Day534 overflowed

What an interesting week! Where should I start? I wish I had broken this into four or five entries. There were just so much.

The proposal: TWOT

The number one thing I was asked if I want to run in October the Wild Oak Trail. I wrote about this in the last two posts. I went out to Wild Oak couple weeks ago to do a test run. At that time, I arrived late in the day and I rolled my ankle at the first mile and the run was pretty much over.

This run and a race was what I wanted to do last year ago, but I did not get in. I have been eyeing it all the time. It is hard.

As mentioned, I got to know the race director in the last training run for the MMT (Massanutten). This weekend, the race director asked me multiple times, if I want to run it this October, he will save me a spot.

If anyone else, they would immediately reply to the guy, Yes save me a spot! I wanna run it.

To me it is like winning a million dollar prize too. Yet now I am asking myself can I do it? So this weekend I went out there on my own and tried to run it. I finished 25 miles in 12 hours. You know, people who run this normally do it around 8-10 hours. And they have to keep that pace for four loops (for 100 miles). Note, it is not actually 25 miles but somewhere between 26-27 miles, so four loops, would be over 100 miles.

Enough said. I will sleep on it.

II. TWOT. The run – I arrived Saturday night while TWOT 100 race was going on. TWOT is the Wild Oak Trail Race. I had thought the race would be over by then, thinking normally a 100 mile race usually over by the second day in the afternoon. A normally 100 mile race, people finish around 24 hours.

The RD saw me, and he recognized me from his training run the week before, and asked if I want to run that night. People showing up at the Wild Oak are all hardcore, they could run any time. He was expecting me to say sure, it was only 8 pm, let run on the mountain and see you next morning, a loop, might take 10-12 hours.

I was not that bold. I did however started the next day at 9 am. I did not finish until 9 pm. Everyone already left by Sunday. I knew. I did not expect anyone to be there since I wanted to do it on my own. There was a special feeling when I felt it was only me on the mountain.

It was an awesome adventure. The scenery was popping. At night, stars came out. Wild animals howled. There were sounds I never heard before, probably coyotes mating or bobcats. What surprised me was I thought I could have done it in 10 hours, but pretty early on, I realized it was not going to be fast. It took me 3 hours to go the first 7 miles. The trail was about 4 times that, so ended up with 12 hours. I did get lost a bit, but also I was glad to have enough sense to realized I was lost and was able to find my way back.

New sign – not where I got lost. I got lost on a section I was too sure was the right way, but wasn’t
Camp site
Just so beautiful
frozen pond. In the summer, it is a bog and very yucky

III. The Race: Holiday Lake 50K – As I said, there was so much going on. I had a 50K and I went down to Appomattox, VA, last month to run around the lake. This weekend was the real thing. Friday night after work, I drove directly there. I arrived late and missed the dinner and opening ceremony and the Race Director’s briefing. All I left to do was go to bed. I slept in my truck. It was not too bad. It was toasty, and I had my windows down to regulate the temperature (25F, cold). I had my 32 F sleeping bag, so it was good enough.

The next day, the race started at 6:30. We had 200+ runners. The 25K runners ran counter clockwise around the lake and we 50k people ran clockwise on the first loop, and counterclockwise the 2nd loop. What happened was we would cross path halfway and were able to see everyone.

I met the Race Director Kevin and his wife Ann from Iron Mountain, a race that means a lot to me. They both were in this race. I was one of the few they knew by name. I will do IMTR again this year, and hopefully will finish it. RD Kevin was so strong when I saw him on the trail. He ran the MMT 5 times, a guy I totally respect. Also Kristen and Chris, who I ran with on the training run, were there. I ran an hour faster than my training run on my first loop, but Kristen and Chris were faster still. They blew me out of the water. Note, in the past, I was faster than them but they improved. I finished in 7:07 and I am happy with my time, though I was the last few who came in. Everyone was so fast!

A word about this race. They provided dinner the night before, breakfast the morning of and lunch after we finished. They were all buffet and good food. Also during the race, the Aid Stations’ food was so good. Next time if I do this race again, make sure to eat my fill!

IV. For the Love of it 5K – You might ask one more race? This was run on Feb 14 weekend. Yes I ran it. I ran Run your Heart Out 10K and this For the Love of it 5K, almost every year. If you do one and you have to do the other. I arrived pretty much at the right time, 30 minutes before the race. It was a cold morning. We had a snow shower right about when the race was to start. I stayed in my car, thinking what clothes to wear. Should I put on a rain jacket? Should I wear a fleece? Neither. I put on a shirt I just got from the race swag, and lined up. There were many people. Off I went. I don’t remember my time now, but I was able to do it under 30 mins (I think I got 28). I was racing with a 12 year old boy, I won by a hair. It is bib time, so he might still bested me. I know sooner or later, he and others will be faster than me.

This reminded me I met Jeff at the Holiday Lake race. This is a different Jeff than one I met the previous weekend at the MMT training. He is maybe 60 year old and he passed me when we had about 6 miles left. I tried to keep him in sight but soon he was out of sight. My goal was to finish near 7 hours. When I came in I saw Jeff already had a plate of food in his hand. So I asked him, if he finished under 7. He said, he just missed it by a minute. We sat down and talked about races. He mentioned he did Massanutten twice, twenty years ago. Must be an amazing runner when he was my age. I asked if he still wants to do MMT, but he said those days are over for him. He had run many 100 miles races.

Note to self. I met #72 too. She and her friend will be at BRR (Bull Run Run 50). She volunteered last year. I was too. This year she is running it. And she was at the MMT volunteering, Camp Rossevelt. She was saying she ran Holiday Lake last year while 5 month pregnant and was the last to come in. This year, she was much faster, for sure. She will be at the MMT too, running it this time. We are likely be on course buddy since her pace and mine are about the same.

Conclusion: There’s none. I had such a full weekend. I got back on Monday, Presidents’ Day. I slept for 12 hours. I was sick afterward. But my heart was overflowed with joy of all the races and runs I did and so many new friends I made. Looking ahead, I will be traveling this coming weekend. I will write about it once done. I’m excited. I like to keep it kind of a secret, though my race schedule is not a secret.

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