I did the real VDM – Vicky’s Death/*Delightful March, a run by the local Virginia Happy Trail People. What I mean by real is that I ran one like it back in October, almost two months ago (here), except this time I did the full loop instead of skipping Hawksbill Mnt. I know about Virginia Trail runners since I started running but somehow they never fit into my plan because I am mostly a road runner. They are really the old school trail runners – most of their events are free and self supported and you run and responsible for yourself out there. They are hardcore runners.
I am used to the paid 5K and 10K where people prepare everything for you and run and get a medal and pictures and everyone go home feeling good. There is none of this stuff with trail running. It is the adult version running. Today 25 miles is like road running 5K. There is no pat on the back of good job – because we are expect to be able to run miles, plus elevation, and not get lost. Totally hardcore running. I am happy to finally say I am there at that rank now. 25 miles on the mountain is easy for me. It was like stretching my legs.
Trail running was not for me until recently after doing ultras and most ultras are out in the woods. So I have been trying to connect to the trail community. This year has been quite good. I connected to people in PA/WV, that has been amazing. The stuff they did are just crazy. Of course PA hosts the Eastern States – which is like the Western States – one of the “majors” for trail running competitions. We don’t have any famed races here in VA. Old Dominion used to famous but now people get old and it does not have the same draw as PA. If I could join a running club I would join the PA one (Allegheny Trail Running).
Recently I connected also with the Montgomery County RR after doing their Stone Mill trail race. VA Trail racing club people are still pretty weird, though we are all together – the Virginia people helped out with the Maryland people – everyone knows everyone. My prejudice against the VA trail people is still pretty high. People in the DC area are weird and you just get use to it when you have live here long enough to know because we are super rich and we (many) have access to high level in the government and we can’t talk too much about our jobs. So people here are just too snobbish and standoffish. This shows on the trail too. That is why I could get along so well with trail runners outside of DC but not people here. That is fine though. I run my own race. (PA people can attest to what I say).
There were like 30-40 people showed up today on our run today. This is a great turn out, since it was an unfunded – free run for 25 miles with 7000 ft of climbing. Yes normal people would not come out to run this. It is just so demanding. Time wise etc. People rather run a real marathon than doing this kind of runs. So this is only for people who really like trail running. There is no prize either. We all started at 7:30 and everyone run their own pace and find their own way.
I was ‘stroke’ about this run for weeks. They traditionally host it the day after Thanksgiving (on Black Friday). This year, they moved it to Saturday. This just fits so well. I prepared for it like a real race. I went to bed by 9 ish. I had everything ready. Clothes, food, set alarm. I woke up bright and early. I was out the house by 5:55 and Got to the trail by 7:15.
We had warm weather – all relative. 42-45 was warm for me. I ran in T shirt and shorts where normally this would be too cold for me. It is all relative.
This time I am determined to do the whole loop. Last time I skipped out a few miles – like around 5 by skipping Hawksbill.
This time, the group I was with was slower. Much slower. We walked like 80% of the time. They were really slow. It might be that I have gotten much faster and stronger. I just did a 50 miler two weeks ago, so my body is still relatively fit. So this run was super easy.
I was with my group the whole time. It was zero stress. I was only one who brought food with me. I ran with a footlong sandwich in my hand. It was too eye catching in our group. A weirdo running with a long bread/Hoggie the whole day :). People were saying when am I going to eat it. The sandwich really helped. I had enough calories and was happy. None of them brought food because they expected food at the halfway point at the visitor center. Unfortunately they did not have food when we got there. That was a bit a bummer for them.
I did quite well. Last time while climbing up on White Oak Canyon I almost fainted. This time none what so ever. The climb did not affect me. Also I did not roll my ankle. So everything was good.
My body finally is strong enough to do something like this and not get super tired. I have been doing a lot of hiking these past four years. I have been running marathons – probably more than 10 now. But in the past, I am half dead after finishing a big run. But now even doing a 50 miler does not affect me. I see a qualitative change. I am just happy about this. It means I can go on to the next phase of running a 100 miler.
What I want to say is it open a big area. Now I can do trail running. It is like freedom. Things that were impossible now is possible. Things that were hard are no longer.