Friday, April 1, 2011

Bel Monte Endurance Run - March 26th, 2011 - Waynesboro, VA

I am having a hard time pinpointing the root cause of the 50 mile DNF at Bel Monte but I do know that things started unraveling after the Turkey Pen Aid station at Mile 22.  This should have been the point where I made up time or at least maintained a slow jog on and off the next 4 miles but it turned into a long walk.  My energy level zapped and I think I may have started the race too quickly.  Underlying the energy level was an early spring cold making it difficult if not impossible to breathe through my nose. 

The trail was challenging!  A highly technical trail with a lot of rocks and roots to get in the way of my feet.  The elevation change was pretty intense and some of the climbs, especially the Mile 28 climb to Camp Marty, were pushing me to the limit.  All this did my feet in.  So at Turkey Pen (Mile 22), I remember the volunteer saying “You look good, how are you feeling?”  In turn, I said “I do? I must look better than I feel” and 1 mile later I was toast – game over.  Looking back I should have said “I do? Do you have two Advil?”  That may have been the critical mistake.  Those two Advil may have pushed me to the finish.  This is a lesson learned for next time.
Did I mention the views were beautiful?  Being in the Blue Ridge is such a special feeling for me, one of being in tune with nature and the country side.  Out of the city, out of the everyday rush of people and back to the calm of nature. 
So I left home at 2 am on Saturday morning and headed southwest.  I really missed my wife and kids during the day but I know they were cheering me on.  I really enjoyed their company at Stone Mill.  So I arrived in Waynesboro at 5 AM and picked up the race packet and dropped off my bag.  Had to use the headlamp to see because it was pitch black in the parking lot.  We lined up at 6:15 AM for the 6:30 AM start and off we went.  About 2 miles of rather level single track then a long climb to an elevation of 3.5 K.  It was cold on top of Bald Mountain.  At the 8 mile mark, I knew it would be a long day.  At Mile 22 I thought I would throw up before I called it a day and at Mile 28 I told the aid volunteer at Camp Marty – “I’ve had enough – how do I get off this damn mountain?”.  I then went an additional 8 miles to the finish and crossed as a 50 mile DNF but a finisher for the 50K (++ for me).  As I was running to the finish folks though I was racing up as one of the early 50 mile finishers, kind of funny.  As I crossed the I said DNF and they understood. 
I received my medal and ate some Mac & Cheese but my drop bag was nowhere to be found.  After asking around, I realized I would have to wait 3 more hours for my bag!!  So I went to get some more food to eat in town and then had to come back and watch a lot of the 50 mile finishers that were around me when I dropped.  It was not a good feeling.
It was a bad day and I lost, I was defeated but it is only one day and one event (as Allison has reminded me several times).  So fellow readers, my short term plan has changed.  I took myself out of the CAT 100, took myself off the BRR wait list and registered for the 24 hour ATR in Prince William State Park on May 7th.  This will be a non technical trail run on 6 mile loops with adequate infrastructure to support the runner.  Oh by the way, Allison will be taking her test for a Blue belt in Karate on May 7th also after only 6 months of class. 
Two overachievers trying to raise a family the best we can!

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