Saturday, May 3, 2014

2014 Oconee Trail 50k

Oconee 50k
This race was Saturday May 3rd and held at Oconee State Park in SC. I hadn’t been to the park in about 10 years (back when I was hiking and not running), but my 1st 50k in 2010 shared a few miles of trails with this race.
I had trained a little better for this one (one 14 and then two 19 milers at Paris Mountain) than I had at El Paso, but went in not knowing how I would fare.
The 6am start meant waking at 3:20am and making the 90 minute drive, with a quick stop to get fresh batteries for my headlamp. It was too bad the start wasn’t at 6:30am when headlamps wouldn’t be needed. Anyway – everyone congregated around the visitor center prior to the start and I saw some other ultra runners I knew (Marty, Michael, Tiana, Jason/Sully, and Wayne/Weezy).
My headlamp was giving me fits, not working, then working. When it was time for the race to start – it decided to not work, so I stuck it in my pocket and ran on. There was a line of runners ahead (and behind) and I kept near the one right in front of me and did the best I could to not trip. It took a lot of concentration, and I picked my feet up more than normal to compensate. It was a bit congested, so I was actually able to walk up some of the inclines as fast as others were running. After a mile or so – the guy in front of me took a walk break and I sped ahead to get behind Michael – a friend from our weekend runs at Lake Conestee who was running his 1st 50k (after missing Harbison with the flu). I came thru unscathed and after about 25 minutes, headlamps weren’t really needed anymore.
I ran at a somewhat easy pace, but those first 5-6 miles are always slightly uncomfortable as I get settled in. We hit the first aid station around Mile 4 in 48min (with Merle and Lester volunteering – thanks guys!) and I picked up a few chips and cookies and walked out. Michael caught up shortly and we kept on going together. Nice runnable trails with the sunbeams trying to come in thru the leaf-filled trees. There were definite spots/hills to walk, but never lost contact. It had mostly spread out by mile 3 or so, and we’d see others every now and then, either passing us, or being passed. We were just enjoying the nice soft trails (and dodging the few roots out there) and chatting. Michael graciously offered to pack my headlamp into his backpack.
Next aid station was near Mile 9 at 1:52 with Scott, the co-RD helping out), and we got there and refilled and took in some more food. This was the gravel road we were to go down. We set a comfortable pace, not opening up at all really and just relaxed. A few people passed us and were quickly far ahead. We just kept going down and around another bend and down some more. We went running down for 28 minutes (~3 miles). That is the longest constant downhill I think I have ever run. We were glad to see that section end, but we knew coming back up would not be fun and I already expected to walk every bit of it!
We were now at the Winding Stairs section…a ~3 mile climb up to the next aid station and turnaround point. We had been wondering when we would see the leaders coming back, and after 2:40?, we saw the lone leader come flying down by us. He had a good lead…and we still had no clue how far the turnaround was.
I was starting to feel better thru here and at some point, pulled a bit ahead of Michael (and would run alone for the remainder of the race). There were still a few runners within a few minutes of me by the time I got to the turnaround (in 3:04). I stepped back to get a picture and promptly cut a gash on my shin from a stump/post. Took a little extra time to fuel up, pour some coke into my mouth (it is a cup-free event!) and grabbed a handful of chips, etc before walking out. All the aid stations were wonderful and were quick to help refilling my two handheld water bottles.  

 Almost 16 miles in and now I was going downhill and I ran pretty much all the way down to the road – with a few picture breaks as Drew (missed him at the start), Michael, Marty, and Sully/Tiana/Weezy came upon me. Then there was the road. This one female runner was ahead of me. I was walking at my normal quick pace and would get closer to her. Then she’d run a section, then walk again. I would get closer to her again. I got as close as about 20secs from her before she ran and was gone! (Impressive!). I had found a great hiking stick after the first mile and that helped me tremendously. Once I hit the aid station (at 4:27) at the top of the hill and got some more fuel in me - I was on my way. Pretty much ran solo the rest of the way in. Note I said "ran". Yeah - for the first time in who knows how long - I was running pretty well on flats and downhills. Legs didn't hurt at all, just a little fatigued. I was so happy about that, but still surprised. I wanted to run as much as I could while I felt that way. Once I got to the last aid station (back to Merle/Lester, in 5:35), I was doing the math in my head about when I could finish. It seemed I was running better than I expected, but if it took 48 minutes coming out, I was going to finish with a ~6:30 time. I was a little dejected as I went along, but then I really had the feeling I hadn't run this part of the trail before. I knew we went around the lake, but this was different and there was no lake. Once I got to the lake, I knew I was close. I still walked a bit as my legs didn't want to move at times, but I still felt I finished quite strongly. My wife and daughter were right there at that finish to give me that extra boost. (I was lucky they were there, my wife thought I had started an hour later than I actually had). Finish time of 6:04!! My 3rd fastest out of now 9 50ks. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2014 El Paso Marathon Race Report

Race Date: 23 February 2014
I had registered to turn this race back in 2013, but lack of training and a nagging IT band injury after the January Harbison 50k led me to skip that race. I would not do another race that year. This time around – things worked out. I had not thought about this race until I was making plans to go to Juarez for work. I checked to see the race date and it worked out perfectly. I could fly Saturday, race Sunday, and work in Juarez Monday and Tuesday. My training was only slightly better for this than the Harbison race 7 weeks earlier. Instead of one double-digit training run (10 miles), I had two! I had a 10 miler, and then a steady 15 miler 2 weeks before the race.  That was encouraging. Of course the week after my longer run, I had a cold and it snowed enough for it to be too slippery to run. My expected plan was to run as far as I could, then walk it in. I was only in it to finish and didn’t care about a time.
Race morning began with a short walk from the hotel to the expo center area/finish line where we boarded busses for the ride up the mountain. We began on top of XXXXX and the 1st 4 miles were downhill. It was brisk and breezy up top, but most people stayed on the busses as long as they could. Once the sun came up, it was just fine out.
We started right at 7am and got into our paces. The real downhills began about mile 2, but by then I could already tell I was working harder than I should have been. The views were nice, the road was wide, but cambered. I skipped the aid stations as I had my water bottle. Once we wound down the mountain and came into town, we still had a few hills before it flattened out completely.
1st eight splits:
 1-9:27 2-9:28  3-8:40  4-8:27  5-8:05. Yeah – that last one was fast.
6-8:28  7-10:35 (uphill/water stop) 8-8:44
At this point, we were running thru the edges of El Paso past shops and stores. It was about to become flat. I was laboring already, the sun was overhead as it had been since we came off the mountain and there was no shade whatsoever.
Miles 11-17 were on the same road…mostly straight, with nothing but sand to the left, and alternating walls and (abandoned?) houses for much of it. I started taking walk breaks about mile 12 or 13 and had little enthusiasm or desire to run mush at all after that.
9- 9:31  10-9:35  11-9:58  12-10:14  13-10:53. I hit the halfway in 2:12:49 (and already my slowest ever).  14-11:56  15-11:04  16-11:23  17-11:47
So 9 more miles and I was at 2:47. We were just heading into Ft. Bliss for a bit and I was getting to the point where I was about to start walking the rest of the way. Mile 20 was the best mile – right beside the parade grounds and the officers quarters. As I grew up a military brat – I appreciated this area. Also – it was the most “green” area on the course! One wonderful volunteer (could have been a resident for all I know) was giving out frozen Gatorade slushies. I had low energy at this point and was hungry. I missed the aid station fare that ultras provide – and I missed the bananas at the previous aid station. There were a few hills, up and down thru here, and I was only walking by mile 22. The glazed donut gave me a little spike of energy just before then.
18-14:31  19-12:31  20-11:37  21-13:29  22-13:00  23-14:10  24-14:12  25-14:25
It was good I walk as fast as I do as I knew going thru the base that I would end up with a sunburn. I had a couple to walk with for a little bit as we hit the downtown area. Nothing too exciting in terms of buildings, but we knew we were getting closer.
I was finally getting to familiar grounds near the hotel/expo center and I knew the finishing chute was around one more corner…so I started a jog. As soon as I crossed the first mat, I walked. I guess the photographer was taking pictures as you crossed the three mats (so the pictures look a bit odd as I went thru the chute).
Last 1.2 miles: 16:30.
Finish time: 4:51:37
Almost exactly an hour slower than my fastest time and 40 minutes slower than my typical time. But as I said – I was only in this to finish – and I did.
I was sore for a few days and walking up/down stairs was difficult, but I recovered and got right back to training. That's one other good thing from walking so much of the course.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

4th Harbison 50k Race Report

The Harbison 50k was on January 4, 2014 and held at Harbison State Forest in Columbia, SC, but with a different Race Director than the first three events. RD David Nance did a wonderful job of continuing the success at this event Dan Hartley had begun in 2011.
This race was going to be like no other that I have done. Out of the 9 marathons and 10 ultras I have completed, I had never gone into a race this under-trained. How undertrained? I had zero miles in September and October due to a foot issue. In November (with some custom orthotics to alleviate the pressure/pain) I began my personal “Couch to 50k in 10 weeks“ program. After one week of only walking, the next 5 weeks went almost as expected, getting up to a long “run” of 10 miles. That was my longest run since April! Then I got sick with a 105° fever, and blurry vision from my antibiotics. That was 10 days off from running. (A month+ later now and I still have that lingering cough.) Just over two weeks before race day, so no time to really do much but try to get some running back in my legs. I knew I would spend much of the race walking and I had an expected time in mind even though I had no earthly idea how my legs would respond as the miles went on.
Race day brought mid 20’s at the start, clouds all day and it got up to maybe 45° - the shivering went away as soon as we started, right on time at 7:30am and it was never bad after that. 2 miles of service roads led us to the twists and turns of the Lost Creek Section. I walked many of the short hills and it was easy to quickly catch up to the small group just ahead of me as we went down the same small hills. The 2nd section was very runnable and I was still ahead of my “prediction” by 12 minutes. I typically walk very fast, so I was not losing as much time as I walked a bit more as the miles went on. Still moved well thru Spiderwoman and the rock garden. It was after the 3rd aid station that I was starting to feel the decline. I made it back to the start of the Lost Creek section (mile ~16.6) to start the second loop in 3:30. Although it was 38 minutes slower than 2013, I was happy to have made it that far and fully expected then I would be able to finish. I was going to walk it in from there as my left hip and inside left thigh began to affect my ability to run. I was able to shuffle on the downhills for the next few miles, but as the discomfort increased after that, my walking got slower and my ability to shuffle on the downhills became non-existent.
The aid stations were, as always, terrific! This year I mostly subsisted on potato chips, pb&j and cookies. Reminder to self – M&M’s when temps are in the twenties are quite solid. Also - can’t forget the hot chicken soup at the halfway mark! 

I was pretty much on my own after the very first aid station. Other than people usually passing me rather quickly, there were only two or three occasions where I had any lengthy conversations with people. I am completely comfortable out on my own and enjoy the solitude. 
At every aid station on the 2nd loop, I kept counting down the miles to the next one (and the finish) - that was my incentive. I knew based on my pace difference from the first loop that I would be close to 7:30, but that came and went during the last section. I was able to muster a trot those last 200 yards as I finished in 7:36!! (and one whole minute slower than my "expected" finish). I was thrilled with finishing, even with walking the last ~17 miles!
Thanks to all the support out there, good seeing Sully, Drew, Michelle, & Bill with great finishes - and congrats to the 2 others who have also finished all 4 Harbison 50k's: Viktor and Seth! See you next year - hopefully, with just a little more training.

First miles-near the back
At the back of this early "train"

After going off course early-Viktor passes me again.

by the Broad River...

Firebreak trail
Walking it in...just past halfway

Sulley running strong

Michelle always enjoying being out there

Sunday, January 6, 2013

3rd Harbison 50k Trail Race Report

This years race took place on the first Saturday in January again, on the 5th. Temps were in around 30° at the 7:30am start. I had come into this race with 10 weeks of mediocre training. Lack of motivation, ITB and knee issues, travel, and some family health issues all kept me from the desirable training for running a 50k with some sense of positivity. My left knee had gotten to the point one full week out that I couldn't go 4 miles without me feeling it. I decide then to run no more before race day (Should maybe have done that when it started back in early November). I had still averaged 24 miles/wk in the 9 weeks leading up to this event since the Spinx Marathon Oct 27th, but my long weekend runs only consisted of: 14, 11, 16, 9, 11, and a 13 miler over that time frame and 3 weekends with Zero miles. I had only had 1 of those all year before this stretch. But - I was at the starting line with no expectations except to finish (more hopeful, than an expectation).
The course was different for the 3rd year in a row, starting off on a gravel road for almost the first 2 miles before heading onto the trails. My co-worker Marty and I started off comfortably in the middle of the pack and everyone sorted themselves out well before the singletrack started. It took those first 2 miles to get the hands to stop hurting from the cold, but the temps ended up perfect for the duration. The Lost Creek section was very windy and runnable. My left knee started to wake up at mile 3 and I popped an Aleve for the 2nd time ever in a race. We came to the 5.8mi aid station in 57min and that knee never became more than a minor nuisance. Quick food grab and we kept on our way.
The rest of the way, heavenly aid stations were every 3.5-3.8 miles apart, so very easy to guess how much more to go between sections to refill on pringles, m&m's, oatmeal creme pies and more! Continued my habit of bringing a camera and took a few pictures along the way. Gently rolling hills were the norm for this section and we continued our same pace to AS2 at 9.4mi in 1:33. More fuel!
The next section had the infamous Spiderwoman II trail, the only part of the 2 loop course that I'd call tough. It's only a 10min section, so relatively minor in the scheme of things. Marty and I were still together at the mile 12.8 AS after 2:12.
The next section, taking us to Mile 16.6 and more than halfway, had some new sections, as we overlooked the Broad River (Bluff Trail) a little more on some tight trails before some wide service roads bringing us back near the start and the same 1st AS.
I did take a second Aleve thru here as a just-in-case measure. My left knee wasn't hindering me and wanted to make sure it wasn't going to.
2:52 for the first loop, and soon after Mile 17, Marty went ahead as my Right knee started to give me problems. Where did that come from? Was I favoring my other knee? Is it something about these trails that my knees don't like (see my 2011 post HERE ).

Anyway - that slowed me down for the rest of the race, but I was surprisingly able to run much of it. I had no typical issues: lower back was fine, hips were good, no muscle tiredness. Feet were good too for the most part.
The 2nd time thru those sections were ~7-10 mins slower, and Spiderwoman got my heart rate up this time around. I was running mostly by myself, but there were others around as I passed some (William) and got passed (Chad H, Lester, William!).
The course was perfectly marked with flags and "paint" dictating turns, but that didn't keep me from meandering past a clearly marked turn and heading down a hill that quickly looked foreign. 2 guys behind me also yelled to me as I stopped and wondered where I was. One other guy came into the last aid station at mile 24 from a different direction (likely bypassing the section with Spiderwoman).
The last section I was feeling motivated to finish it, and powered my way as best I could. I for once had a good feel for where I was and what was coming up, and I was trying to do the math in my head to break 6hrs, my goal last year and was originally my goal this year before my training-wheels fell off in Nov & Dec. The last aid station had said 4.4 miles, but I was pretty sure it was 3.6 - and that makes the math even more difficult. Regardless, I knew as I got closer that I would have it. I made the 2 last turns and hustled down the last trail to the road crossing, skipping over the logs (and right there my calf wanted to tighten up) and stopped at the finish in 5:54.
2nd fastest 50k and ~40 minutes faster than the previous Harbison races.
I will be back for #4 next January!
(Having issues adding photos, but have plenty on Facebook


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spinx Run Fest Marathon Race Report

October 27th, 2012 I ran the Spinx Run Fest Marathon. It's put on by the Greenville Track Club, of which I have been the volunteer webmaster (& Board of Directors member) for the last 10 years or so. Running this distance just 2 weeks after a 50k was a new experience for me. I had done ultras 3 weeks apart before, and those hadn't gone so well, but I couldn't pass up this hometown event.
My IT band issue that had crept up on me during the New River Trail 50k stayed with me these last 2 weeks. I took it easy the week leading up to this event - but I was still worried.
My buddy Todd was in town for the race and I met up with him in the Greenville Drive stadium where people were bustling about before the 7:30am start. Saw a few others I knew (like Merl & Team DNR member Dave who was volunteering).
Todd and Dave - Team DNR Goons

We made our way to the start line just outside the stadium and would make our way to the Swamp Rabbit Trail to Furman University, then back on and off the trail to Travelers Rest for the turnaround and 13.6. Swamp Rabbit back thru Furman, more Swamp Rabbit to Greenville before the last 1+ mile on the road, and finishing with a lap around the warning track going into home plate.

I hung with Todd at a fast pace - at least a minute faster than my plan, but it felt ok and I enjoy his company. Just like Charlotte, Myrtle Beach, etc. Was a bit downhill to start too. After an 8:02 mile, and then a bit further with Todd - I finally let him go as I got into my comfortable "pace" of 8:45 or so. No knee issue at all this early, and it would not appear at all during the race!
Had a few little hills here to remind us it wasn't all flat and I was running toward the Furman campus mostly by myself.

We went into the campus just after Mile 7 (in 59:41) and I was looking forward to this as it broke up the race some. I'd be running thru some parts of the campus I hadn't before in my 18 other races there before this one. Left the campus on the opposite side of the lake near Mile 10 and kept heading north. Took a 2nd Gu and started looking for the leaders before I split off the Swamp Rabbit towards the halfway turnaround. Sure enough, around Mile 12 - there they went! Soon after was the lead female, being led on the bike by DNR Good Kathrin!

Started running with a guy thru here doing his first marathon (from Kentucky?). Nice guy and doing well, but he was starting to feel it a bit already, and now we had a big hill to climb. I got ahead of him, took an S!cap and came up to the turnaround. A guy had a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and I grabbed one - it was very good and gave me some extra sugar. So - Mile 13.1 in ~1:54:25, so my 2nd fastest marathon half ever.
So I kept running back thru downtown Travelers Rest on the Swamp Rabbit for another loop thru Furman. About Mile 16 I began to feel it - the sensation that I was running out of steam. I pushed on for another mile and hit mile 17 at Furman and promptly started my walking breaks (after a quick pit stop). I was doing about 9:05's before this and the walk breaks took me down to 10:30's. I was still enjoying the Furman route and had picked up my pace a little bit more while getting back onto the Swamp Rabbit. I started passing and then got passed by the same couple repeatedly as we alternated walk breaks. She finally left me for good at the hill at mile 23.
Mile 20 in 3:00:10.
Around Mile 21, I saw a guy down. Sitting up at least, and being attended to by at least 4 people, one of which had a bicycle. I assumed he was being take care of, but stopped and asked if they needed anything. They asked if I had Gu. I said sure and gave them my last one, but also gave them my 2 remaining S!caps, which I'm sure would have helped more. They were a little concerned with my time but that was the least of my worries.
Turns out - I had my own issues that appeared within the next mile. My right calf started cramping. OUCH. It was constantly on the verge of seizing up and every now and then would cause me to tighten up and hope it would diminish.
After another mile (~Mile 23 and the big hill), my left calf decided join to cramping party. Double-ouch.
Miles 23 and 24 were 11 min miles and the last 2 were 12:10. Not good, but I was not too concerned, especially coming two weeks off my 50k PR.
Saw someone being put into an ambulance at Linky Stone Park - it was warm and people did go out too fast. I made it up the last uphill and went around the outside of the stadium. Saw my HS buddy for Germany who was in town and headed in to the back of the filed along the warning track for the last .2mi.
Heard my name called out and looked for my family. I was just struggling to keep moving and hoping that my calves would allow me that motion.
My little girl (almost 4) was in the arms of my friend and past-GTC President Kerri, When she tried to hand her to me, she decided she didn't want to. I got to her first though, and she hugged my next as I went thru the finish in 4:09 (1 minute faster than the marathon split at the New River 50k).

All I can say is glad it's over! Finishing 2 long events 2 weeks apart was something I was unsure of, but I made it!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New River Trail 50k Race Report

This event's 5th running on Saturday October 13th, 2012 took me up to Fries, VA, just over the border from NC off I-77. It had sounded like a great event, all along the New River, flat (and therefore, fast), plus - 4 others I know from Greenville were supposed to be going up as well. As race day got closer, all four had to bail out due to injuries, lack of training, or scheduling conflicts. Even with that - I was excited about being out there in nature for the morning and then some.

My family came up with me Friday afternoon and once settled into the hotel in Galax, we got some dinner downtown and headed to packet pickup.

Start/Finish (packet Pickup)

Heron on the New River (packet pickup)

Got to pick out my pottery for registering early, got my shirt, bib and put in for a few door prizes - all went smoothly. Spent a little time at the river just enjoying the views as the sun got lower and thinking about the race. I was looking forward to the course - north along the river to Aid at Fries Junction (5.3mi), a little out and back before crossing a bridge and then running beside Chestnut Creek. Another Aid station at 11.8mi (or 6.5 since AS1). Continuing on by the creek another 4.1 to Cliffview Turnaround (at the edge of Galax). A little past halfway at mile ~16, then returning: AS 4 same as AS2-Mile 20, AS5=AS1-Mile 25.8. No out and back there, just the turn towards the finish. We got our certified Marathon split soon afterwards and finished where we began at 8am.

and we're off!
Race morning was very casual - after a night tossing and turning (just something about hotels!), breakfast in the hotel, and we all got to the race at 7:15 or so. Little cool out at 41°, but ideal temps for running. Race ready shorts, GTC long sleeve, hat, two handhelds (Amphipod and Ironman), wool socks and Montrail Badrocks on my feet. Trail wasn't technical at all - but these are my trail shoes.

where did we go??
At the starting gun from Annette Bednosky (elite runner and race director!), the faster runners took off and the rest of us settled into our paces. We headed down the trail and into the misty morning. With such a flat course - it only took a mile or so for the field to spread out and I was soon running by myself.  I felt pretty good and kept a comfortable pace, trying to keep my body relaxed. The first miles went by pretty quickly even with stopping for a few pictures of the river.
early miles
sunrise over New River
I got to the 1st aid station in 46min and ran thru it as my 2 handheld water bottles were fine and I'd already taken a Gu. I was on the out-and-back and as I started seeing more people, I knew the turn-around was near. Sure enough - an orange cone and 2 volunteers marked me down and I was heading back. As there was alot of time to think out there, I wondered how they got that point to make it a 50k? They'd have to measure from the start to the 1st AS, then the far turn around to the 1st AS, then subtract those from 50k, and then go exactly half that distance. Then - did they have to measure it from start to finish to see if it was accurate?
Anyway - I was running and had a long way to go.
Bypassed the aid station again and crossed the river on a nice big bridge. I had warmed up and after putting my gloves away after a mile or two, now had my sleeves pulled up. We got into some well shaded sections as we ran by Chestnut Creek, so I put my sleeves back down. I noticed how wet my arms were from all the mist in the air. Haven't had that happen in a while. A tunnel on this section was unexpected, but pretty cool.
Thru here I was running just behind two others who looked to have a nice steady pace, and I stayed with them for a few miles. 
It was time to re-fill and re-fuel at the next aid station (1:51). A guy ran up and got a bottle as I switched one of them to gatorade. I grabbed food and stuffed my face (usual items: chips cookie, PB&J, pretzels...), grabbed another handful, and left. Running alone again.
2nd & 3rd place males
1st place female on way back

 I had plenty of time to calculate when I could expect the leaders to come by me the opposite way. I had expected by about mile 13 (which would be about 5 miles ahead of me). After 2:06, here comes the leader, followed 30 secs or so later by two more guys and not too far behind, the 1st place female.
Hit the turnaround at 15.8 miles in 2:29, grabbed some more snacks and headed back towards the finish. It's always a great feeling going thru the halfway point where you know each step is toward the finish line. I was still running fine and hit the next aid station in almost exactly the same split (38/39min for the 4.1miles). 3:08 overall after ~19.9miles.
I could feel my legs wanting to slow down soon after this aid station (refill & small snack). I was so far very happy with my time and knew I'd be around 5 hrs even if I slowed to 12min miles. I added some walk breaks, but I do walk quickly anyway, so it wasn't slowing me down too much. The next aid station (and the landmarks that told me it was getting closer, like the tunnel, bridge) seemed to take forever to come into sight. It was on the warm side now and I was wishing I'd worn a short sleeve shirt. There were a few more bikers/walkers on the trail, but the runners heading toward the turnaround we're all past.
Finally, the tunnel, bridge and the last aid station at Fries Junction (mile ~25.5). I skipped the orange gatorade again and as usual at this point in an ultra - I had no appetite for food. Stood there waiting for something to look appealing. Gave up, grabbed some chips and left to go get my marathon split.
It came up pretty fast - even with me mot moving so well. My IT band flared up which made running difficult. Wasn't concerned with the split, but I was very happy with the 4:10:36. With my previous 50k PR of 6:19 - something dreadful would have had to happen for me to Not PR. 
I ended up running with (occasionally as we repeatedly passed each other) a woman which helped push me along, but I could only "run" for a few minutes at a time. I walk fast though, so I was still doing ~11min miles or so.
Finally - I saw the road crossing (~14min from the start heading out) and I was on my own after that. Came upon another guy obviously having chafing issues. I felt bad for him, but couldn't do a thing for him. I was still alternating running and walking, until I saw the clearing ahead for the finish. I walked to the little bridge and ran in from there. My wife and daughter were at the finish waiting for me as I crossed the line in 5:07:47, a 1 hour and 12 minute PR!!
Into the finish!

Felt pretty good afterwards - no more knee issues (until I ran again 5 days later). Was Very sore the following 2 days, but the 1.5mi walk on a different section of the New River Trail was nice the next morning.
I really enjoyed the course. Volunteers were amazing, aid stations were well spaced. It's difficult using the same muscles constamtly for 5+ hours. There was not the slightest hint of a grade anywhere on the course - FLAT as possible. If that is the way to get a PR - this course is for you! Not sure I feel the need to do that again though. (That's also my typical post-ultra comment!)