Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fall Races

My favorite time to run is in the fall - hands down and this past fall was no exception.  My fall races started with UROC 100k.  This was a nice race, which I am sure will grow in popularity and continue to draw a competitive field.  Lots of climbing with about 1/2 road miles / 1/2 trail miles.  One of the highlights was the location of the race headquarters and accommodations at the Wintergreen Ski Resort.

Next up was the West Virginia Trilogy Stage Race which consisted of a 50k (Friday), 50 mile (Saturday), and 1/2 marathon (Sunday) - all trail miles.  This was truly a wonderful event.  Adam Casseday and Dan Lehmann are the race directors and they do such an incredible job.  Headquarters are located right below the highest peak in West Virginia - Spruce Knob at The Mountain Institute.  From the time we arrived until we left, my family and I had a great time.  The trails were challenging and scenic, volunteers were great, and the meals were wonderful (prepared by the people of the Mountain Institute).  I ran with David Frazier (overall champion) for a good bunch of the weekend.  David is a very talented runner and one hell of a nice guy.  It was great to run with him and share running stories.  We also did a good job making sure both of us didn't slack off!  On Friday night the Mountain Institute prepared Thai Food!  Attention all TRAIL RUNNERS:  It does not get much better than this - camping on top of a mountain (with excellent weather), eating Thai food, on the deck outside a giant wooden yurt, and enjoying beverages from West Virginia's best, Mountain State Brewing Company  I highly recommend this race for someone who wants to try a multi-day effort or just to run one of the individual races.  This race weekend is also very family friendly as you can probably tell from the pictures below.
Zia and Eshan playing cards in the 2nd floor of the main yurt
Hanging with Zia, Eshan, David, Adam (RD)
Enjoying Thai food outside the main yurt
Me and Overall Champion, David Frazier

Next was MMTR 50 miler.  This was my 6th consecutive MMTR.  Before the race, I studied Scott Jaime's (last year's winner) race report.  He made the comment that running most of the course was key to getting a good time.  This seemed like a good goal to shoot for, especially because I typically can not bomb down the descents to make up time on hiking climbs.  Leading up to the race, I practiced consistent, even-paced efforts on my long runs.  The plan paid off and I ran a 13 minute PR to finish in 7:26:17.

The last race of my season was Hellgate 100k.  This race is a favorite of mine.  Weather conditions were good, but the course was very wet.  I applied the same strategy that I used in MMTR and tried to run conservatively as a long as possible and minimize the amount of hiking.  I also focused on rest and good eating habits in between MMTR and Hellgate.  Again, the plan paid off and I ran a 33 minute PR to take the overall win in 11:15:55 (2nd fastest time on course).