Sunday, September 30, 2012

2012 Buncombe 55k Trail Race Report

Sunday September 16th was the Buncombe 55k Trail Run, part of the series. Ultrarunner extraordinaire Terri Hayes puts these on and they are low key, but well organized events. I highly recommend any race Terri puts on!
Race started around 7:30am after the usual instructions of the course and all it's different trails, turns, and what to look out for. I had made extra-sure I knew where I was going coming into this event, and a race map (Thanks Epic!) was my safety net.
The temps started out about 65° and thankfully never got hot. The course was a 4.5mi out, a 25 mile loop, then the same 4.5 mile loop back (Mileages are approximate - I heard it may have been closer to 36 miles...). Started out at a very comfortable pace thru some single track with some deep ruts. Probably 2-3 miles in, twisted an ankle a bit, but it never felt too bad. It was pretty amazing how fast the field separated. Seemed like I was only running near 2-3 people after only 10-15 minutes. People also must have started in the right spot as there was not much passing going on. A few here and there as the day went on.
From the beeps of the Garmin behind me, I was doing 10min miles those first few miles, and I was happy with that. After running with 1 or 2 different people for a mile or so each, I came upon Chad H. I'd run near him in other races, before fading as he stayed consistent for much further than I had been able. He was faster on the downhills, and I was faster on our uphill walks and we came to the first manned aid station together calling out our numbers: 436, 437. Must be alphabetical! Got my water bottle filled by one of the many awesome volunteers, grabbed some food (the usual ultra-fare!!) and got out of there. Must keep was going to be a long day and no sense in hanging around.
Chad and I ended up spending most of the day together. He went ahead for a few miles, but with more uphills in that section, we ended up back together. The trail had some interesting sections, with some good runnable singletrack, some obscured trails completely overgrown - so overgrown that both of my shoes came untied after each starting out double-tied. I could feel where each of them had been grabbed in thick growth that it was hard to see your feet in it. There were some trails thru clearings, and just over a mile of road. Rocks, pinecones, quite a few trees down too. The horses had really chewed up some sections though, and made for very slow trudging.
Hit mile 17 aid station at 2:59 with the same routine. Refill and refuel and keep going.
Chad and I kept the conversation going the whole way and made the time go by. We'd run when we could and power hiked when we had to.
Mile ~20.5 aid station in 3:44.
Mile ~28.25 aid station in 5:33 after the stretch on the road. (A slight detour from the normal trail parallel to the road). Jason S. was one of the volunteers there and they had a huge spread of food.
My legs felt fine, but my hips and abdomen started to get pretty sore thru 25 miles, so after that - we were even walking some of the flats. My body was starting to compensate for my other issues and that caused more things to become sore. It was interesting though, heading back into the last section, I started to feel better and nothing at all hurt, no soreness, nothing - and I was running the downhills much faster and the flats more frequently.
Of course it didn't last, but it sure felt good! A few people passed us those last 10 miles - looking very strong too, but we were content with our pace and our progress. I knew my little girl would be waiting for me at the end - she'd been wanting to cross that finish line with me. It seemed to take forever to get thru those last miles though. Doing the time from the last aid station, and the mileage that I thought the course was - we were going much slower than expected. (I heard the course may have been up to 2 miles long?). anyway - we finally started to see the trail head and I called out to my little girl as we broke thru the clearing. We still had to go up the road a bit to Terri's campsite, and my girl got to go with me! That's the biggest smile I'd had all day!

Finished time of 7:18. 18th out of 50 finishers. PR (1st 55k!)

Terri's last second instructions at the trailhead.

Trail conditions in 1st mile

~4 miles in, some clearing

Gravel road ~8.5 miles in (Chad)

Aid Station #1 (9mi; 1:33)

Small bit of overgrowth around mile 10

Lush - with easily followed trail (mile ~15)

Nice runnable trail! 4:30 for ~23.5miles

Chad and I after 28+ miles & 5:33

What could make me smile this big after 34+ miles?

Finishing with my 3 year old!

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