Let me start this by saying how I originally had visions of a 6 hour +/- finishing time for this event… until I began the “2nd half” of the course that is. Course descriptions had the first half as the tougher half… not so my friends, not so at all! The second half was 10 times harder, at least in my book. Lots of tough steep climbing and technical stuff… and LOTS of gravel road/ jeep road stuff, which really became a drain on my psyche. So here goes…
Got started a bit late, around 7:45 am and had a nice easy mile and a half or so approach up to the first trail section, this contained a bit of up and down, under Rte 35, and along for a few more miles, pretty uneventful. Then the road section, lasting about 4 to 5 miles give or take, to what I consider the first real AS, even though there was a little water AS a couple miles in to the race. I was feeling really good, nice and smooth, miles ticking by with what, in my opinion was a little too much road for my taste. Fast forward to the “half-way”, which was actually just a mile and a half or 2 miles beyond the true half way point. I was feeling pretty good, fueling up and no stomach issues, etc… doing fine on hydration for the most part. I opted to change my shoes along with my socks and refill my pockets with gels, and off I went. Took longer than I should have at the AS, but it’s not like I was running for the win or anything, so no big deal. Off I went after the pair of runners that I was more or less within pretty close proximity for the previous few miles, then I caught them and was following along as we lost the course for a few mins… then back on track and up a few little climbs and over the fence into the “bull field”, then off the course again… Thoroughly frustrated, I decided to turn back and pick up the course once more deciding not to follow anyone else… and pay better attention to avoid any more lost time. There were a handful of places that I think the course could have been supplemented by the organizers with extra markers to make the course a bit clearer… after 20 miles or so, things get a little tough to process at times and more defined markers would help this. I heard some anecdotal talk of a few people getting slightly lost out there… nothing too bad for me though. So as I plodded along, I was totally and thoroughly regretting my change of shoes. I had my LaSportiva Crosslite 2.0’s on earlier and changed into my Mountain Masochist’s… the Crosslite’s were just so much more comfy and stable feeling.. maybe it was just the state of my feet at that particular time? Anyways… AS 5 was great.. 9.5 miles left, the AS workers there were the best of the race in my mind, very positive and helpful to all of us, and from here it was a total slog into the last AS (during this stretch I really started hurting and got passed by about 5 people), then I was lucky enough to be able to pick up a rose for Cory’s wife Ami for their anniversary, top off the water bottles and head out for the final stretch. One more person passes me, and the final lonely few miles to the finish line that seemingly would never come to me! I mention the people that passed me because at the time I honestly thought I was in the 30-35th place range, and I was discouraged because I felt like I was falling apart and losing all sorts of spots. I wanted to finish in the top half at least… that was my goal. So when I crossed the line in 7:05 and 16th place I thought to myself how much higher placed I was than I ever thought was realistic. Imagine if I had not dropped those other places… hah! Tough, tough, tough course, hats off to Cory and his team of volunteers and boyscouts.. I plan to be back next year, better prepared and now knowing how tough the course is.. ready to tackle it head on! Thanks to all of you hard-nosed runners too for a great day of tough running!
vcsnover on Kanawha Trace 50k in the … Tony Mollica on Kanawha Trace 50k in the … vcsnover on Kanawha Trace 50k in the … Lisa Vorwerk on Kanawha Trace 50k in the … pink panther aka Lis… on Kanawha Trace 50k in the …