Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pisgah Mtn 23K Trail Run and 9 seconds to spare

Finally, after a year of waiting, it was the day to run in the Pisgah Mtn 23K race.  I had worked registration and finish line last year when a friend (Sontag) told me about this race and that he was running the 50K.  I had to see what it was all about and by the end of the day knew I had to be a part of it as a runner this year - and set up a website for them!  (Plus I met a very cute runner-man that day- I knew I had to get to know him somehow...)

This week was ho-hum, but brewing with anticipation.  I had run the course 3 weeks ago (just the trails) in 2:15 so set my goal at 2:30 (remember that).  I decided I needed to take the roads into the park slowly and conceded that I would walk part of Pisgah Ridge.  So, with a beautiful day unfolding and a little nausea in my belly, we were off. 

I took the roads slowly (about 1.8 miles to the trails)...too slowly...in fact when I entered the park I felt as if I was sweeping the course already.   My legs felt good, my bottom did not.  I spent the next 8 miles trying to speed up but was abruptly stopped by the urge to have a bowel movement!  Even the downhills were interrupted by this sensation because I couldn't really relax and just go with it - or it would have just gone.  Oh well, maybe it was nerves or something I ate, in any case it cost me a few minutes for sure and I am not seasoned enough to know if it wouldve been better to just pull off the trail and take my first dump in the woods or just run a little slower!  I guess we'll never know- I'm sure you think you know too much already. 

Anyway, I got to the bottom of Pisgah Ridge via Reservoir Trail in 1:09 (I think...I can't find my watch) and was surprised how quickly this spot came up - in my head anyway.  I stopped, had some water (maybe that would help my tummy), and a GU.  I was feeling better and knew I had some climbing to do, but I do love this trail along the water.  I tried to focus on that as I knew what was coming.  I did walk some of the ridge but really not as much as I thought I might have to.  A man came thru and I tried to stay with him.  He was real smooth on the downhill and would lose me, but I seemed to catch up on the flat and uphill.  That made me feel better.  This part of the park is always new to me no matter how much I run it.  There were hills I swear were not there before and it's always seems so long to get to Kilburn. 

Finally, we came to the Kilburn aid station and I stopped for water and another GU.  Steve stopped too.  This is a part of my training runs that I don't particularly like- the uphill road to Kilburn parking.  Luckily, Steve was chatty and took my mind off it and I felt good - my stomach felt better and I could pick it up a little.  Of course this is also when I noticed I had strained my hip flexor and tweeked my knee, but not bad enough to stop.  We got up to the parking and chatted up Davis and he dropped me for awhile after the downhill in there.  I had only run this section a couple times this summer but knew I was looking for a junction sign to indicate Winchester Road- and man was I thirsty!  Well I saw a sign and my watch said 2 hours so I briefly had visions of a 2:20 finish, but this was not the right sign and I reached Winchester Rd at 2:18....crap.  I could see Steve turn onto the road and I took off down the trail to catch him.  Surprisingly I did, past him with some words of encouragement from him, and almost felt good hitting the dirt road and then pavement (about 1.2 miles of road to finish).  I knew there was a hill just past Gregs house and it did slow me, but I didn't walk.  Somehow this section is a blur and I came through the finishers shoot at 2:29:51.  Goal achieved.

I was happy.  I headed down to Kilburn with Erin (who didn't run, but she would have proabably won had she done it) to see how the 50K was panning out.  We met Sontag and Rockstar on the road and the leaders came through...including that cute runner-man I did get to know this year.  He was hurting so I wasn't hurt when he SNAPPED at me for my time- who knew he'd want to chat?!  But he did say (ok, yell) good job and had a brutal few miles left of his own race.  We went back to Glenn and Gina's as they headed into Davis Hill to the finish.  Afterward, we all hung out in the yard to watch the rest of the finishers.  It is such a fun day -I always love to hear how the race unfolded for everyone- thank goodness for blogs too! 

I will post results when they become available...and check out other race reports on the Pisgah site- I'll post them as I find them! http://pisgahmtntrailraces.blogspot.com/

Next year, sub 2:20 for me.  I felt strong, but have to get a little more experience with pushing through the aches and pains (and bathroom issues).  Also, be more aggressive on the road, won't hang out at the water stops for 45 seconds each, and have more trail races under my feet.  Then one day maybe the 50K?!  We'll see.  It's a process...and I love it!


  1. Good job beating your goal! Thanks for your work on the Pisgah blog too - it's fun reading everyone else's experiences.

  2. Congratulations!! Sounds like a great race. Don't be bashful about #2 in the woods. And I've already reprimanded Greg for his less than hospitable interpersonal skills!! :)

    Nice job!

  3. Nice job making your goal! At least you didn't clean up with poison ivy like I once did!

  4. Nice job Jen! Glad you had a chance to run this year! Keep up the good work.

  5. Great job, Jen! From my perspective, it is better "go" in the woods, as soon as you feel the urge :>