Monday, November 25, 2013

Fun at the Crooked Road "24" Hour

Ahh, what've we been up to lately? Seems like I finally settled down into the semester once November started and I got my Grindstone revenge races out of the way. Since then I've been way more of a balanced person, running around 70-80 mile weeks instead of 90-100. I spent some incredible alone time on the Hellgate course one weekend, threw a couple parties, ran a dope beer mile, and have been doing loads of job-related activities. My newfound academic love, urban forestry, looks like it's going to take me to a CITY. I'm intrigued to see what my running will look like this time next year. I have three pretty great job prospects in three different and distinct cities, so we'll have to see!

In my post-Gstone rage when I signed up for four races, one of them happened to be my first timed event, the Crooked Road 24 Hour. I'll start by saying timed events are AWESOME. I imagine they are what trail races were 10 years ago. Pressure is nonexistent, everyone has vastly different goals, and all types of people are there. You stop when you want to stop, run when you want to run, and walk when you want to walk. Nobody is really beating anybody; it's very much so a "help everyone achieve their goals" instead of "I'm going to beat you" type atmosphere. These folks aren't biased runners yet they're still most definitely ultrarunners. These timed races typically take place on 1-mile loop courses, which lets everyone get to know everybody. I met a couple Hokie alumni, two other college ultrarunners from another school (!), caught up with teammates, and accomplished my goal for the day.

Team early on! Photos: Ricky Scott

Everybody smiling!

That goal? Running a steady 40 miles at Crooked Road. The ultimate goal? Crushing Hellgate 100k+ in three weeks. To me, crushing Hellgate means certainly placing in the top 10, hopefully in the front half, hitting a PR if weather permits, laying all I have out on the course, and having a fun day. It's been a loong while since I've left everything out on a course it seems. Even though I ran a really great race at Tussey Mountainback (and didn't think so at the time) I felt like I could have kept going. I want to finish Hellgate knowing that I can't continue. Time myself so perfectly that my last ounce of effort is stepping across the finish line. I haven't set lofty goals for myself since...when? Grindstone was a goal in and of itself, but I ran Hellgate last year and now know what it's about. I'm setting high goals, especially after I know what I can do now, as well as seeing my teammates DESTROY it at Mount Masochist three weeks ago.

Ok, ok. Crooked Road. The goal was to run a steady 40 miles. And I defined consistency. Give or take 10 seconds, I ran all 42 laps (40 miles) at 8:15 pace. The first hour was spent with the UltraVT gang (Brett, Glove, Wyatt, Jordy, + Joe Dudak) and felt a little quick, esp for the guys planning on running all 24 hours. We eventually got smart and thinned out to our own paces, and I found myself running with Jordy for about 20 miles. Love running with Jordy. We work well together, have good convos when we need to speak, and run in silence when we don't need to speak. Hoping to spend a good chunk of Hellgate together. He's also the best Physical Therapist in the world. I had an extremely knotted calf which laid me out for the first half of this week, and he fixed me right up.

Nothing too crazy happened during my first 40 miles. I'm getting good at running a just-below tempo pace, a pace that's not comfortable but won't make me blow up. I was pumped once I finished the 40 miles. Now that my run was finished, my goal shifted to help everyone else. I ran with Joe for a couple laps as he was suffering from a little boredom. At one point he said, "dude I think I'm going to take up knitting." Ahaha. Wyatt also suffered from boredom. Glove suffered from lack of motivation. I can't blame any of them--one mile loops for 24 It is a very unique challenge though. It's definitely something I want to do in the future.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, running/walking a lap here and there, and cracking a beer during a lap which was a classic UltraVT moment. The 24 hour community was tight, and I look forward to doing another sometime in the near future. I think one in the spring/summer/fall would be better for more daylight and more moderate temperatures. My first 24 hour would be to finish all 24 hours for sure, which would be over 100 miles most definitely. It's an interesting PACE YOURSELF game. I'd have to implement a run/walk routine no doubt. Anywho, it's thanksgiving time now. I'm thankful for my team, my ability to run, and health...among other things :)

All Hokies ran 50 miles! Always fun when we get to celebrate running together.


Michael Jordan. Earp practicing too.

Before it got freezing.

Some dope jams. 

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