Best Present Ever
I ran this race for the second time (and my second 'ultra' if this counts as one). Short version -- it was a beautiful day, a fun race, and an 18 minute PR.
My training partner Jerri and I went down the day before. I insisted we get down there early because last year I had to sleep in a top bunk with no ladder, and ended up waking up at 2 am needing to pee but reluctant to jump down and wake the whole bunkhouse. This year we got there two hours before packet pickup and got the last two bottom bunks. I managed to lock my keys in the trunk of my car (not typical of me). We found a courtesy phone (no cell phone coverage down there) and called Triple A. Jerri, despite the hours of hanging out in the bunkhouse and whatnot, is apparently still my friend.
The race has a tradition of a (ghastly) pasta dinner and pre race briefing by the RD, David Horton. There were 6 folks from our running group (one supporter and 5 runners). Chuck Stone came over an introduced himself -- fun to meet an imaginary friend in real life. Jerri and I brought our own (non ghastly) food. The briefing was the usual mix of Horton craziness and unmitigated, bizarre and constant sexism. Wow. The Charlottesville crew huddled together to ward off the worst of the sexism. I had an exhausting week so was very happy to get to bed by 8:30, which, sadly, is my usual bedtime.
I wasn't convinced this was going to be a great race. My training wasn't great. I've had a hellish and exhausting few months. But I was up at 5, eating oatmeal & almond butter and Via coffee by 5:20. (The breakfast food supplied isn't 'food' by any definition I'm familiar with, so the Charlottesville crew brought our own again). The race started at 6:30. Dunno, we just ran. It was great. The weather was perfect -- high 20s at the start, maybe mid 40s by the finish? Clear blue skies. Lovely scenery. I worried that we were running a bit too fast, but we just kept running. Except for the short, steep hills, we ran pretty steadily. By the second half, Jerri and were passing everyone we saw in front of us and not being passed. I think our training, which included a lot of longer, steeper climbs than anything we did in the race, really showed here. I fell apart slightly in the last 2 miles, but not catastrophically, The last half mile of the race is downhill on the road, and I was still able to pull out an 8 min pace. My last half was slightly faster than than the first despite the slow-down at mile 31, so it was all good in the end.
A bunch of local folks came out to support us during the race day, including my husband. (Who tells me he had a long conversation with Chuck at the finish. Chuck somehow managed to recognize him -- my description "he'll be the only black man" appears to have been sufficient, since he was in fact the only black man. Ultra running in southern Virginia is an essentially white sport it seems). Since it's a 1.5 hour drive each way and there is NO other reason to drive in that direction, having a cheering section was particularly awesome. Jerri and I also got a local send off with balloons and homemade treats, before the race.
So much fun!
Interval Junkie --Nobby
Wow, taking 30+sec off your pace. What an accomplishment. And, if I remember, you weren't really hard-striving for a PR. Great job.
On my run, I was very pleased to see the weather looking so good, hoping it'd be the same for your race.
And I'm always delighted to hear that the hills I bitch at in my training run around town usually translate to mocking the "hills" in other people's races.
Still in awe you took on a 50K. You rock.
2014 Goals: sub-3 Marathon
Current Status 11/10: Back to building up miles. Junk feels mostly okay. Kinda.
Hey Kathryn, nice to meet you! And yes you gave me enough clues to identify your husband on the first try. :-)
In spite of the craziness, I do like this race. However, starting too fast this year, made for some time of doubting why I do this!
Congrats on your new course PR.
Great to meet you, too. Glad I have the gray hair that makes me stand out a bit. Sorry your race got a bit hard. I'm a wimp and am terrified of the end of marathon style sufferfest + rocks and roots so am motivated to keep my pace slow. I know real ultra runners don't think it's a race until you hallucinate. I'm ok with being a wimp. . And stadjak, come run HL next year. Talk to Rick - he's done it (in about.4 hours - not sure of his place but top 10. You'd be there too).