Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic

My head is still not on straight from settling-in of how awesome this event was for me. I apologize for the length of my race reports, but I know that I wish I had reports to read that were this lengthy when preparing for a big event. Maybe I'll make them shorter for future events... we'll see.
Hinson Lake
Here are other blog reports on Hinson 2011:
Jimbo at So Far From normal
Brett at Doing More On Less
a 4-part report at RunOnPurpose
Shel at terrible twos and running shoes
Amy's report here
Bryan at Davidson Area Running Team (VERY funny)

Where to Begin?
Each event I enter lately has become more and more amazing. Seriously, after the CTC25k, then a strong run in Lynchburg's half, the IMTR 16m, and now this? A 24 hour run.

"You're going to run for 24 hours?"
OK, no I never planned to run for 24 hours, but that is the impression that most runners, and especially non-runners get. If it is hard to imagine, perhaps it is because of the way you imagine it... so allow me to explain. Hinson Lake 24 is quite the relaxed arena... As Race Director Tom Gabell says "It is like a big picnic interrupted by some running" That is until Mike Morton runs past you at a pace beyond any other, and you are quickly reminded that he's the course record holder at 153.89 miles. This year he plans to exceed that. There is always "that guy". Not to discount the effort made by everyone out there that was pressing on to their own goals.

The 6th annual Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic Took place in Rockingham, NC starting on September 24th at 8AM and ending on the 25th at 8AM. This is a timed event, rather than a measured event. The goal is to cover whatever distance you desire within 24 hours. The event is quite inexpensive and cost only $24 to enter. The course is a 1.52 mile unpaved path. Runners travel the distance they choose to cover along this loop. It's OK to show up late, and it's OK to leave and come back. There is plenty of food, drink and camaraderie. There is one water stop / aid station for all food and drink. This is next to a table of volunteers that count your lap.

Scoring table and aid station
Runners are responsible for letting your volunteer at the scoring table know that you completed a loop. At the end of each lap, you make sure your lap was counted for, often just with eye contact to the person you know has been counting your laps, then you grab any drink and eats at the aid station, then carry on to your next lap.

The 6th annual Hinson Lake 24 hour Ultra Classic is the largest 24 hour event in the Nation! This year registration was held to 277 registrations. The average age was over 42 years old. 58% male, 42% female. Runners represented 17 different states, and over 57% of entrants (160 people) were first time runners at Hinson.
Rotary lodge, Check-in was here on the deck.
Every runner had a different goal, and I bet no one's goal was contingent on what anyone else was doing. My personal goal was to see if I could cover 50k (31 miles), preferably to go that distance in under 10 hours, I really wanted under 8 or 9... Yet I did it in just under 7 at about 6:53!

That was my primary goal. My second goal was to see if I could complete 50 miles with in the 24 hours. After I hit 31 miles in 7 hours, I knew this was possible. I took a "victory lap". I rested, I felt I needed to move to ward off post run stiffness. I took another lap. I was at 24 laps when, I decided to sleep a while. At 4AM it was time to run again, covering another 15 or 16 miles in the final 4 hours. to get to about 55 miles (Not official, as final results are not yet posted. I will update when I get the info)

That was the summary. These are the details.

I was quite stressed about this event. Interestingly it wasnt about the running, really. It was about the logistics of what to bring. What to wear. What to eat. How and where and what to sleep on, if I even could sleep from the excitement. The concern of being there all alone for 24 hours, all this and more. So in the months and weeks and days leading up to Hinson, I made lists and slowly checked items off of it. I looked up as much info online as I could about 24 hour events, and talked to others.

What to bring
This list kept getting longer and longer, and it started MONTHS ago! a few different pairs of running shorts and shirts and socks. 2 pairs of shoes at a minimum. Sunscreen and chapstick. Body Glide... and an extra bar of Body glide, just in case (I seriously believe in that stuff!). Music. Head lamp. Preferred food items. Body wipes. Cold running gear, just in case - gloves, hat, jacket. Camping chair. Sleeping items: sleeping bag, cot (borrowed from my brother - Thanks John!) and tarp to cover the ground, as well as rain cover. Trash bags. Hand held light. I may add more items as I think of them.

If you're planning to attend a 24 hour event, and you've not assembled a running bag, now is the time.

I ended up using 2 pairs of shorts, 3 shirts, 3 pairs of socks, plenty of Body Glide in all the special places. I never used my music, sunglasses, sunscreen or cold running gear. I set up the tarp and camping chair right off the bat, then brought my cot and sleeping bag right around dark.
My little chair. Same place I set up my cot.
What I wish I brought: shoe gaiters, running hat.
I probably wouldnt have used the hat, but if the sun was any stronger that day, it would have been nice to have as well as the sun glasses.

Friday before the race
The silliest thing I probably did for this event was NOT get there the night before. Seriously... a 24 hour event, and I'm going to drive 3:45 (according to Google Maps) in the AM to get there?  Friday night, I had the car packed, I scanned the directions again, and looked at the layout of the Hinson Lake premises, parking etc. I tried to de-stress, I had clothes layed out and planed that breakfast would be bought along the way. I was ready to make coffee, kiss Lydia and leave.

Saturday came early
Alarm at 3:45, in the car at 3:58. I've got 4 hours to get there before race start. Sure I drove a little too fast (swiftly), but got there in about 3:15. Plenty of time to do my pre-race routine, change clothes etc.

Parking was simple, park where everyone else is parking. There are 2 places to park, either on the Rotary Lodge side or the Crow Run side. If you want to park on the Rotary Lodge side, you will be closest to bathrooms and to the scoring table and aid station. Yet from this area heading down the course pathway, toward the Crow Run parking area, is where all the tents and "comfort / crew" set ups are. So it is likely that your chair / tent set up will be between the scoring table / aid station and the Crow Run parking area.
Picture toward Crow Run parking area, taken from my chair on the course.
I was nervous about being far away from the car, and any extra foot travel would want to be minimized, but it truly wasnt a problem. I fared better parking at Crow Run. After changing in the car, I carried my chair, 2 tarps and running gear on my first trip from the car, and never went back until dark.

A familiar face
Thank goodness for Facebook. I wasnt sure where I was headed exactly as I headed out of the car and toward the lake. But I saw Ricky Scott, whom I've only met via Facebook. We had talked about both being here. Ricky is from Rocky Mount, VA and part of the Crooked Road Running Club. He was relaxed and introduced me to the others he was with. Thankfully there was a nice little cot-sized space next to them, and I pitched my chair there, thinking my cot will fit just perfectly here too. BTW the Crooked Road Running Club is hosting their own 24 hour event in December! Limited to 100 runners)
Note in the background the path to the Crow Run parking area. Very close.
I walked down the path of tents and crew stations to the deck of the Rotary Lodge and checked in. Race logo design T-shirt, bag and pint glass. very nice! Got my number and pins and headed back to my chair. It was raining. I was wearing a thin jacket to ward of rain. I diddnt get into my running shoes or socks yet, as I diddnt want them wet before running if possible.

The Others
At the location I was set up at was 2 couples from close to home, Ricky and Sharon Scott and Johnny and Gloria Nolan. There was also a couple from Charlotte next to them, Mark and Kim. They were all very hospitable and welcoming to me, and I greatly appreciate that. I recall what my friend Anita Finkle told me "You have a lot of friends there, you just havent met them yet" Well, I made some friends quickly and I'm still making them now as the pictures are hitting Facebook and being tagged left and right.
24 mins until race start. This was the beginning / end of the loop. Scoring table on the right
Race Director Tom Gabell gave quick announcements and provided his repeated advice "take care of your feet". David Solomon spoke a prayer and we were off. No one was really in a rush. I ended up close to Ricky for my first lap and he kind of oriented me on what to expect for the course.

The terrain is basically flat, and no hills. There was an area that was affectionately dubbed "Mt. Hinson. Which I recognized the down, more than the up. The path was mostly all fine gravel with many different sized foot bridges. Many runners wore shoe gaiters, and this is most definitely the event to have them.
Various shoe gaiters

Another image of shoe gaiters
The path leaned right or left here and there, but was basically smooth and simple. It's not the terrain that is the challenge. Yet, again I'm reminded of Tom Gabell's oft given advice "Take care of your feet". Perhaps here is as good a time as any to share that I took some body wipes. Actually it was a pack of "facial cleanser" but whatever... I'd suggest something of that sort to bring, to clean your body when necessary. these were alcohol based, and I'm not sure if that was good or bad, but I used them to wipe my feet of on 3 occasions while running, and also when i knew I was done running for a while. This was good to rid of the grit, and clean between my toes etc. then I changed socks too at these times. A fresh start.
One of the larger foot bridges

Nearing the end of the second half of the loop. Note the tents across the lake

At the end of the loop. Very serene. Notice again all the tents.
The 24 hours
It is interesting that there are so many ways to approach this event. Ricky told me that there are many who use this event (and I'm sure many other 24 hour events) as a training run. Be it a 20 milers or so before the marathon they have their eyes on, possibly? There are others who strive for a certain distance and when they meet it, then they leave. such as a 50k distance. There's also those who strive just to exercise and have a workout for a certain length of time, and when done, they leave. I'm guessing that up to half of the entrants had departed by night fall.

My performance
I had said that my initial goal was to cover a 50k distance and to do it in 8 or 9 hours. I thought I was capable of this with some walk / run, and never running as fast as I wanted to, despite how I felt. This technique allowed me to complete a 50k in just under 7 hours. Which brought me to my next goal, completing 50 miles within the 24 hour time frame. Well, after I had completed 50k, I took a victory lap (walked while I talked with Lydia on the phone) and consumed much food and drink. Then rested a short time.
When I felt that my muscles needed some activity, I took to another run / walk lap. Afterward, I rested, changed clothes, hit the bathroom for a wipe-down bath and put on all new clothes, and shoes etc. I rested in my chair, massaging my feet ("take care of your feet" ringing in my head, knowing that he was smarter than I). night fall arrived and I returned to the car to get my brother's cot and sleeping bag. This was a good set up right on the course. It was there that I rested for about 6 hours.
My alarm awoke me at 3:45 AM. I knew I wanted to get back out there. Waking, stretching, changing clothes and putting on new shoes (Newly purchased Montrail Masochist)

I hit the trail sharing a walking lap with Paul. I'll call him Paul the Astronomer. Paul taught me the difference between astronomy and astrology, which in hindsight was quite an elementary question for his very intelligent mind. I took to a similar routine which carried through my final laps for the 50k... Running from my "camp" set up down to the bridge on the following side. this was claimed to be about the half-way point. I walked the bridge and a little further and then ran again to the aid station and scoring table area... then walked again to my camp, and again ran. I did this for 2 laps, and then forced myself to either walk a full lap, or to atleast walk half of it, and only run the final stretch I would have run otherwise. This continued until the infamous BANANA LAP!

The Banana Lap
Anita told me how this was to work. As the clock is ticking closer to 24 hours, and you are going to head out for your final lap, the scoring table hands you a banana with your bib number and initials on it. You set out on the final lap. When you hear the car alarm signaling the end of the 24 hours, you place your banana on the ground (you are asked to NOT eat the banana) then they will measure your final distance from the start to your banana.

It's over
I admit that the end was welcomed. I knew I was back on my feet for 4 hours straight, and completing 15-16 miles that morning, often with a head lamp. It was exciting, but honestly if I had another hour, I would have pressed on, and it was good for me that it ended. I had accomplished every goal I wanted. I was making excuses to keep running. I said that if goal #1 deserved a victory lap, then surely goal #2 of 50 miles deserved 2 victory laps! I covered 50k, I covered 50miles. Mission accomplished.
I'm awaiting the final results so I know exactly how many laps and miles I covered, but I think it is 54 or 55 miles. ( I will update when the website does)

Many accomplished their goals. the super-human award goes out to Mike Morton who exceeded his previous record of 153.89 miles with _______(156+). (I will update the the website does)

Things I did different
"Dont do anything different on race day" yeah-yeah. This is generally good advice, but if you read my other race reports, there's always something being done differently.
Goodness - like everything was different!
One thing I'd like to emphasize here is that I've been enjoying Silk chocolate soy milk after my longer runs. Very refreshing, sweet and it's like a treat for me.

For Hinson, I packed a little tiny cooler that held 4 single servings of Silk, and I looked forward to them as I finished simple milestones, 15 miles, 20 miles, 31 miles. This was a product I was used to but employed it's use a bit differently.

Usually on long runs, I'll consume 2 or 3 GU gels. This event I had enough real food items that I never felt the need for a GU, and liked that I could avoid them. They just seem like mysterious chemicals to me.

Ironically after that comment. I experimented with electrolyte capsules. I researched and asked around about different brands, and Fleet Feet in my town carried Salt Stick capsules. I felt these had a good balance of electrolytes and more than most competitors. It is suggested to take one every 30 - 60 mins. but I took them much less. I took one maybe every 1.5 - 2 hours while running. Of course I avoided cramps, and felt that I was nourishing myself just fine from the aid station.

How I feel a couple days post
This entry is being completed a couple days after the event. I requested off work for the Monday after the event in anticipation that I wouldnt want to get out of bed, but honestly I feel good. The only negative feelings I have is the outside of my left foot and a little on the arch near the heel. I ponder if this was due to 16 miles on a new shoe, which is a corrective shoe, whereas I've been using neutral shoes? I ponder if it is because the trail kept turning left (think NASCAR) and this continually stressed that part of my foot. I ponder if it is just simply an over use injury.

I feel as if I'm walking with a knot under the outer edge of my left foot. I know my right foot's sole is sore, but the left one is taking all the attention.

I do not have any blisters, and I thank Smart Wool socks for this. The Smart Wool PhD Running Light Mini is my sock of choice. I've been wanting to find an awesome sock and I think I have found it! I also think this is due to the foot care and cleaning of my feet I did periodically.

Any sore muscles are not near as bad as I know I've felt before. I'm sore, but just a simple soreness, nothing harsh as I would have possibly imagined.

What is next?
on October 22 is the Mountain Junkies' 4 mile trail night race. and in December is the Crooked Road 24 Hour Ultra! A lot of fun to look forward to.

Additional pictures of me that surfaced after the race:
Running to keep up with Ray K., writer for The Running Times.

Walking a "victory lap" and calling my wife the report the recent accomplishment.

Pre-run jitters, but everyone was unusually calm.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

IMTR: Iron Mountain Trail Run - 16 mile

Be sure to also read the following race reports:
Cardioholics Anonymous
Explore Fatigue
Race Directors race report

more reports and pics to come. Once they get posted to THIS page.

The IMTR is an event in Damascus, VA. It was held on September 3rd, 2011 with a start time of 7AM. There are 3 different distance options. 16, 30 and 50 mile. The vertical feet that is gained for the 16 mile is around 3500 and the 50 mile has over 8000. I dont know what it was for the 30 mile. This was my second event associated with an ultra. Again it was nice to get to know some of the ultra community, and to run with them. They inspire me, as I would love to run those distances, and I'm slowly and safely working my way to that goal.

The event field is limited to 150 runners. This year there was 62 finished the 16mile, 32 finished the 30 mile, and 25 finished the 50 mile. There was over 10 that DNF the 50, and one for the 30. I'm not sure of the reasons why they DNF (Did Not Finish). The course had time restrictions, the 50 milers had to finish in under 12 hours, the 30 milers had to finish in 10 hours, and the 16 milers  had to finish in 8 hours.
Doing 16 miles in 8 hours, means a pace of 2 miles an hour, and I'm surprised this event doesnt attract more walkers / hikers with an aid station commitment like that for a 16 mile!

How I felt before the race...
I was nervous for a few reasons. A new distance and uncharted territory are things that added as much excitement as it did anxiety. The real thing that made me nervous was some random aches and pains in the week prior to the race.
It all began with a week and a half prior to the IMTR that I ran 13 or 14 miles on Mill Mountain's trails (Roanoke) and it was a good amount of elevation on my route, I had to walk / hike some, which I am OK with, but I expected a stronger performance from myself. I recovered from that surprisingly fast, which was encouraging. The next Saturday, one week from the IMTR, I hiked a part of that previous run with family, it was on Woodthrush trail. 1.8mile up, I pushed a stroller with my 2 year old in it. most of the 1.8 back down I hiked with him in a backpack carrier. I was incredibly sore in the following days. This surprised me and concerned me. The problem wasnt only sore muscles. but more scary was the sore joints. Not only my knees but my hips, and my hands and fingers too. Conversation with another nurse I work with strongly suggested Rheumatoid Arthritis... but I'm only 37! Time will tell.

The good news is that this didnt bother me for the run, and since the run I have felt fine, with very minor joint aches as I had the week prior to the IMTR.

Friday before the race...
I had convinced a fellow Mountain Junkie, Philip Settle to come to Damascus, VA with me and run the 16. We met Friday afternoon and took to the road. Arriving in Damascus at what would be race headquarters to pick up our packets. The race packet was your race number, and shirt, if you chose the shirt option. The entry fee for the race was $20 less if you opted out of a shirt. I like this option, but most often I'll choose the shirt. We had a nice chat with Race Director, Kevin Townsend who was excited for us all and walked through the course map with us.

During this conversation some pretty awesome people started showing up. I felt "graced" by the presence of David Cheromei. David is a resident of Damascus, the 16 mile IMTR record holder, and he tells Kevin that he opted out of the race this year because he is currently training for the Olympics. How nice to see him again. Last year when he set the IMTR 16 mile course record, he was almost a full hour ahead of the second place finisher. Amazing! David also Joined us in Roanoke for the Frozen Toe 10k in January of 2011 for the win.

Also to note, is Pam Rickard and her husband Tom arrived. Pam and I had only met via Facebook previously and I know she is associated with the Crooked Road Running Club and we will share the Crooked Road 24 hour ultra in December. She is amazingly positive and you can easily tell she gives back as much encouragement as she gets too. Someone that seems nice to have around. She would be running her first 50 miler in the morning.

Philip had arranged our lodging in Abingdon. After checking in - laying out some items for the AM, we hit the streets in search of the traditional pasta dinner. This consisted of asking the desk guy at the hotel for a recommendation. We had a fun time there, as Phil and I chatted with the young waitress about Italian food, school, small towns and endurance running, which she was oblivious to of course. She had never been to Damascus, or to Roanoke, and diddnt seem to care to go. She did say she would visit the Mountain Junkies website though, as we told her that we were Mountain Junkies... too funny. We all laughed a lot that evening.

Race Morning...
Up early and off to McDonalds for oatmeal and coffee. Phil and I both agree that McDonalds is essentially the poster child enemy for good nutrition in our country, but they serve a purpose at times. The oatmeal there is quite good, I'm glad he recommended it. A little on the mushy side, but not bad at all. Raisins, nuts and apple pieces round out the serving. I actually think this is a healthy fast food breakfast item I can look forward to having again.

I took some Vitamin I (Ibuprofen), and drank 20 oz of NUUN. Arriving at the race headquarters for check-in with time to spare. All pre-race routines went underway: bathroom, dressing, stretching, bodyglide, iPod, hand held bottle, sweat rag, Gu gel X3...

Pre-race jitters and introductions...
During everyone's pre-race routine, it was a comfortable time for socializing. It was nice to see familiar faces and others whom I had only once met. I'm glad that Anita Finkle was there, I gain so much encouragement from her, and I appreciate all of our talks at work about running and races. I met her husband Jay again. Others whom I had run other races with, mostly from Terrapin were present and I'm excited to see them, as they all suggest good times.

And they are off...
This event is described as a no frills race, with aid station support. I wouldnt call it no frills, but maybe low frills. The minimalist attitude was appreciated. I thought it was interesting that there was no official race clock, other than the RD's watch.

The race began promptly at 7AM, and began with a few miles on the VA Creeper Trail. This fine gravel / cinder path is as wide as a typical sidewalk at times, and crosses over water a few times with nice bridges of iron and wood bridges. The rushing water was refreshing to listen to. This first portion of the run was essentially flat. I had started out too far in front of the group, and was thankful for the wider path on the start, to allow many to pass me before the trail began and it was more difficult to pass one another. We stay on the Creeper Trail for almost the first 5 miles before a turn into the woods. This places us on the Beech Grove Trail as we climb Iron Mountain and then we run along the Iron Mountain ridge line which is part of what used to be the Appalachian Trail before it was relocated. Kinda nostalgic, I think.

According to the elevation profile the next 3 miles (5-8) were to be steep, with the first mile being the worst. Kevin had prepared us for this, and said that after that first mile, the rest might be runnable for some. I was hoping so. As the trail increased in pitch, I slowly began to drop to a hike. After the first mile, it was rolling and I was often able to run. Sometime before mile 8, which should have been the top, I think it got even more steep. Eventually things got more mellow and it was rolling hills for most of the way to the aid station at FS 90.

The leaders...
It was on this stretch that the leaders began to pass me. I knew that Phillip had a really good chance of placing well in this event, so I began to count the runners. There was considerable distance between some of them. Yet when I noted that Philip was in 5th place, I told him I think 4th place wasnt too far ahead. He tells later in his race report that he saw him, but never was able to pass him.

It was here that I got stung by a be. I felt the sting on my right thigh, looked down and saw the yellow jacket. i swept him off hoping there wasnt any more, and worried about those that might be allergic.

Since this was the Old AT we were on, we came upon a shelter, which I took the opportunity to walk behind it and utilize nature's bathroom. I was unsure how close behind me was the next runner, but i soon found out. Once coming from out of behind the shelter I saw other runners coming, so I took off up the hill to keep my position. It seemed that I stayed just ahead of a short string of runners into FS 90 aid station. It was at this aid station that the 16 milers turn around. The rest of the course for the 30 milers and the 50 milers was simply an out and back along the Iron Mountain trail. There was one aid station previous to this, which was only a water stop. It was nice to see Jenn Nichols there, a fellow blogger and one whom I enjoy keeping up with via her blog and watching her achieve new goals.

Dont forget to turn around...
Not wishing to take on 30 miles or more, I headed back the way I came after filling up my water bottle, and throwing in my mouth some Pringles and M&Ms. I had previously thought that I would stay for a while and let my heart rate calm, but the race got the best of me and I knew I was leading a pack that I wanted to stay ahead of. Soon after returning on the trail I was passed by some from that group. The trail was rolling hills and should have been mostly downhill, but as always when getting more tired on a long run the little hills seem so much bigger. From here the single track trail posed a slight difficulty when passing oncoming runners.

There was a long, and seemingly never ending downhill stretch of technical rocky trail. This personally was the most dangerous and technical part of the run. Of course being downhill, I like to try and make up some time from all the hiking up the hills, but with such rocks and unsure footing it lends itself to risking injury. Even so I pressed on and ran it as fast as my legs would allow. I passed a couple of runners on this part and I know I gained on the few that passed me earlier as I eventually passed them again later on too.

I think the downhills are as intimidating as the up hills. I can always walk up a hill, but when going down it takes a different strength to stop and say "I'm going to walk this" I've not found that strength yet, to say I'm going to walk DOWN this section. I hope an injury from such terrain doesnt force me to find it. With that being said, it was on this section that I almost fell. I stumbled and it took about 4 steps of lunging forward unsure of every step until I regained my balance. At other "normal" trail areas I did tweak each ankle once, but sustained no discomfort and carried on quickly. Running on trails will take you through these challenges. 

Back on the Creeper..,.
I had begun to process in my head the mileage that I was covering. I know what 10 miles feels like, and I know what 13 felt like... after that, I've just not run enough to really "know" but I was feeling mile 13... and I was counting. Awaiting the coveted 16th mile, and rest. Needless to say after I got off the trail, I was on a road in town. I knew this was a small town, but I diddnt feel that I was real close to the gazebo where we began. Still I followed the pink streamers with black polka dots, as they were hanging from trees. Eventually I'm on the VA Creeper Trail again. The Creeper seemed much longer on the way back and I felt my calves cramping like I've never felt before. I questioned my hydration and my salt intake.

I'm trying to convince myself that this is the last stretch, or this is the final bridge. I even had to drop to a walk on the simple flat terrain as I was at my max and could no longer push it, but I knew the end was so close. Eventually I figured I had seen the end through the trees and heard some finish line chatter. Philip was resting at a picnic table in the park as he cheered me on to the finish. I was glad to see he finished healthy. I crossed the finish line and declined the Iron Mountain Man Challenge. I soon learned that the course was technically about 16.8 miles. If I were calculating my mileage correctly in those last moments, then I was right about feeling that mile 16 should had been here by now. I felt fully exhausted and that my tank was completely empty at that point. Mission accomplished.

The Iron Mountain Man / Woman Challenge...
I believe this is Kevin's creation. Each finisher has exactly 5 mins from the second they cross the line, to perform as many sit ups, push ups and pull ups in any order to earn points, and win a prize. Of course each year the overall winner of this challenge is someone from the 50 mile field... of course! I had thought I might take that challenge, but at the moment I wanted nothing else but to stop everything from moving all around me.

Post race...
Phil and I recapped the highlights with one another as we took in some fluids and rest. We noticed some heading to the creek for a dip and decided to do likewise. I knew of the post run ice bath thing, but never had the opportunity to really take one. The creek was cold water and I hoped I had the guts to get in. I removed my shoes and socks and eased myself into the water letting my legs soak. It felt good and refreshing to rinse the dirt off my legs. We were joined with Ben from the DC area who is new to trail running and seemed like the kind of guy I like talking to at races, I hope to hear from him again. (BEN, email me or something, if you read this).

Burgers and veggie patties and hot dogs hit the grill, salad veggies, chips, watermelon and ice cream were all available for eating. I made my way to the table which contained all the finishers awards. Each finisher got to chose between a fresh loaf of bread, or local jelly. I chose the fig jam, as it was something special, I could take it home to share with my family and I had a jar to keep afterwards.

It was nice to see the other runners come in. Those finishing the 16, then Brian Pickett coming in to win the 30 mile, about 50 mins ahead of the second place, and first female Holly Baker! Very good run! With anticipation we awaited the winner of the 50 mile, Eric Grossman, close to beating the course record. (CORRECTION: He did beat the course record!) It would have been nice to see him take the course record, as he designed this 50 mile race a few years ago and was RD before Kevin started doing it.

I wanted to stay and be there to see Anita Finkle cross the finish, but Philip and I had to start our drive home. The day was a success and I felt great after some rest. I was starting to think about my next event, the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra Classic. Contemplating how I'd feel after running a good distance, resting, and then running again. I was questioning my hydration methods, my sodium intake, my nutrition. Questioning what I could have done better. I know that during that run and in those last miles, I was truly maxed out.

This event marks a distance never before recorded for me. I believe I am truly pushing the mark, and working toward the next little goal I have for myself and running. Everything was a success. Phil finished 5th overall. He would have been 1st place in the Masters division for the 16-mile, if they awarded for those results, but unfortunately they do not. Still a great accomplishment.

The drive home seemed short, and I returned to a welcoming wife and children, what else could I ask for?