Bull Run Run 2010

 

April 9

 

This year I am running this race sans crew.It will be a first at this race.It is only a 50 miler, so I should be okay.Also, the aid stations are great here.My family and I spent this week in Florida, and I got home early this afternoon.I spent a couple hours packing and then ate dinner and drove up to Hemlock.I got my stuff and my cabin assignment.Most of the people in my cabin are new to this race.It is a nice race for a first time ultra, and I enjoy explaining the course to those who havenít run it.

 

Somebody in my cabin asks me when we should turn the lights off, and I say any time works for me.It is only about 8:30pm, but I then tell them that around 9:00pm would be good.I stop reading my magazines about 10 minutes until 9pm, and I guess I fell asleep fairly soon because the next time I roll over, the lights are off.

 

April 10

 

I wake up to my alarm at 5:00am and head to the bathroom.After my morning constitutional, I head back and start to get ready.I eat a bagel and drink a pint of chocolate milk.The low temperature this morning was predicted to be close to 40, but it feels a little warmer than that.I decide that just a single short sleeve t-shirt will work for the start of the race.At 6:10am I meet up with some of my teammates, David Snipes and Stephanie Wilson.We write our team name on our calves and upper arms.We are the ďAlternate StatesĒ.Also, Chris Calfee shows up, and we fix him up as well.

 

Just before the start I see Dave Ferris, who I worked with at Quantico.He wasnít a huge runner when I worked with him, but now he is.He has run a 50km, and this will be his first 50 miler.It is good to see him after several years.

 

Mile 7.2††††† 1:16:05 (10:34 avg./mile) Centreville Road (1st time)

 

My plan today is to start conservatively and then pick things up.However, I want to make sure that I have plenty left for the last 15 miles.The past two years, I have gone out a little fast and then ended up dragging myself in at the end.

 

Mile 11.6††† 44:08 (10:02 avg./mile) Centreville Road (2nd time)

 

For this first out and back section, it is all runnable as it is flat.The mud is quite tame even though it was a wet winter and early spring.I am just behind Gary Knipling at the turn around.Frank Probst is not far ahead of Gary.Zeke, the other 66 year old, is just behind us at this point.Last year, Zeke and Frank beat me, and it would be nice to return the favor this year.So far, I am very comfortable with my pace.I drink a cup of Gatorade and grab several potato chips.

 

Mile 16.6††† 56:09 (11:14 avg./mile) Hemlock Overlook

 

On our way back to Hemlock, which was the start, I manage to get ahead of Gary.At this aid station, I have a drop bag, and my main focus is to trade out my Camelbak with the full one in my drop bag.I also have a pint of Conquest, but in the process of changing out my Camelbak and taking off my shirt, I completely forget about the Conquest until I am out of the aid station.However, I must have made good time in the aid station as I pass Ed Cacciapaglia in the aid station.Ed is the fifth member of our team.

 

Mile 21.1††† 48:49 (10:51 avg./mile) Bull Run Marina

 

I continue to run very conservatively and comfortably.The temperature has risen some, but it is probably not more than 60 degrees or so.Just after passing through the soccer fields, I catch up with David Snipes.We run together for awhile, but not for long.I come into this aid station feeling good still.I grab a couple of sandwich quarters and a short stack of cookies.

 

Mile 26.1††† 55:42 (11:08 avg./mile) Wolf Run Shoals

 

Once again, I am maintaining a nice smooth pace of around 11 minutes per mile.Coming into this aid station, I pass Michelle Harmon and Greg Loomis.They mention to me that my bare back is looking a little pink.So, at this aid station, I ask if they have some sunscreen.The nice aid station worker says yes, but she has to get it out of the vehicle close by.She comes back and is even kind enough to apply the sunscreen.It apparently does the trick as I end up not getting burnt at all.

 

Mile 28.1††† 27:53 (13:56 avg./mile) Fountainhead

 

It is good to get out to this aid station because there is just one more aid station before we begin revisiting the aid stations toward the finish.Just before I get to the aid station I see Leigh Schmitt, the leader, coming towards me.He looks great and appears to be really moving fast!I am feeling well, and the temperature isnít too warm.I feel like I have plenty of life left in my legs.I refill my Camelbak, grab some cookies, and head out for the wonderful white loop.

 

Mile 32.5††† 53:49 (12:14 avg./mile) Do Loop (start)

 

The white loop is about two miles long and comes nearly back to the Fountainhead aid station before turning towards the Do Loop.Once I get to the Do Loop, I feel like I can then start to push things a little more.I am still trying to run within myself at this point.At some point, Snipes got back in front of me.The section coming into this aid station starts to look a lot like the Do Loopóplenty of short ups and downs that are relatively steep.I keep looking for the next up that looks like it will take me to the aid station, but I go through several bends in the trail before I finally recognize the last uphill to the aid station.At this aid station, there is pizza, so I grab a slice of pepperoni and decide to start drinking Coke.I find the Coke helps my breathing some.I am noticing my breathing more than usual today because of the thickness of the pollen in the air.

 

Mile 35.5††† 39:22 (13:07 avg./mile) Do Loop (end)

 

My legs are still feeling well, and with a little Coke in my system, I am ready to run.I start running on the downhill portion, but before I get far, I take a fall.The fall isnít too bad, but I scrape up my right leg pretty well.The do loop is an interesting aspect of this race.This part of the course is remote from everything, but somehow there are two old, rusting cars far from any roads.One of them is a Nash Rambler, and I have a tradition of relieving myself on the Rambler as a way of preserving it.However, this year someone accuses me of desecrating it.Moving on, I make my way into the aid station, but my legs are starting to cramp a little, but I hope this is just because of the short steep hills in this section.At this aid station, I eat another wonderful piece of pizza, and then here comes Gary Knipling into the aid station.In the past couple of years at this point, Gary would be coming into the aid station for the first time.However, this year he is coming in the second time, so he is now even with me!I drink another small cup of Coke and head out of the aid station with Gary.

 

Mile 37.9††† 28:39 (11:56 avg./mile) Fountainhead

 

I run with Gary down the first hill thinking that we might have to repeat our duel from 2006.However, I soon decide to pass him and see if I canít open things up a bit.My legs are still feeling good, and I am able to push the pace enough to leave Gary behind for now.I soon come up to David Snipes again, and I pass him as well.Now, it is a question of whether I can hold this surge to the end of the race.When I come into this aid station, I talk to John Dodds some and mention that Gary is looking good today.I grab some cookies, potato chips, and drink another small cup of Coke before heading down the trail.

 

Mile 39.9††† 26:22 (13:11 avg./mile) Wolf Run Shoals

 

This little two mile section always seems to take a little longer than it should.I was moving well, and moving away from Gary and Snipes, but the time is still not fast.Anyway, I quickly grab another cup of Coke and some cookies, and I am off to the final aid station.My legs are starting to cramp a little more, but I think I can hold on to the finish.

 

Mile 44.9††† 55:35 (11:07 avg./mile) Bull Run Marina

 

There is a pack of us leaving Wolf Run Shoals together.Initially, I am content to stay with them, and all four of us are moving well, but then one of us decides to push things on an uphill, and the train falls apart.Also, just about a mile out of the aid station, I spot Frank up ahead.It takes less than half of a mile to catch and pass him.Now I am really motivated to push this thing to the finish.My energy level at this point is very good, but my legs are cramping a little moreónothing too bad, but enough to get my attention.I continue to push, though, because I want to stay in front of everyone I have passed.At this last aid station, I am hurting as my legs are screaming.I tell Jeff Reed to let me know when he sees Frank coming up the hill.I donít want Frank to see me if I can avoid it.Meanwhile, I am stuffing myself with anything and everything.I eat a donut and a pile of chips, while I am drinking two cups of Coke.On my second cup of Coke, Jeff calls out the Frank sighting, and I down the rest of the cup and trudge out of the aid station.

 

Mile 50.4††† 1:10:20 (12:47 avg./mile) FINISH!

 

Leaving the aid station, my legs are very sluggish.However, now it is simply mind over matteróif I donít mind, the pain wonít matter.I walk when I have to, but otherwise I keep slugging forward.I get to the soccer fields, and I am able to run okay through them.On the other side, after getting back into the woods, I roll my right ankle for the second time today.This one really hurts, and I also fall down picking a small tree to cushion my fall.Despite the pain, I force myself to get up quickly as I am motivated by Frank, Gary, or Snipes coming up behind me.I keep telling myself to just hold things together and finish.Finally, I get to the turn, and then it is just up the hill and a run to the finish.I have managed to mostly hold things together, and more importantly, I have stayed ahead of the people I passed the last 15 miles.

 

Official Finishing Time††††††††† 9:42:53

 

115th out of 336 starters (313 finishers)

 

My time is not spectacular, but I am very satisfied with the effort.The weather was excellent, but warm weather in the spring is always tougher to deal with.Gary and Snipes finish just under 10 hours, and Frank is right behind them also under 10 hours.

 

The next race in my plans is Kettle Moraine in Wisconsin the first weekend in June.I plan on flying myself and my crew up for that one.So, I have eight weeks to recover, train hard, and then taper.This is my only planned 100 miler this year, so I want to make it a good one.Until thenÖ

 

Never stop running,

Darin

 

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