When I started this blog, I wrote at the top: "I’ve set up this blog to help keep focus on training . . .". So, I've decided to keep to that line of thought and not go into details of my recent life issues here, even though one may ultimately end my running (and other things). Enough said!
I was not in the mood to write a report on Mountain Mist 50k (Jan 22) due to the circumstances at the time, so here's a short version about what I can remember now:
I came into Mountain Mist 50k in Huntsville, Alabama having not run but twice since my foot surgery in mid December. My foot did OK during the race & it was obvious that I had lost alot (as expected) since I had taken off for so long & did absolutely nothing during recovery. Although my time was poor, I enjoyed myself all day.
The first 17+ miles of this course seems flat or downhill most of the way & very fast. The rest is completely different - technical & tough hills. Fell several times (nothing serious) among the rocks thru here, mostly from not picking up the feet. Other things I will remember about this race: icy & closed roads (does Huntsville have salt trucks?), icy trails that turned muddy, lots of aid station help, no drop bags, very crowded start (300 runners) & backed up for several miles, hot & fresh pizza for late finishers too, nice finishers slate tile.
Also, here's a report, mostly about the mixup at Louisville's Lovin' The Hills (LLTH) last month:
With Cynthia's (RD) father critically ill all week leading up to the race, I tried to do whatever I could to help out. Usually I like to rest up & keep off the feet the days leading up to a race, but I ended up hiking the course -- marking & re-marking trails & putting up signs. Since we had the 1st case of someone taking down course markings, I delayed putting up signs till Friday evening & early race morning. At the end of the day Friday, I was pretty tired. I slept good, but paid for using up my legs the next day. It was a similar case a couple years ago when I volunteered to clear trails from an ice storm just before the race.
Todd took over the RD duties & everything seemed to be going smoothly race morning. The NWS & 3 weathermen had predicted a low of 26 & a high of 42 -- I figured most of the course would stay frozen, at least in the shade all day. Of course, the temperature predictions were wrong . . . I woke up to 30 degrees & the high was 49 degrees! Which meant alot of the course would thaw out & get pretty muddy by mid-afternoon & it was certainly that.
Ran into alot of familiar faces & it was great to get to talk to everyone race morning! As for my race, I knew adrenaline would carry me the 1st part, but after that, there wasn't going to be any energy reserves this day. I was upbeat on the frozen trail in the scenic snow covered forest till I came to the 50k/15m junction at mile 7. There was Todd! He said the volunteer had not showed up & that before he got there, 16 people had taken the wrong turn & skipped most of the 2nd leg (Yost) & headed out on the 3rd leg. That really flustered me.
I had helped design the course & had stressed how important this junction was -- saying this was the one spot on the entire course that needed someone to be there. I know things happen, but still I couldn't get my mind off it the entire day. I had put up the signs on the course except at this junction & Scott's Gap. Although I did get to check the signs at Scott's Gap the day before, I did not check the signs at the junction as I knew someone would be there race day . . . . Todd had taken care of these -- still I can't understand how the runners took the wrong turn if the signs were up?
Now I was mentally out of it along with my legs starting to tire badly. With the course turning very muddy late in the day, it was a tough battle, but I finished -- time wise a personal worst for the course by far.
Looking forward to improving on the race preparation next year.
Next up is the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) 50 miler. With my inconsistent/nonexistent training & recent weight gain, the most difficult part of the race is going to be making the cutoff at the end of the 3rd loop. I'll have to average about 13 minutes per mile for the first 36 miles (at LLTH 50k I only managed 16 minutes/mile). The most critical factor for me at LBL has always been: getting the early pace right. With the 1st 1.7 miles on the road & several hundred runners packing the single track early, the start has been the deciding factor in all my finishes.