Right on. We're back at it, full swing, all systems going, and we're loving it. I've been back at school for three weeks now and spent the first two classless weeks simply running and reading and cooking. The three best activities out there as far as I'm concerned. I was able to put in conscious efforts into all of my runs as well as having optimum recovery of basically doing nothing with ample time to stretch and massage. While doing that, I've worked my mileage up to where it was before mono back in January and then where it was in March before all the racing commenced. Which I'm super stoked about because I feel great whereas I was pretty tired and felt topped out back then. I'm good to go to keep building and start getting to some real ultrarunner miles per week opposed to my now-modest high of 55 mis. Basically I've only been running for three years and have always felt oncoming injury when upping my miles. But now I feel like I have enough behind me that my body is used to continually running. Knock on wood.
Speaking of continually running, Iron Mtn 30 miler was this past Saturday, as was my 21st bday! 21 miles + 9 for 21 years :) Best way to start off a birthday! Friday night Guy Dmack and I traveled to Damascus, Trail Town USA, where we picked up our packets and grabbed pizza and a beer (legally!) along with Rachel and Fletcher. Guy was volunteering/sweeping, Rachel running the 16 miler, and Fletcher the 50. Dmack and I slept at Guy's mom's place which was a cozy mountain home. She made a fantastic rum cake!
So we woke up at 545 to make the 7am start. We did a little Hokie chant that went something like "abbbuuuahahahhalkjdshfalueh HOKIES!" and were still chatting when the gun went off. The plan (which we executed pretty well I think) was for Dmack and I to run together the whole way on training efforts. Training efforts as in slow slow slow just getting in our first really long run of the fall together and enjoying the trails. The slow slow part didn't really happen, but we had ample amounts of fun. We ran the first 4 or so miles with Rachel on the VA creeper trail which was flat but nice to loosen up and chat. At the first climb Dmack and I dropped Rachel who went on to get 3rd female and break the old course record AFTER running Cheat Mtn 50 mile at night seven days prior! That's resiliency and love right there--fun and inspiring stuff.
Without getting into the play by play, David and I plugged away at the climbs and ran happy the first 20 miles. I kept reeling in David and running in front of him cause he runs the first part of the race too fast! But he was setting a good pace when he led, just a taaaad too fast that wouldve bitten us in the end. Mile 20 or so is typically when I start to feel really good in these races, and the rest of the course was basically all downhill, so I upped the effort naturally. At this point Dmack and I weren't talking, just focusing, and I asked if he was flowing and he said definitely not and I told him to fake it :) Ended up booking the last decent and catching a dude in the last 200m to snag 4th place, with David shortly behind due to the steep decent (which he's improving on). 4:42 for a 30 miler with ~5500ft gain! I'll take that any day, nonetheless this early in the season. I felt good the whole time really, no real aches or pains. Awesome low-key race. During the last mile and half or so after the decent out of the forest, I really sucked in the surroundings of the race. The hills to the left of me, the mountain behind me, the Damascus residents sitting on their quaint and blue-collar lawns, the little mom and pop shops, the clouds ahead threatening rain. I was in it. I have that love...
I managed to run a somewhat quick 6 this morning which was also reassuring that my body is doing really well right now. Just have to keep it going strong. Taking a little back week this week for longevity sake.
BTW Fletcher killed his first 50 mile in 9:11! Iron mtn is a pretty technical course. The trails were fantastic though, I love Damascus and will go back and hopefully run the 50 next year!
Now school's started and I gotta put in the study hours so we'll see what's in store next, but everything is going to be great. Great great great.
See you round the mountain.