|Chilly before the start|
The weather today couldn’t be more perfect for this run. The temperature at the start is right at the freezing mark, and it is expected to warm up into the 50s. The weather the past several months has been dryer than normal. Well, we have received normal precipitation the last couple of months, but we are still catching up from the drought last summer and fall. Therefore, the trails that are typically quite messy this time of year are in very good shape for this run. The only issue for me then is that I had the flu 1-2 weeks ago, and I am not sure I am fully recovered. But, this is just a 50k so I should be fine. Nathan is home for the weekend. He helped us celebrate my birthday yesterday. Today he is crewing for me on this race.
Mile 6.7 1:04:55 (9:41 avg./mile) O’Shaughnessy Point
Just before the start I see Rick and Tammy Gray. We greet each other warmly, and then the race begins. The Grays are from Tennessee, and I have run dozens of races with Rick over the years in Virginia. I start quickly as the first two miles are on the roads before we get into some technical trail, which isn’t too technical until later in the race. I have blitzed this first section rather fast, but I am feeling good and the weather is spectacular. Somewhere before the first aid station, I drop a shirt off with Nathan as the day is warming up quickly.
Mile 11.9 1:01:05 (11:56 avg./mile) Aid Station #2
Around mile 8, Rick, who I lost sight of after the first mile, passes me. He obviously had to stop for a pit stop. We run together for about a half mile before he pulls away from me again. At the aid station, Nathan informs me that Rick is only about 5 minutes ahead of me. However, at this point I decide that I need to slow things down a little bit. My early fast start needs to be reined in some. All I need to do now is cruise through these next several miles until the real work begins after mile 20. I drink some chocolate milk and take half of a bagel to eat on the trail.
Mile 17.3 1:07:41 (14:28 avg./mile) Fearn Road
Around 13 miles, I twist my right ankle for the first time today. It hurts quite a bit, but the pain deadens out after several minutes. I press on during this time, but know that I should be careful. Besides that, I am feeling okay, but I have definitely started to slow down. This slowdown was planned, but I am slowing down more than I should be at this point in the race. Despite my careful running, I roll my ankle again around mile 15. It isn’t the rolling of the ankle that is most concerning, it is how I feel. My balance is mostly okay, but my proprioception is greatly reduced. I get into the aid station and ask Nathan for the ankle tape. He doesn’t have it with him and the truck is at least a quarter of a mile away. We decide that I will tape my ankle at the next aid station. I drink some Conquest and press forward for the second half of the race.
Mile 21.0 57:36 (17:33 avg./mile) Old Railroad Bed
Soon after leaving Fearn Road, I realize that my proprioception has been reduced to almost nothing. This means that I am having a terribly tough time feeling where my body is in relation to my surroundings—most importantly the trail below my feet. In addition, my energy level falls off the table. Within two miles of leaving the Fearn Road aid station, I hav However, on a trail race one cannot just stop anywhere. I walk the last two miles into the aid station where Nathan is waiting, and I call it a day. Fortunately, the truck is only a quarter of a mile away.e determined it is time for me to stop.
DNF = Did Not Finish = Do Nothing Fatal
While I don’t think I would have killed myself to slog through and finish this race, it would have taken a long time and may have allowed my flu to rebound. The rest of the day on Saturday, I was completely spent. My hockey game on Sunday was okay as we had three complete lines so I didn’t have to skate too much. Even so, I was very spent after the game. It will take me a full week before my energy completely recovers.
The next race I want to run is the Mt. Cheaha 50k on February 25. However, I need to ensure I am completely recovered before entering. My plan is to run a long tempo (17-18 miles) in two weeks and see how things go.
Never stop running,Darin
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