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).