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Ridge to Bridge Marathon - RunMarathon

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Morganton, North Carolina
United States
Brown Mountain Running club
30F / -1C
Total Time = 3h 52m 41s
Overall Rank = 121/265
Age Group = F45-49
Age Group Rank = 5/12
Pre-race routine:

This is a point to point course so had to drive to the finish area to catch a bus which took us to the starting point. Got up at 4:30, had some oatmeal and coffee, chatted with some other runners in the hotel lobby for a few minutes and left to catch the bus. Had a nice conversation during the bus ride with the guy sitting next to me. I was just planning on a training run today so I was quite relaxed and ready to have fun. He was pretty tensed up and had that pre-race stress thing that happens when you set yourself a time goal. I told him I was just looking forward to enjoying a 'jog in the park'. That became my nick name and everytime me seen me throughout the day he'd say something like 'The jog in the park is rocking it'. Kind of funny.
Event warmup:

Stayed on the bus until pretty close to race start and then when I did get off the bus I discovered that we could get inside the post office that was warm. It actually wasn't as cold as I was expecting it to be which rather presented a dilema. What to wear. I went with 3/4 length CWX tights, long sleeve (rather heavy) Try Sports cycling jacket with one sleeveless shirt underneath. Went without the hat and took socks for the hands.
  • 3h 52m 41s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 53s  min/mile

Target race is the JFK 50 Miler which is really a stepping stone to the Umstead 100 miler. In October I scheduled 3 marathons, Triple Lakes trail, Medoc trail (which I turned into a 35 mile run), then on my weekend off I did a 20 mile night run, and finally this race. For the 35 miler I kept the pace real easy and felt awesome the entire distance. Today I wanted a bit faster pace and knowing the course was dirt but not technical trail and downhill I figured that wouldn't be a problem. Definately underestimated just how severe that 9 miles of down hill is. But I was feeling good and I figured that short of walking it, my quads would be just as sore tomorrow if I tried to slow the pace down as they would be if I just ran what felt comfortable.

The early road section has an out and back thrown in around mile 3-4. I always like these so I can see the lead runners and get a feel for where I am in the pack. It's also neat to look for the people you've chatted with throughout the morning prior to the start and see how they are all doing.
There was a spectator on this section that had two hound dogs. One of them was just having a ball howling at the runners in that true hound dog howl. I would see him again later in the course and also within the last quarter mile. Those dogs just cracked me up.

The first half of mile 10 had a bit of very welcome uphill. But starting with the second half of mile 10 either the downhill got steeper or I was begin to fatigue enough that it just felt steeper. 9 miles of downhill is a LOT of downhill. I wasn't laboring at all aerobically and I really didn't feel it in my quads. It was more my hips and the always present hamstrings.

The spot just above the ankle on my left foot started bothering me at about mile 2. Dang pavement. I HATE the stuff. I hoped it was more of a temporary cramp type of thing and would go away once I got off the pavement. Nope. It continued to bother me all day and as I write this several hours later it is still considerably painful to flex my left foot.

At mile 12 I realized that I'd be sub 2 hours at the half. Thought it would be really cool to go sub 4 if I could maintain pace but I'd be very happy with a 4:05 which is my BQ time. However, that was ONLY if I continued to feel comfortable. Remember, today is a training run and keep your mind on the real goal.

Was happy to hit the half and by that time seriuosly looking forward to mile 15 and the end of the steep downhill. Finally got to the bottom of the mountain and we had another short out and back. Again it was nice to see how people were positioned. The lead runners were already well through by time I got there so I didn't get to see them. This out and back was another of the short sections that was pavement. With my legs trying to adjust to flatter ground and the pavement, I started to struggle a bit and started wondering if I would be one of the walking dead whose legs just got totally trashed coming down the mountain. Told myself to just stay with it and let my body adjust. Used the mantra "I have a strong mind and body" here and it did help get me through this.

I knew the rest of the course was going to be a series of rollers, gradual downhill, roll, downhill, roll, downhill. None of the rolls were steep or long and the severe downhill was behind me. I just tried hard to keep my mind in the game and concentrated on my cadence if I felt like my pace was starting to fall off. I knew that I could fall all the way down to a 10:00 pace and still break 4 hours. Then it got to where I could fall to an 11:00 pace and still break 4, but I knew that if I let it fall much below 9:00 that I was giving up mentally. Physically I was still fine.

I passed a lot of people in the last 8+ miles. In a way it feels good to be passing people and know that you are still running fairly strong. But it always makes me a bit sad when I see the broken/disappointed looks on some of their faces as they realize that their day just isn't going to end as they had hoped.
What would you do differently?:

I'll tell you tomorrow, or maybe the next day, depending on how sore I end up. I am a bit fearfull that this may not have been the best choice of courses to run as the last long run before JFK. I won't beat myself up for executing it wrong (running faster than I had planned) because I don't think a slower pace would have made a big difference in amount of soreness generated by this course.
Post race
Warm down:

The post-race food was excellent. Barbeque, slaw, chips, pretzels, apples, oranges, banannas, pb&j, pizza, apple and peach cobbler, pumpkin bread, pecan bars, water and a wide variety of soda. And they had tons of food. Not a situation where the slow runners were going to walk away hungry. I hung around to the very end and I bet they had 20-30 pizza's still untouched. Yeah, I ate well.

Walked down to the creek behind the lodge and got in for a few minutes. There were quite a few people down there. This water was COLD!!!!. I could only go in just above my knees and could only stay for a few minutes. It hurt worse than the marathon. Seriously. I'm a wuss when it comes to cold but some of the people were in up to their hips, one guy was actually sitting in it. It was COLD. Did I say how COLD it was. OUCH. Wish I could have let my hamstrings/quads soak in it but that is beyond my abilities.

I did get one of the free massages. I never expect a great massage after a race and am pleasantly surprised when I get a good one. This one probably wasn't worth waiting around for, except for the fact that I spent some very enjoyable time in the lodge, by the fireplace, chatting with some other runners while waiting. The funny part of the massage was that if there ever was a course that would destroy your quads, this is it. She only worked on my calves and hamstrings.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This was a traing run and I ran it 20-25 minutes faster than I had planned. This is a course that I would like to take a true shot at someday. Especially now, knowing the challenges that it presents.

Event comments:

This is an awesome race. I would definately recommend it but make sure you know what you are getting into. Race organization, support and volunteers were awesome.

Last updated: 2010-10-02 12:00 AM
03:52:41 | 26.2 miles | 08m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 5/12
Overall: 121/265
Performance: Good
Mile splits per Garmin: 8:43, 9:03, 8:46, 8:44, 8:50, 9:09(gu), 8:24, 8:24, 8:28, 9:35(potty stop), 8:49, 8:32, 8:46(gu), 8:28, 8:20, 8:45, 8:55, 8:40, 8:57(gu), 8:38, 8:48, 8:58, 8:58, 8:50, 8:50, 8:56
Course: Course is rolling pavement for about the first 5-6 miles, then there is 9 miles of downhill. This is a true 9 miles of 3-6% decline that will eat up your legs. Then it rolls for a few miles and finishes with 3-4 miles of a more gentle downhill with a few rolls thrown in. Other than the first section and a couple of other short pieces it is dirt gravel road through forest, switchbacks with great views of the valley, along a creek, just beautiful!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-10-31 5:31 PM

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Ft. Myers, Florida
Subject: Ridge to Bridge Marathon
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