would be cups of water at each aid stations so I expected to advantage of this option.

I did take my power gels. The race provided cliff bars and gels among other energy source, but I tend to stick with what I know. Power Gels tend work well with my system and that is most important in race.

Annette Bednosky the race director pointed everyone to toward the starting line about 7:50. She gave last minute instructions and we were off.

I had to smile. It has been a long time since I headed out the first mile of a race and ran the first mile in 7:30 pace. Of course, I was about 17, had just started running and I wasn’t expecting to run 31 miles but rather just a 10k.

Stan and I quickly hooked up and were running 7:30 miles. We were running about 7th, 8th, and 9th at the time.

Shortly after the mile, a few more runners joined us. As they started to pass I dropped in behind them. They were running a little quicker pace than Stan and I. It was probably closer to 7 minute pace.

I ran with these guys for a little while but they were starting to slow. I pulled away and moved into 6th place overall.

We passed the Fries Junction for the quick out and back section. I was about 3 minutes down to the leader at that point and a few minutes back for 2nd and 3rd. I was about a minute or so back of the 4th and 5th place runners.

After the out and back section we crossed the New River heading toward Galax. My splits started dipping under 7 minutes at this point. The funny part was that I was feeling great.

Between 13 and 15, I passed the 4th and 5th place runners.

We hit the turn around and I gauged that I was about 90 seconds behind the 2nd and 3rd place runners.

Part of my race strategy was to push the pace between 15 and 26. I knew this section of the course had a very slight down hill pitch. The pace showed. I went from running 6:20 miles to running just over 6 minutes per mile.

Around 18 miles, I caught the 3rd place runner. By this point, the 2nd and 3rd place runners had separated. About a mile to a mile and half later, I moved into 2nd place. I think the 2nd place guy stopped for water at an aid station while I pushed on through it.

At Fries Junction I was started to feel a little tired. My legs didn’t tighten up but I could tell they were building up lactic acid.

I was still running about 6:20 miles and had about 5 miles left to run.

At this point, I realized that I wasn’t going to catch the race leader and that I had a good lead over the 3rd place runner. Rather than continue to push the pace and possible hurt my self, also knowing that I have a 15k next weekend and OBX is in 4 weeks, I decided to let the pace slow to 6:50 miles.

Looking at my watch, I thought I could break 3:30 (new goal on the fly) if I kept this same pace.

Around the sewage plant, my watch hit 31 miles and I realized the course was going to a little long. I also realized that I had to pick up the pace if I still wanted to break 3:30.

I crossed the finish line in 3:29:23. I had finished 2nd overall and I had run a just 2:52 marathon on dirt.

I walked around for a few minutes. I talked to the people at the finish area. They gave out the awards as we crossed the finish line. I picked us this very nice Nathan Travel bag and my race shirt for my efforts.

After downing some water and trying to stretch out my tight quads and hamstrings, I headed over the community center. Some very nice ladies had prepared some great soups, breads, and cookies. In addition they had plenty of water, bananas, applies, and Propel.

I had the vegetable soup with pasta which I might add was fantastic.

More runners arrived to eat and we sat around chatting about the race.

After getting my fill of food, I headed back to the start area where I met up with Stan and Steve Spencer.

Stan was a little disappointed with his time, but I told him that he shouldn’t be. He had just run the longest race of his life and finished. That in its self is a major accomplishment. We all go into these races with different goals, but the first and foremost goal in my opinion is to finish. Anything beyond this is just a bonus that should be enjoyed.

I chatted with a few other people and headed back to the house for an ice bath. It was cold getting in but after about 20 minutes, it did start to feel good. I finished with a hot shower and followed it by taking an Advil and icing down my knees and hips. Tomorrow is another day and I have to run. It is a must in my life.

Overall, I ran harder today than I wanted. But I completed a 50k and remained in good health. It is another major accomplishment in my life and another ticky mark off my running bucket list.

I will definitely sleep well to night.

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