New River Trail 50k
My journey began Friday evening. I decided that it would be best for me to drive on up to Wytheville, VA, and get a hotel room off i-77 in order to save me some morning driving time and enable me to sleep in a little longer. :o) I was a little bummed starting out because Brock was supposed to come to the race with me and volunteer, but he had gotten called out to work because some fiber optic cable was down in Charleston, WV. Bummer!!
So after dropping Jack and Fred( my doggie) off at Brock’s parents house. ( my mom kept Toddy for me) I found myself driving up 81 alone. I listened to bluegrass and just tried to psyche myself up for the journey that lay ahead. How beautiful the weather would be and how much fun I was going to have seeing ALL my friends at New River Trail 50k!
I knew Annette ( the RD) had been working SO hard on this race, it has such a wonderful reputation for being flawlessly organized.
I pulled into Sheets ( the gas station that is otherwise known as “Recovery Food Central” for the IMTR’s—no ultra is complete without a stop at Sheets on the way home for some grub!) I bought some snacks and a bag of ice for my cooler. Still a little down because I was there alone, and wishing I had made Beth come up the road with me. ( but I knew she had already promised to ride up with Rick Gray the next morning)
I got to my hotel ( a Fairfield Inn) and busied myself with listening to “the gourds” ( lower 48) and laying out all my clothes for the next morning, putting all my nutritional /fueling needs in my Nathan vest and my drop bag. THIS CHEERED ME UP IMMENSELY. Call me a dork, a geek, etc.. but I LOVE my little routine/ pre-race rituals. I even went as far to say out loud “ I LOVE BEING ME!!!” to an empty hotel room. :o)
Took a very hot shower, put on my PJ’s, called Brock and told him: “goodnight.” And then I went to sleep at 10pm.
Woke up at 5AM. Pretty well rested. I got dressed, ate some oatmeal and a bagel, then loaded the car and headed down the road towards Fries, VA. Got a text from Beth, so I called her as I was getting off exit 80, and she and rick were at the flying J at exit 80 getting fuel for the family van. :o) YAY! So, I pulled into the gas station.. gave hugs to both of them and followed the to the race.
It was about 45F and foggy at the start line. Beth started her volunteering responsibilities,
I got my packet, visited with some of my friends. Ran into my friend Bob whom I met at Capon Valley earlier this year and took a picture of him:
Rick and I sat in the family van to keep warm until start time, and then at 7:50am I got out of the van when I saw my friend, Frank Lilly ( whom I last saw at Leadville Trail marathon) gave him a hug and met all his crew he came to the race with.
We lined up, all giggling and laughing..
and were off!! It wasn’t an insanely fast start, but it was fast enough! I was sub 8 ( 7:40ish) the first 5k.. finally settled into a nice 8 min-8:20 pace and was feeling good. I ran with this really nice guy from high point, NC and leap frogged with the sultan for a couple of miles. Bob came up and passed me, and I just decided to follow him and his red terrapin half marathon shirt because he was pacing fairly steady. I ate some perpetuem an hour in and took a salt tab. There was a small out and back at mile 5 and then you pass everyone at the half waypoint. Which was exciting for me because I got to cheer on all my friends. I was happy to see Rick running SO strong with the front of the pack. Jenny Anderson and Amy Albu were both running strong. So everyone yelling words of encouragement and giving high 5’s definitely at a GOOD, WARM positive vibe to this race. I had slowed down to about 8:45 pace by the half waypoint and that was actually my joke at the aid station to Beth that I was running 9 min pace and “LOVING IT!!”
beth took a pic of me at the turn around:
I took some more perpetuem( thanks Beth for mixing it up for me and having it there waiting!) and drank a coke, then headed back down the trail.
I have to say that the course is beautiful! The new river is so pretty, the leaves were in peak, and the trestles were so much fun to run across, and there is this COOL tunnel you get to run through. I was excited about the trip back.
I saw my buddy Frank, and he was running solidly and looked great!!! He took this picture of me: ( I borrowed from his race report)
That really made me happy to see he was having a good race.
I was gradually getting hotter, and slower.. but I felt if I could jut hang on, I could break 5 hours.. so that essentially is what I did. Hung on. I struggled mentally with feelings of why I wasn’t performing better and having this red-letter day, then at mile 28 I looked down at the trail and saw a small piece of paper flapping between blades of grass in the "median" of the double track. The new river trail is really clean.. I didn’t see ANY liter the whole run ( good job everyone for not throwing down your gel packets—seriously! I’m proud of yall..) I was going so slow I thought “what the heck” I’d throw it in the trash when I get to the finish. I picked up the paper and this is what it was:
A paper heart!
It really made me feel SO much better just reading it. I felt better the 5k back to the finish line because it permeated somewhat that while, I didn’t really have the best day performance wise. I did my best for THAT DAY… on my own terms, and I should be content with that. This was great training for MMTR. I know I made gains having this for a long run.
Finishing felt great ( to be able to stop after 31 miles of non stop running) 4:54… PR by 37 min and 42 pace overall. Getting congratulatory hugs made me feel so much better. I showed everyone my valentine I found:o) I found out I won both a montrail visor and a bottle of wine!!! SWEET
beth took some pictures of me finishing:
I was able to hang out at the finish line for a couple of hours and watch my friends finish:
Hung out with rick under the MHW tent he ran a 4:14!!! A mere 7 days after finishing grindstone 100!!! I love this picture of him, he’s SOO happy:o)
I had to go pick up Todd from my Mom’s house in Richlands so I didn’t get to stay to see Frank’s finish. But Beth took a picture! So proud of you Frank! Awesome job
Definitely recommend this race. It would be an EXCELLENT, first time 50k or for someone who is looking to PR. The race is super organized, the course beautiful. Annette really gifts her runners. This is a picture of all the swag I left with from her race:
The community center had homemade bread and a vast selection of soups. There was a blue grass band playing, the new river is a great place to soak your legs post run.. There are great places for camping near the race site in New River State Park. This race has IT ALL.