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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Leatherwood – NOT just 10 miles.


     I was registered for the 50 miler at first but due to the lack of mental fortitude as of late I dropped down to the 10 miler. This was one beast of a run looking at the elevation profile but in my mind I thought “it’s just 10 miles”.
Getting ready the morning of
     Getting up to the cabin the night before with everyone slowly getting in was a great start to the weekend. Bo, Jason, Jonathan and I all met up and started getting on the way. About 45 min away from the cabin we picked up Annie whose husband would meet up with us latter. Angela, Nick (his wife and friend), Scott all trickled in and we just had a good night. The pre-race dinner had a nice guest speaker Jennifer Pharr Davis who holds the FKT for the AT. After feeding our face we headed back to the cabin and I got back to the hot tub and continued to suck down beer. “It’s only 10 miles right? I got this” “I’m not out to run hard just have a nice run” well by the time I went to bed I was about two shots away from black out drunk.

     We all got up the next morning and headed down to the start. The 50 milers started at 7, 50k started at 8 and the 10 miler started at 9. I thought this was great because most of the time the shorter events start 1st and the way Leatherwood was doing it I would get to see all my friends start. this was a real treat it was like a mass family reunion. I saw there was a lot of PBR at the start and thought “fuck it it’s only 10 miles” and started drinking again. (I might have a problem)…..


     As we started getting ready for the 10 mile event to start I looked for my water bottle and well I left it at the house. “It’s only 10 miles with two aid stops” “no worries”. Opened another PBR and sucked it down right before the start and talked to Nick about his race plan. He said that he was going out hard and then seeing where he blew up at. I thought well I was going to take it easy but the hell with it. I’ll do the same. “It’s only 10 miles right?”

     Well the gun went off so to speak and so did I. I was running in the front thinking where the hell are all the people that should be in front of me? There was a little stretch of road before we hit the trail head which I missed. I started hearing people yelling and thought WTF looked back and well I was far from 1st place after that. I got back on trail and started getting back into the top line up. Two other guys and a girl. I was holding 4th and thought hell let’s see how long this last. A mile into it I was thinking when will this end!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Up/Down not an easy up down either. Like let’s walk up then fall down. Then I thought “just 10 miles? You’re a jack ass Joe” Time to put your thinking cap on and get it together man.
10 mile race profile
     I am lucky in the way of having some amazing running friends that I get to run with or crew for from time to time and that’s the only reason I made it through this without falling apart to bad. Every Hill (when I say hill I mean mud wall) this junk was no joke massive climbs and massive drops in small stents. No flats other than the start and finish. I just thought back to running/crewing for Pinhoti 100. Jason has a step and stride going up hills that is amazing. It’s a 12 min pace at times now that’s something to think about. I just said to myself “walk like Jason. Walk like Jason” then Lester’s voice would pop in my head and say “JOE!! Lift your head up how is air going to get inside when you’re blocking the airway”. On the sections that were somewhat a run going up I just thought “do the dougie” My friend Doug has a short stride up and down hills that has little to no wasted energy. He just glides up and down stuff like this. On the hard downs I just balled out like I always do. NO FEAR!!!! If I fall on my face well..... it happens.

      At mile 4ish the beer got to me and I puked everywhere. Sure wish I had my handheld at that point. Half a mile latter I took a wrong turn and went about 5min out of the way. I heard another runner yelling as she started down a massive drop. I looked down and remember seeing her at the 10miler start. I stopped and looked at what I could do. Run back half a mile or just jump down the side of the Mountain? F-it I took a long leap and landed on my butt and sliding down I went. I was able to get my feet back under me right as I got to the trail and back to running I went. Not long after this we hit the 1st Aid station. Got some water washed the puke out of my mouth and down the tail I went. Hoping to make up some of the time I lost. That hope went away fast at mile 7. It took me 20ish min to go from mile 7 to 8. “Really? That’s almost my 5k time! I hate you Mark and Tim!!!!” Then I puked again. A little past mile 8 was the next Aid station again I got some water and washed the puke out of my mouth. I asked one of the ladies at the Aid station which way to go and she pointed and said up that way. UP? I looked at her and said “you’re fucking kidding right?” the look on her face was priceless. I smiled and said “just joking ladies thank y’all so much for being out here and helping us” and off I went. I did not know how far behind I was and if I was still in the top three or not after taking that wrong turn. I tried to push it as hard as I could. At this point something I have never felt during a run EVER. My calves locked up. I thought “this is what Mike talks about?” “this freaking sucks” trying everything I could to stretch them out on what I was hoping to be last climbed. Thankfully I was able to open them up a little. I knew the last mile would be flat dirt/road back to the finish and the last thing I wanted was to go so hard just to get passed the last mile.

     I crossed the finish yelled a big FU to Mark and got another beer. Come to find out I was 3rd overall and 2nd male. Yep we got chicked. She killed this beast of a 10 miler. My finish time was 1:53:54. I was 13 min behind 2nd place so even without getting lost and puking I don't think I would have placed any better. The winning time was 1:37:18. Again she killed it. This was NOT “just 10 miles” this was a hard take no prisoners run.  Never again will I say “it’s just 10 miles” had my butt handed to me on this run but enjoyed a great butt kicking fun filled weekend at Leatherwood. After seeing everyone finish the 50k and 50 miler and knowing that the last 10 of their race (which was the 10 mile race) was some of the easier sections of their course brought me back into the run again. Seeing how hard they pushed it and how hard they worked. Everyone out there did something amazing. After close to 3 months of 3 to 10 mile weeks I think I’m ready to get back into the Ultra distance.
2nd place Male award and finishers glass
PS running down hill in a button up shirt (unbitten by that point) makes you feel like batman with his cape flapping in the wind. 

50 mile profile com/con to Uwharrie 40

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Emerald City 5k – New trail discovery



     Every year a high school kid in/around Greenville puts on a 5k as their school project.  Little did I know this was the one this year. It is not that they do a bad job. To tell the truth is was very well “put on” event. The start was a bit late but other than that a great event. The problem for me is all the high school track kids come out for it. You know how hard it is for a 29 year old “Ultra” runner to keep up with a 16 year old high school track kid. HARD!!!!!! But soooooo much fun.

     As we started the 5k it ran a little on the road and I was probably in 10th place at the short comeback before we hit the trail. I was thinking as long as I could keep the 1st place kid in sight or be able to see him on a switchback I would make up the distance latter. (this is ultra thinking---not so good for a 5k). About a mile into the run I totally lost the kid and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th place people. Then it hit me “Joe you don’t have 3 hours you have 20 minutes TOTAL” SHIT!!!!! Then all I could think was Ricky Bobby “GO FAST” “FASTER FASTER FASTER”

     I kicked up the pace and by mile 2 I was right behind the 2nd place guy. This was a no joke trail 5k. Trying to push it hard out there is a little harder than I was expecting. Great trails with some nice (hard for a 5k) climbs and creeks/streams in the back of the Greenville Tech Greer campus I say check it out if you ever get a chance. As I started to pass the guy my lungs started to burn. My legs felt like they could go faster but my lungs were just not with me. Maybe it was how hard I was pushing it because I have not done that in a long time or maybe it was the pack of smokes I took down the 3 days before. Who knows I am not a doctor or smart guy like Sheldon. Just some redneck that likes running in the woods.
      Either way I made it the last mile and poped out of the trail and started making my way to the finish in 2nd place wondering how long the 1st place kid had been there. When they put up the times it showed him KICKING MY BUTT by 4 minutes. I was stoked for him and went and shook his hand and I was stoked for me and the 3rd place guy who was 34 (I think) we went out there and did a pretty good job running with the kids.

Looking forward to keeping it short for a while.