Saturday, October 16, 2010

WV Trilogy Day 2: The 50 Mile Race

The 50 mile race has a cut off of 33 miles in 9.5 hours. As I had just run 31 miles in 9 hours, I was not feeling all that confident about the cut off. WVMTR club members are the greatest. John Logar told me to shoot for ten hours, and Adam Cassedy said he thought I could do this in about 13 hours.
But the 50K time loomed on my head. I went to the tent Friday night, making sure I kept it all positive. You can do this, Kimba, but you're going to have to work at it. You need to hammer it.

I woke up on Saturday with my freaking asthma cough going. The cooler 50K temps and the cold tent probably helped exacerbate my lung conditions. I was starting to feel less and less good about this day.

There is a smaller group of runners today, the Trilogy folks and a few other solo 50 mile runners. We are starting off on the same way we began the 50K-down the TMI dirt road, through a meadow, then we will turn off to begin our climb to Spruce Knob.
The gang gets away from me, and I get turned around, in the first meadow. It's dark, and I can't see the markers. I see an opening through a fence with a bunch of rocks-but wait, we didn't go through that yesterday! I am actually feeling frustrated, panicky and bereft-I'm losing it in the second mile of a freaking 50 mile race?!!! Of course, these feelings help elevate my heart rate and breathing also.
I finally glance up the hill, toward the road, and get a glimmer of a ribbon. I've somehow stumbled way below in the meadow. I see where we go through the fence, in a different spot, and finally get through and start on the climb to Spruce Knob. Way to hammer through some easy miles, Kimba!
I'm still in a foul mood as I climb and climb on the way to Spruce Knob. Now I'm overheated and sweating, yet still trying to cover my mouth with my scarf. I finally get out on the road, and know I'm pretty close to Spruce Knob and our first Aid Station at mile 5.

Well, the smooth road conditions and the views really restored my sense of humor. It was awesome! No fog, so I could see miles and miles of mountains! I really don't have the words to describe it.
As I power walk up the mountain, two runners catch up to me. This is Mike and Peihune, 50 mile race runners, who got lost on their way to the start. They are such strong runners that they have caught me, and continue to run UP the hill. I console myself from negative thoughts that they didn't run a 50K yesterday.
The Race Directors of the Trilogy, Dan Lehmann and Adam Casseday, are manning this AS. I strip off the gloves, the long sleeve shirt, light, and breathing mask. Adam loads me up with gels, telling me it's about 9 miles to the next AS. Although I am still cold in a short sleeved shirt, I know I will be descending, and the day will warm up!

The next trail is the Huckleberry Trail. I feel pretty at home here, because it's just like the Massanutten Trail-full of ROCKS!! In fact, the first part was eerily similiar to the Signal Knob Trail except "it didn't suck so bad". It's all a matter of perspective! Had I not run the Ring, I would have found this trail to be horrible and difficult. After doing 24 hours on trails like this, it didn't bother me much at all!

I kept almost catching up to Mike and Peihune. I was now getting warmed up and feeling good. The wheezing was gone. Peihune was being a bit cautious on both rocks and mud, and I could tell where there would be a section of this because of her running in front of me.

In fact, I was getting in a really good mood. I was running through the mud and just over the rocks. I knew it was fruitless trying to keep my feet dry, so I gave up. I think the race endorphins kicked in early, after my early morning drama. I was truly in a "don't give a rat's ass" (and I mean that in a very good mood sort of way) and just plowing over rocks. I got ahead of Mike and PEihune on a section of technical downhill. I may have been going a bit too fast, but I just didn't care. Heck, I'm on my way to the Judy Springs AS, to see my peeps and have quesadillas! All should be great, right?

Judy Springs is located besides the Seneca Creek. Which would be, um, at a low point of elevation, right? So WHY am I going UPHILL?????? (It appears this was about a mile of uphill.) And it was a climb. I was trudging up this. I would catch a glimpse of a white ribbon up above. I called Adam a bad name. Just one. And I climbed more.

At some point, I burst into the same meadow that we climbed UP yesterday. The views were just as gorgeous. But now I was focusing on trying to do some downhill running. I did pretty good, except for one spot where I over ran the trail and cut up my leg on some briers. I had some good blood going, and it was pretty. But then I stepped into a mud puddle and got mud into my pretty wounds.

I get to Judy Springs Aid Station, for the famous quesadillas, in 4.5 hours. Well, crap. 15-16 miles in 4.5 hours. The cut off is 9.5 hours, 33 miles. It's not looking that good. I enquire about the trail ahead. It's not getting better. In the 50K race, we ran down the Horton Trail. Now, on Saturday, we're going to go UP the Horton Trail.

I believe it took me almost 50 minutes to go less than 2 miles. Of course, this was two miles UP. Now, I had been planning on getting my long sleeved shirt and light at the AS at mile 24.9, in case I would have to drop at mile 33. Now more of the math was going through my head.

I turn onto the White Run, which is an out and back. The AS, at mile 24.9, is at the turn around. I arrive just to catch a smiling Darryl Smith (he would win the 50 miler) emerging from the trail. I then saw a few guys, including Goncho Slavov, the winner of the WV Trilogy, and John Logar.
Then it was a real long time before more runners emerged running back at me!

All this time I am doing math in my head. Well not really. The 4.5 hours at 16 miles was telling me everything I needed to hear. I estimated I wouldn't hit the 24.9 AS until 1.30 pm-which I did. And I can't run 9 miles in 2 hours-even on a flat course.

What I didn't expect was seeing a Bradley Mongold there, getting ready to go sweep the trail! I had not seen Mongold for quite a while, and in fact, had been thinking about him out on the trail. Mongold did his best to cajole and make me get back out there. But I knew I would be getting to the mile 33 AS way past the cut off-and I didn't feel like making my friends wait for me to get my slow ass to the AS so we could all pack up.

I tell Mongold I'm good with not running 9 more miles today-after all, I do have a 1/2 marathon to run in the morning, someone hands me a beer, and I'm done for the day!!

I guess my big issue was quitting before I am timed out. The runner ahead of me, Mike, he got into the 33 mile AS at 4pm. I would have been around one hour behind him. So all I would have got was 9 more miles in on the trail. And I would have kept the AS peeps on the trail 1.5 hours past their last official time cut. I am very sympathetic toward AS workers-been there, done that. Would I have folded if this was a race where I didn't know everyone working the AS? I don't know. I can say, I won't worry about this at MMT.

Oh, and speaking of MMT...I got a great kudos. Mongold finished sweeping the course. As I sat at the finish line with Adam, he mentioned that Bradley was very impressed with my training and results. And once Mongold got in, he volunteered (unless he is hunting grizzly) to PACE ME at MMT! Wow! I was so touched and honored by this. I believe Mongold would drag my dead body over the finish line (I wonder if that would count??) so I may have a crazy rock star runner pacing me at MMT! That gave me more more incentive to get the solid training and continued weight loss in this winter!


  1. Wow. To have Bradley Mongold offer to pace you at MMT made the weekend alone! I haven't gotten to your half report yet, but already you've got me psyched for at least the 50k next year. Sounds amazing, and I need something to replace the now-lost Groundhog. Great job Kim!

  2. Awesome girl! MMT with the Mountain Man pacing you - sounds like the best adventure ever!
    Good call on the DNF. Sometimes, you don't need to hang in there to prove anything. After The Ring and all the other amazing runs you've had this year, you've certainly earned that distinction!


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