Capon Valley 2007
Monday, May 14 2007 @ 03:47 PM PDT
Contributed by: joey
By Joey Anderson
When they said the race would start at 8am sharp, they weren't kidding. We stood quietly, scattered around the gravel driveway of the Ruritan Center while the National Anthem was played from a CD player. The sun was trying to break through the early morning clouds directly over the flagpole, when just as the music stopped I heard someone say "go". I hadn't even seen the starting line yet but slowly started off following the flow of runners. I'm sure it was this slow start that kept me from getting a course PR. Well, maybe there were a few other factors involved.
I was hoping to run a while with Laura. She hadn't run much since the Umstead 100 so I figured I could keep up with her if she took it easy. Well, I gave up on that as she quickly weaved her way through the crowd and took off. As we hit the highway bridge crossing the Cacapon River I was in a group including VHTRC friends Quattro and Bob among others. Since I was intent on running my own pace I was soon alone and enjoying the beautiful scenery. I was feeling strong but noticed quickly that the humidity was high and with the warm morning I was soon dripping wet. The miles passed quickly and I found myself approaching the 1st aid station at former race director Lynn Goleman's horse barn. I snapped a couple of pictures of the gorgeous view and was ready to go. I had caught up to Laura so we headed onto the trail behind the Goleman farm together.
I was still feeling good and Laura and I were having a great time running and talking about a variety of subjects. We stopped long enough at the water- only stop by the river to refill our bottles and headed up the steep climb straight up the bluffs. Like many of the hills on this course it wasn't very long but it is very steep and makes for slow going for normal(oxymoron) ultrarunners. Laura got a great picture of this climb. Not long after we reached the top we came to the powerline and it's amazing view. The photos can't really show how steep some of the smaller climbs are before the trail disappears back into the woods. We were deep in conversation and missed a turn and found ourselves scrambling up a really steep hill using our hands to help ourselves back onto the real trail.
Soon we came to one of the more runnable sections and that's when it first became apparent that I would not be having one of my better races. We were running on a flat and slightly downhill section at a good pace but I noticed my heartrate seemed to too high for the pace and I was breathing too hard. The humidity probably had a lot to do with it but I have also been running and racing a lot this year. We finally reached aid station #2. I dropped off my hat because I was just too hot with it on and the sun wasn't a factor and after a refill and some M&M's we headed out again.
I was moving along OK but was trying to take it easy and hope that I would begin to feel better and still have a good finish. Before long Laura pulled ahead on a steep downhill and that would be the last I would see of her until the finish. By the time I left aid station #3 I had resigned myself to just trying to finish and do it as comfortably as possible. Carter Weicking began running with me for a while but I told her to go ahead and not wait for me. She was having an up and down kind day. This next section has the longest climb up to the high point of the course so I just settled in for a long slow walk and hope I felt better by the time I got to the top. Once I reached the ridge I tried running some more but I just didn't have any energy and had to walk even the slight inclines. At this point I was moving about as well as i normally do in the last 25 miles of a 100 miler.
Eventually the trail starts gradually back down the mountain and as I came in to aid station #4 I was feeling better. I was just about to start when I heard someone call out my name. I looked back and it was Carter. I had not even seen her as she was sitting down at the aid station . I was eating as I started up the trail so I told her I'd walk until she caught up to me. This is my favorite part of the course. For the next several miles it is on mostly single-track and mostly a gradual downhill with only a few little climbs. Carter soon caught me and we began running. I was feeling much better and we were running well and making good time and enjoying the day. After a few miles I suddenly noticed I wasn't seeing any ribbons marking the course or any blue blazes on the trees that mark this Blue Trail. There was another runner in front of us so we continued on but I was looking for markers and in another minute I stopped and told her we had to have missed a turn. She wanted to keep going but I turned around. After nearly half-mile I found the place we missed so I gave out a couple of yells for Carter and started in the right direction. About that time Gaynor Bourgeios caught me so we ran together for the next mile or so.The trail finally reached the bottom of the hill and began crossing a creek. Then Gaynor moved on and Carter caught back up to me. She thanked me for getting her back on the right trail as we began running together again. After nearly a dozen crossing of the creek,the trail turned away from the creek with another very steep climb. We reached the top and it was obvious she was feeling better so I told her to go ahead and not worry about me. I was beginning to struggle again and didn't want to hold anyone back.
A steep downhill and then a flat 1/4 mile to aid station #5 and the race was over for me. Now it would just be a slow workout as I tried to get to the finish. Jim O'neill caught up to me as we came in and out of the aid station but he soon passed me by on the next climb. The last 6 miles were quite uneventful as I just tried to enjoy myself as much as possible and enjoy the beautiful day. There would be better days to come. Right now my focus is on being in my best shape possible in June so I just took it easy . I stopped on the way back to get a picture of the river and Bob Phillips caught up to me about the same spot I had left him behind after the start. I was still smiling when I reached the finish so I considered it a good run even though my time was 45 minutes slower than last year.
Looking back I had started the race already slightly dehydrated and it just got worse as the day went on. That along with the hard racing I've been doing lately and I was due a sub-par performance. Oh well, rest up and on to the next one.
Here is a link to my photos. And here is Laura's photo album