Friday, July 25, 2014

Race # 36 - Promise Land 50k++

Promise Land 50k++
Race #3 of the 2014 Beast Series
5:30 AM
Bedford, VA
Time: 6:36:59
Place: 103 out of 334 finishers

Disclaimer:  Writing this three months after the race, I've forgotten a lot of it.  

The third race of the 2014 Beast Series was the Promise Land 50k.  I had heard great things about this race and was looking forward to completing the next step in this year's Beast Series.  With a start time of 5:30am, it was best to head up the day before and camp out which adds to the awesome race experience.  Jon and I headed up that afternoon and got settled in with our tents before going to chow down on some pizza and a ton of junk food desserts.  It was ridiculous how many sweets we had at this place.  The pre-race briefing was the standard Dr. Horton heckling quite a few and lecturing all of us not to be stupid the next day and miss certain turns etc.  As darkness fell though, it was time to turn in so we were ready for the next day's race.

I slept about as well as I could in a tent in a field with a few hundred other people and of course awoke before my alarm was even set to go off.  Still a bit chilly outside, I stayed in the tent as long as possible before lining up with everyone else.  Soon though we had the national anthem and were sent on our way as it just started getting light.  I decided to go without headlamp since the first few miles were on a gravel road.  I figured there would be enough light from everyone else's headlamp around me.  After reaching the end of the gravel road part, we headed up our first trail.  The first five miles were all uphill.  Once we reached the top of the first mountain we began descending which was nice for a change.  

We crossed over the Blue Ridge Parkway and hit some nice trails that were semi-technical.  I enjoyed that part.  After a little down, it was time to head back up again before reaching the highest point of the course.  The next eight miles were mostly downhill and I ran a decent pace on this section.  Then came a long section through the woods that seemed like grassy roads.  I ran this with a friend and we kept leap frogging each other.  I would walk the ups and she would run the ups and pass me.  I would pass her on the downs.  

Soon enough I hit the trail that lead to the finish.  I felt great so decided to run.  I passed several people and started looking at my watch.  I didn't know exactly how long the race was but I knew I would be flirting with 6 hours 30 minutes to finish.  So I ran as fast as I felt comfortable without blowing things up to where I would be hurting the next day.  After a couple of miles though I knew I wasn't going to beat 6:30 and the gravel road was starting to hurt so I took it easy and just made sure no one passed me on the way in.  I finished in 6:36:59 and enjoyed a wonderful post-race meal watching the other runners come in on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

Some pics from the run: