Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Three 50's Part 2: 2011 Bull Run Run 50 Miler


April 9. 2011

Nice single track!

This race has been on my list of “to do’s” for quite a while.  I never had the opportunity to travel to Virginia this time of year but 2011 seemed to have a void in the schedule so it fit just right.  Many friends have had the opportunity to run this race and I’ve heard nothing but good things.  So, at the last minute I signed up, which is a lottery system based on the stock market.  Whatever, I made it in.  Shortly thereafter I was contacted by another runner, David Ploskunka, who was organizing a team to run in the open class.  It seemed like a fun thing so sure, why not.

For this trip I decided to drive down from VT with a stop in CT to visit mom and it broke the trip up into 2 sections. When I arrived in Virginia, after incredible traffic jams in Baltimore and outside of Washington DC, the rain was lingering.  Just like home in VT, the rains had followed me down.  When I arrived at the race site, I went for a quick run before dinner to preview the course.  Rain and cool temps.  After a quick dinner in the F-150 camper, I headed over to the pre-race meeting.  The usual talk about the course, etc. and then there was discussion about the team events.  The local team of years past was heavily favored and there was no talk about any good competition this year.  Excellent, we had a strong team and no one knew about us.  At the meeting I met my teammates for the event, David Ploskunka, John Cassilly and Matt Bugin, all youngins but with some good credentials.  This could be fun!

Stream Crossing

Race Day, up early for the 6:30 start.  Temps were cooler than normal with clouds, excellent!  The first mile was a loop around the parking lot which was fast and furious before heading onto the trails.  I settled in but still felt like I was going too fast.  This first section was an out and back.  With the rains the day before they were saying it was extremely muddy but it seemed like a typical day in VT.  But the usual dry stream crossings were not dry at all.  In fact there were a good half dozen times where you were completely submerged in water going along some concrete pillions, and if you fell off, who knows how deep it might be.  Luckily I stayed on course.  I think I was running in about 7th place just doing my thing and not worrying about the leaders.  The trails got a bit congested being an out and back but after the first section, it turned into some fine single track.  The course had some other loops and lollipops sections which I barely remember but I know I was just running my race and slowly picking up steam.   The temps were manageable so cramping was not an issue as long as I was taking my S-Caps.  The aid stations were excellent providing just enough if needed.  I was powering through mostly with GU’s and the occasional peanut and butter sandwich.  At one point I passed by Adam Hill.  The last time I saw Adam was at the VT 100 a few years back where I passed him at mile 95.  Adam and I ran together for quite a while until the middle of the Do Loop.  He said he always had trouble here and wouldn’t you know; it happened again.  I tried to keep him going but he slowly faded.  Somehow I was now in 4th position after passing some others earlier on in the race.  I kept hearing from spectators that I was only a couple of minutes behind the 2nd and 3rd place runners.  So I pushed on thinking maybe I could sneak up on them.  Little did I know that they had seen me and were pushing hard to stay ahead.  Just when I thought I was gaining, I was running through the soccer fields and ended up in a parking lot, totally lost.  I ran in circles and was jumping up and down trying to find the course.  Luckily a passerby in a car noticed my crazed behavior and redirected me back on course.  I always seem to get lost at some point in the race and this race was no different.  That took the steam out of me but onward I went.  No signs of any other runners for a while so I thought I might even be lost again.  Finally I recognized part of the course and knew the end was near.  Up the hill, through the fields and bluebells and finally across the finish line in 6:49:57 setting a new age group record.  As stated in the official Bull Run Run Report, “This Beamonesque time obliterated the senior event record by almost an hour”.

Matt Woods won the event setting a course record beating Leigh Schmidt’s record from the previous year.  Neal Forman and David Frazier were tied for 2nd.  Adam Hill was just behind me finishing in 6:57:10.  I never saw her during the race but Annette Bednosky finished first for the women. 

Annette Bednosky, the womens winner.

In the team event, our little know team, the Equipo de Deportes finished first in the men’s open division defeating the heavily favorites.

The Winning Open Team

I felt good for most of the race.  Still the energy level was not at top level but the course was not incredibly demanding either.  Being a very runable course make the effort just a bit easier and the cooler temps helped too.  Thanks to the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club for putting on this great event.


The Gear:  I ran in the Mizuno Cabarakan 2 shoe which performed excellent in the muddy conditions and drained well with all the stream crossings.  The Mizuno technical shorts and shirts also worked wonderfully as usual.

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