Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bel Monte 50 Mile

woooooo hooooooooooooo longest run of 2008! Saturday was the first running of the Bel Monte 50 miler in Sherando Lake VA. In previous years a 25k and 50K were run on the amazing trails that surround the lake and climb up to the blue ridge parkway. I had originally signed up for the 50k but decided that hay the 50 mile is new, I should just toughen up and run the big one. So I did.

Wow, what a tough 50 miler! I have competed in many 50 milers since my first in 1999, but none of them took longer than this one did. I managed to break 10 hours by a few seconds....and I ran hard. Ultra stud VHTRC clubmate and Charlottesville Running Co teammate Mike Mason won the race in 8:58. H0racio chased him all day and finished 2nd. Results here

I started the day in the dark trying to pick my steps through the first few stream crossings following the light of those around me who wore headlamps. The temps were a bit chilly (40's) but the sun would soon rise and raise the temps into the high 50's. When in the sun my long sleeve shirt was too much, but along the highest ridge lines in the late afternoon I was glad I had it on as a cold wind was blowing. Luckily the rain showers that were fore casted never came and it really was ideal all day.

Since I wanted to place pretty well I started out at a good clip while keeping my breathing in check. Since the 25k and 50k started with the 50 milers many of the fast folks were long gone before I knew it. I settled in with a good group and eagerly watched the miles tick by on my Garmin. ( stats here! )We had the first big climb of the race right off the bat. It also happened to be the best trail (least technical) which was a bummer as I really would have liked this incredible trail in the last 6 miles when I was whipped and whining for some good footing.

Before too long I fell into step with Dave Peterman and Brennon Wysong. The miles ticked by as I blabbed on about my bad memories from Western States and our previous runs at the incredible Massanutten mtn 100. At the 13 mile aid station VHTRC legends Robin Kane and Joe clapper ran on by us and would continue to stay together all day. They had started a bit more conservatively than I did but they spent the rest of the day 6-10 minutes a head of me.

After a few road miles I moved on alone and stayed alone for all but a few minutes for the next 7 hours. With the long out and backs it was never too lonely though and I had a great time encouraging the other runners. Nutrition-wise I continued to stick to cliff shot blocks as my primary fuel. I ate one twinky, drank a fair amount of coke, and added NUUN tablets to my water bottle at each fill up. Aid stations were well stocked and plentiful and as expected the course marking was outstanding.

As the miles ticked by I continued to move up in the field. I passed some runners and moved up by default as others dropped out. As I started up the last big climb I was holding on to 5th place and all I could think was...please let this go quickly... But, 5+miles at 16 minutes per mile really did not go too quickly. I got to the top out of water and hurting but with out being caught. I thought I had it in the bag until as I started to leave the station I took one final look back and saw the Dave pulling in. Doah! I gotta work now! The last 7 was downhill and ridge line running and easily was the most technical of the the entire race. Ugh! so many rocks! Signal knob has nothing on Tory ridge. Ever so slowly the miles ticked by and when I was almost down I came up on Joe. He was moving slowly and was suffering once again from the vision problems that plaque him. When oxygen flow to his eyes is lessened they cloud over and he slowly looses his vision. This makes trail running all but impossible.

Joe is a great guy and good friend so I was happy to escort him on in to the finish. I just lead and he stepped where I put my feet. The clock continued to tick and I figured for sure we were going to miss the 10 hour barrier but with a bit of a push on the final blacktop piece we managed to get across the line just in time.

All in all it was the best effort I have put out since the 3:01 marathon I ran at Marine Corps last October. The feet, ankles, and knees were aching pretty good on the drive home, but the leg muscles felt surprisingly good due to some hot lasagna at the finish. A very nice treat!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Do you need inspiration?

Monday- off
Tuesday- 21miles- 3:39 trails
Wed- off
Thursday- 7 miles on TM

Inspiration??? Look no further: Sarah Reinertsen (her Blog), Amputee Triathlete (her page)

She is the first above knee amputee to complete Kona's Ironman triathlon. And recently has been shown on the TV show The Amazing Race and in a Lincoln car commercial. Very amazing amputee since age 7. Her picture from the cover of Triathlete magazine is framed and on the wall in the clinic where I work helping amputee's learn how to walk using prosthetic legs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Last week: 36 miles on 5 runs in 4 days.

All runs short. (5-10 miles) I completed my first double of 2008 last Tuesday by running 5miles in the am with Anne, and 7 miles around the riverbank loop here in town in the afternoon after work. It felt really good. But the next day I was tired/bonky. I gotta eat better.

This weekend I did not get anything long or fast in (a shock huh?!) and I have now gone 5 straight weeks with out a speed workout!!! Not sure why that happens. I really have good intentions. I'm just lazy and enjoy running without pushing the effort too much I guess.

Yesterday was a good run as I did 21 miles around the Charlottesville Rivanna trail and only got lost a little bit by 5th street (looking for a trail extension) and then a bit more by Avon street (looking for the actual trail (its unmarked there!)

The loop with getting lost time took me 3:39 compared to 2 weeks ago when it took 3:55. I suppose the third time will be the charm and I won't get lost at all!

I'm getting excited for this weekends Bel Monte 50k/50mile. Time to do some LONG running. I am stepping up to the 50 mile. Should be fun....lets hope for good weather so I can enjoy the beautiful course.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Catawba Run Around

36 miles- 9:53 (9:11 moving time)
The Dragons Tooth

Tinker Cliffs

Joe Clapper scaling the Dragons tooth in 40mph wind gusts and flurries

A great run in less than ideal weather on Saturday in catawba, VA. I got to run around the town on the Appalachian trail and the OLD Appalachian trail before it was rerouted. Very cool run. GPS map and data here!!!

I have been really busy lately so more to write later and pictures of Catawba too.

For now a Mileage update:

January- 210 miles
February- 236 miles

in the first 60 days of 2008 I ran 31 times for an average run of 14 miles per run

Long runs for 2008 are: 22, 31, 31, 34, 36, 38, 41

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Charlottesville's Rivanna Trail

Friday- 22.56 miles- Rivanna ring trail

I was spontaneous Friday and hopped in the car to head up to my favorite town Charlottesville, VA for some running on the Rivanna trail. This 20 mile loop trail encircles the town and the University of Virginia. It is great singletrack trail that goes through city parks, on private land and on a few streets to connect sections. This trail has been in the works for several years and when I lived there in 2000-2002 it looked vastly different than today.

Huge numbers of new houses, condos and townhouses have been built within sight line of the trail and a few sections have been finished or moved since I last ran there...and even one section that was open is now closed to use. Overall the trail is in great shape and well maintained and well marked. However, some unfinished parts and areas where permission to use is not markings exist. yikes!

Thus, I started off with some good maps and tips from Frannie at the CRC. This fared me well initially and then 5-6 miles in to the run none other than Jeff Wilbur runs up behind me. He was out on his daily run and happened to be in the same section of trail. We would run together for the next 4-5 miles just like years past. It was great.

After Jeff turned back to go back home to complete his out and back, I manged to find my way through some tricky stretches and really was doing well until 16.5 miles into the loop. Then I missed something...or it obviously wasn't marked well enough. Somehow I dumped into Quary park and could not find the trail. I ended up just running toward downtown with the idea of road running back to my car. I thought better of it after a mile and managed to backtrack a bit, forge the river, and re-find the trail.

I ended up running 22.5 miles (3:55 total time) but 3:32 of actual moving time or 9:25 per mile Stats and maps here. Not bad for unfamiliar trail. Now that I know the route I'd like to go back and have a go at 3 hours for the supposed true 20 mile loop.

Overall the nearly 4 hours with one bottle and one gel was a great training adventure!!