I remember saying "I'll be glad when this one is over"
I ran much harder than usual.
I've honestly never tried to race a 13 mile run before. I've run them, but not raced them... trying to see how hard I can push it. I have tried to race a 10 miler once last summer. That was the longest I've really tried pushing it for. You can read about that event HERE. It earned me a 2nd place in my age group. I was quite excited. That was October 22nd, and 10 races later, I finally place again. I've always said that it all depends on who shows up with how well you place in your AG.
Date: May 5, 2012.
Location: Falling Creek park / complex in Bedford, VA
Event: 13.1m and 10k distances offered.
Presented by: Mountain Junkies LLC
Event Website: HERE
Cost: Only $30
Swag: Nice moisture wicking T-shirt.
Other race reports on this event: Cardioholics Anonymous
The shirt for this event appropriately reads "Peace Love Trail Run" pictures of it are in the blog listed above, which you should take a moment to read anyway.
I've run this event for 2 years previoulsy. in 2010 it was incredibly HOT and I ran it horribly. In 2011 I ran a 2:01:14 and my goal this year was to make it under 2 hours. I think I had a good chance at that.
I was being told constantly in the week leading up and the day of by my friend Eddie Mann that I had a good chance to place in my AG at this one. I'd never placed in my AG before at a MJ event, but I was excited at the opportunity. I was even told by Sarah Holbrook that she thought I could do it in 1:51. but I knew that was a long shot. under 2 was my goal. with 1:55 being something I'd be super excited to do, but I really didn't know what I could do.
Pre-raceExcited to again be sharing the event with Lydia, as she was running the half as well. Ruth and 2 other friends came along, Laura and Kate. It was nice to all ride in one car and share the excitement to and from the event.
Arriving. packet pickup. bathrooms. sharing handshakes and smiles and recent race stories with others. It was that common "extended family" feeling you get at a Mountain Junkie event!
All lined up
Ready to go, I'm eye balling those I should try and keep up with vs those I know will either soon fall behind or soon pull far ahead.
About a half a mile in I notice I'm running with others that I only see at the finish. Slowly they pull ahead and I settle in along Joe, another runner I only see when collecting his age group results winning medals from time to time... I was thinking that if I could only keep up with him! I started fast again and help my pace with the starter group for longer than I have previously. Once we got to the trail I think it ensured my place in line and kept me running fast.
A few miles in
I was happy to remain behind Joe and being able to keep up with his pace, I knew I was pushing it hard for it to still be early in a 13 mile run, but I was willing to see if I could hold on. My goal was to not let anyone else pass... That goal turned into not wanting anyone else in my AG to pass. Which was the better option.
The "half" point seemed longer than it should have been. I cross the half point at 1:01:XX and realize it isn't my 10k time, as it was longer than 10k having been run all ready, but I recall the second half was shorter. Still behind Joe and enjoying it. I'd walking up some of the hills now and then because I realize they slow me down quite a bit. There aren't any significant climbs on this course. It doesn't appear that there is any one climb being over 100 vertical feet according to the elevation profile.but the course surely rolls up and down. MUDS and PUDS I call them. multiple ups and downs / pointless ups and downs.
I felt comfortable that the gap between me and the next person behind me was a big one. Many times I looked after switchbacks and long straight portions for the people being me, and saw none. After the half mark, I began to see the trailing group. 2 girls leading 2 guys. I didn't see them long enough to estimate the guys ages. but the distance still let me feel comfortable to slow down a bit.
Pass and be passed
I slowly approached 2 guys who were slowing and passed them, but it took some effort. The 2 girls trailing me caught up and passed. I knew Courtney was way ahead and I think she was the only female ahead of me, so I tell them I believe that they are second and 3rd female. They seemed surprised and excited to hear that. I knew Courtney had secured first female and I was pretty sure there was no other ladies between she and I.
Don't miss it!
After a short distance of them and Joe ahead of me, they almost missed a turn. It allowed me to pass them but that just made me run faster for a short while until I stepped asked and allowed them to pass even though they weren't ready, I knew they soon would and didn't want to hinder the race they had going on for 2nd vs 3rd female. I was imagining them 2 battling it out in the final stretch and got excited.
joe and I were struggling to keep the paces we had been holding. I just didn't want to be passed again. I caught up with Randy Blevins. Another runner that I shouldn't have been running with, as he is always much faster than I. Then I see Bill Vickery... I'm gaining on him. I jokingly yell ahead asking if he's waiting up for me. He explains how his past week at the beach and a recent 5k PR just a couple days ago have given him some rubber legs. I was excited to be doing so well even if I was passing respected runners on a not-so-good day of their own.
The final moments
I keep thinking about who is behind me. All I want is to hold my place. I know I can't possibly pass another runner ahead of me, I've not enough energy for that. In the final moments of the trail I see Jim Mullens in very reachable distance to me. He pressed me on to run harder when I thought I couldn't. I reminded myself that in an hour I'd be telling myself "I think I could have ran harder" but I felt myself pushing it a little too much... I walked a few steps up a final climb. saying out loud "I can't let him pass me" eventually out on the grass for the final stretch I pushed it hard as I could... I finished 6 seconds ahead of him. I don't know if he felt he was racing that part or not, but I surely was! Immediately after I thanked him and told him he was really pushing me. I thanked joe also for just being there and giving me someone to keep up with.
Social time. food. smiles. My face was hurting from smiling more than my legs were hurting from running... That is always a good sign. James Decker asked f I've checked the results and sure enough... preliminary results said I earned 3rd place, with Jim Mullens in 4th only 6 seconds behind me!!!
WOW! Sharing the top of my age group with David Tingler and James Decker was pretty cool for me. I say it all depends on who shows up. Had I run that time last year, I still would have only earned 5th place. but I was glad that today was today. Others in my age group took overall winnings. Shows how fast and competitive my AG is.
Thanks to the Mountain Junkies and all the volunteers for making it happen.
During this race I was excited to be wearing my Patagonia shorts I earned from finishing Promise Land 50k last weekend!. I carried my hand held filled with ViSalus PRO. I took 2 GU gels, I'm estimating at about mile 6 and mile 10. I took 2 salt caps when I felt some calf cramping around mile 9 or 10. I'm considering that my Montrail Masochist shoes may be needing replacement, but not fully sure. I felt some "burn" and some flattening of my soles during this race, but I'm not sure they are "done" yet. I'm still liking my Smart Wool PhD socks, the thicker ones. Not sure how they will do over the summer, but we'll see.
weather was a drizzle and humid. I diddnt do much different this time except racing it rather than just running it. Pretty excited about my time of 1:58:XX and 3rd in my AG. I look forward to beating that time next year, but I've also considered doing the 10k, we'll see.
Conquer The Cove Marathon will be next, in about a month from now. 2 weeks after that is the Eastern Divide 50k. Conquer the Cove will mark the end of the RNUTS (Roanoke Non Ultra Trail Series). Then as for the other series I'm running the Lynchburg Ultra Series. I've still got one event in November, the Mountain Masochist 50 miler... I'm scared (but equally excited) of what that day may bring!
Much to look forward to!