Saturday, February 16, 2008

Holiday Lake 50K++

After weeks of thinking and re-thinking his running plans, and a night of absolutely no sleep, this handsome guy was ready to get on with the run! The Holiday Lake 50K+ is mostly run on trails and dirt roads, which of course is very different from any other race he's ever run.

Morgan and I stayed in a hotel in nearby Appomattox hoping for a better night's sleep than the runners would get. It wasn't to be. We were so nervous that we might oversleep and miss the start of the race that we were both awake just about every hour!

We got to the camp around 5:50 and found David almost right away. He looked great, though he was a bit nervous. He filled his water bottle with Gatorade and then thought better of that and poured it all back into the original bottle!

At 6:30 the runners took off up the road to the first trail. There were so many runners trying to run onto the singletrack trail that there was a huge back up which had to have added several minutes to each runner's time. The runners must each finish the first half in 3.5 hours and get to the 8th aid station by 5.5 hours.

One of the nice things about this race is that the runners' crews can actually get to all of the aid stations. For this race that meant we would see David every 2.7 to 3.5 miles.

Aid station #1 came at 3.5 miles. David didn't stop except to hand over his headlamp. He was afraid he had lost too much time on the trail. Once he passed, Morgan and I climbed into the van and drove to the next aid station to wait.

Aid station #2 was at the intersection of two dirt roads. The station workers had built a small fire for warmth and, as at all of the stations, had an assortment of drinks and snacks available. There was water, Gatorade, Clifshot drink, something called Conquest, Coke and Mountain Dew. Snacks included gummy bears, pretzels, chips, fruit and pb&js. They even had a supply of pain killers, stomach upset aids and toilet paper!

Aid station #3 came at around 9 miles into the run.

Aid station #4 came at around 12.1 miles. Morgan took notes of David's comments as he ran by us. At this aid station he exclaimed, "This is awesome!"

I think he's having a good time!

David made it to the halfway point in plenty of time to make the cutoff! He looked pretty good. I wondered how it felt mentally to know that he'd just run 17 miles and had to turn around and do it all again backwards.

As crew, we were supposed to be prepared to help him with anything he'd need during the run. The aid stations really had everything to fill a belly and give energy, so he really didn't require much of us during the race. The only thing he wanted was clean, dry socks at the half. I'd left them in the van, which I had parked almost a quarter mile up the hill.

So when he yelled "I need socks!!" as he crossed over into the aid station, I took off running for the van. It was a pitiful feeling not to be able to run all the way to the van without stopping. I felt so badly that I couldn't get back down there faster. I got to the van, and then I drove back down the hill, parked illegally and met Morgan who then ran the socks to David. The poor guy was stressing after that because the whole stop took 9 minutes, which was more time than he wanted to spend lollygagging about!

Aid station #6 (#4 on the first loop) came just after mile 19. David was finally hot enough to take off his outer layer, but still cold enough to keep his gloves on. At this station the station chief was cooking hamburgers for the runners. In the time that we were there waiting we only saw 2 runners actually eat parts of a burger!

At around 22 miles in to the race, aid station # 7 (#3 on first loop) provided a nice selection on snacks.

Here he is coming into station #8 - looking good!

Morgan had to make sure he was ok and had everything he needed to get to the next station. She's good crew!

Here's David going into the trail after the last aid station. At this point he had less than 4 miles to run before crossing the finish line.

He didn't seem to accept that wasn't very far!

When we saw David at the top of the hill, Morgan decided to run him in. I had told her that I would take pictures of him running down the hill until he got to a certain tree and then I would run to the finish line to get a few at the end. So when she saw me still standing there taking pictures, she yelled at me to run to the finish!

He looks kind of scary coming across the finish line, but I guess I would too!

What an accomplishment!

Now that this one's over he's seriously considering a longer run!! Too cool!


Blogger Trish said...

Hey, that is really great! Congratulations!

6:39 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

So, so cool, Jennifer! Tell David he rocks too! See ya'll at the 10 Miler!

9:59 PM  

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