Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pineland Farms 50k RR

Sunday May 30th 2010
(Grant and I Before the Start)
With a lot of apprehension about Grant's bruised foot from the day prior we take to the starting line. Today tackling 10 times the distance, but with food protection. We laugh about how they say to train and wear gear that you are comfortable with. I'm wearing a pack that i've never worn before. Grant is wearing my double water belt, a hat, tights, and socks he's never worn before. It's OK though, this is all training for the Pisgah 50k this fall where the goal is to sub 6 hours.

We laugh about how the trail is much softer in shoes as the people around us give us quizzical looks. After we hit the first "4H" aid station we go into the same contoured trail section and make the comment that the stones are nicer with rubber underfoot. It's about here that another runner falls into pace with us. His name is Jay, a local guy, it's his first ultra, he's a marathoner, and a triathlete (1/2 iron mans). As we get into the Yurt 1 aid it occurs to me that i'm the vet of the group. I had spaced that as many time as Grant and i have run/hiked together this is still only his second ultra. The 3 of us talk about how the fields are going to get hot, and how good the salt/potatoes taste. After more generally chatting about the course and ultra-running Jay decides to stick around with us.
As the morning wears on the fields are starting to heat up, but the 4H aid station has watermelon. one of my favorite foods. I thank them profusely and grab about 1/4 of a melon's worth of slices and continue down the trail. As we head back through the Grove we look over at the 25k start. I Yell towards Leah, Loni, Dustin and Heather in the shoot to no avail.
(Dustin & Heather Pre-Race)
(Loni and Leah Pre-race)

We grab a boost, give Jay a pre-charged hand held, grab some fruit and push on. I couldn't believe Jay had come into his first ultra with no water belt, no gels, no nothing. Turns out he had forgotten everything on the kitchen table at home. With a field being re-seeded on the south side of the course we got to avoid on of the fields that was a cooker in the past. It's not until a little after 10am and almost 13 miles into the run that the sun finally burns through. We instantly can feel the heat coming through the trees. Round and round up and down. Getting glimpses of other runners above or below us in the switchbacks but never really knowing if they were ahead or behind.

Jay broke the long silent spell with a, "does he always do this?" commenting on how grant was pulling away from us on the downhills with his power full stride and us closing the gaps on the climbs, but never enough. I respond with a simple, "he's still learning, he's strong as hell on the downs, we'll see how he holds up in the second lap." Grant runs ahead to change shoes while i top off my water at the final mile aid station and the three of us spread out a bit for the first time. I run through the field alone until i catch up to a woman and state,"great day huh?" "If this was my job you wouldn't be paying me enough' "my name is julie, i'm number 630 and i'd like my check at the finish line." She snapped back. This lady was toxic and i did everything possible to get away from her as fast as possible.

Two miles into the second lap Grant still holding a steady lead continueing with his power runs down the inclines. Jay turns to me and says, "we're going at a good clip right? those two ladies aren't anywhere near us." No sooner did he say that i looked over my shoulder and said, "well her comes one of them." She passes us like we were standing still. Her strength 17 miles in was impressive. I laugh and ask if Jay has any other statements he'd like to make.

Jay and I chat about family and jobs for a bit, miles just ticking by. Until we realize that Grant has now put a size able distance between us. I tell Jay to go head, my sugar was getting low, I was starting to crash and was walking way more then i should have been. He catches Grant by the next field and i put down 3-4 GUs and tried to close the gap. I knew there was some climbing ahead and that's where i'd make up the most time. It took me almost 5 miles to catch them, but i did and we fell in line together once again.
Grant was finally starting to feel the pounding in his knees and was slowing considerably. The 3 of us chat about how the race has gone, and how much longer we figure we'll be out here. And we wonder if we'll have a chance at catching our 25k counterparts. As we went back through the Grove again Grant decided to change back into his other shoes as they had more room in the toes along with more padding that he hoped would help his knees. We passed a few people, got passed by a few. Leapfrogged others for the next 3 miles. Grant would start falling behind on the climbs, but would power the downs and catch back up.

At some point, i don't know exactly where Grant and I left Jay in the dust. Might have been at the last mile aid station but we started trucking through the field. As we make the last climb we see Leah ahead and Grant starts to turn it on. I go, "you seriously going to make me sprint this?!" to which i got no reply, only he started running faster. With a loud expletive i started sprinting him down and we ripped out into the finishing shoot and shot across the line within a second of one another again. It was a good day, the others had been enjoying their beers in the sun for some time. While the rest of the gang had shown up for the Picnic and music. It was a good day. Not a PR, but not a bad time either. 2011 plans are already in the works. I can't wait to earn some more cowbells.

(The Gang Post Race Celebration)

Sunday's Results
Dustin - 25k -3:43:10
Heather - 25k - 3:43:10
Leah - 25k - 3:43:10
Loni - 25k - 3:49:47
Grant - 50k - 6:16:22
Josh - 50k - 6:16:22

1 comment:

leeapeea said...

It WAS a great day. And hot. And hazy. Glad you guys found a running buddy and were able to help him out!