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O.W.Link 10k RR with ultra bonus info

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Author Topic:   O.W.Link 10k RR with ultra bonus info
Cool Runner
posted Oct-01-2007 09:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JJJessee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
O.W. Link Memorial 10k Run
Green Cove Station, VA, on the Virginia Creeper Trail
and The Iron Mt 50M Trail Race volunteer report Damascus, VA

September 29, 2007

The race starts and we’re off. I’m running hard in the top three headed down the road toward the first turn. I take the lead ahead of two guys wearing white singlets, Wow, I’ve never done this well before. I’m wearing a white singlet??? Something’s not right, I don’t own a white singlet. I make a hard left, but I’m the only one!?!? The rest of the pack turns RIGHT. Dang! I recover and try to catch up. I finish about 20th of 30.

Then I wake up, Thursday morning.

This is about the first anniversary of foot racing for me. And the 2006 running of the OWL 10k was my very first race.
I set a goal time for this race at the beginning of the year to sub 53min -last year’s time 58:22 – so totally doable I think.
Well I’ve had a great past couple of weeks—a 5K PR, then a 15 mile trail run last Saturday. Keeping mileage down, but intensity up. Life has been good. I’m making new running friends. Running doesn’t hurt as much and my body seems to recovery better. I’m still pretty much a newbie at running and athletics in general. There is lots for me to learn and discover. Everyday is a delightful challenge, a quest, or an adventure.

My DW has had plans to be out of town on this race weekend for months. So I get to play by myself this weekend. Rushing through Friday’s work by 1:45, I head to the house to pack. Camping gear and racing gear merge into single backpack. It ends up a bit heavy, but I’m biking -not walking. Lube the chain, squeeze the tires, and hitting trail by 4ish pm. The weather is fantastic with more on the way. I live a hop, skip, and jump to the Virginia Creeper Trail about mile post 7. Before the VCT was a multi-use recreation trail, it was a railroad connecting Abingdon, VA and West Jefferson, NC. Having evolved to a rail-trail it now ends at the NC state line -about milepost 34.
This race is held near the end of the trail in memory of O.W. Link, a well-known photographer of trains several decades back. One in particular taken at Green Cove, shows the steam engine coming up Whitetop Mt to Green Cove with a work horse “Old Maud” appearing to bow her head to the approaching train. A sort of “old giving way to the new” commentary.
I’m not a biker really, but have been on the trail riding a few times this year. Even did a couple of VCT round trip rides back in cool weather, but not carrying camping gear. I take it very easy. The first section of the ride is virtually flat, a topographic anomally in this area. But about 10 miles up the trail, entering the national forest, the trail takes on its more characteristic 1-2% grade. I’m stopping every 2 miles, usually on a trestle, for rest to insure no lactate buildup and just to watch the creek run. It becomes somewhat arduous, but a sunny afternoon has become a pleasantly cool evening with bouquets of stars and galaxies leaning across the furrowed brow of the mountains above. I want to find a convenient campsite for a “no frill” overnight and end up settling by a wide spot near a road, creek, and trail crossing.
After stringing up my sleeping hammock next to Grassy Branch, by 1Opm I’m snoozing. At 2am I wake to a brilliant waning moon casting voluminous shadows through a tall, deciduous canopy. It’s pretty cool and takes a couple hours to get comfortable enough to sleep again.
The race is only 2.5 miles further up the trail just past milepost 30, so a 6:30 wakeup seems adequate to repack and make it to the starting line on time. By 7:10 I’m pedaling through the open fields of Green Cove. There’s a heavy, silver dew on the grass, but no frost. I’m sure the temps are in the 30’s though. The moon is retreating to the western ridges but the sun is still pretty well hidden by Whitetop and Beech Mt just a mile to the east.
At Green Cove Station, I was wrong about the frost. I hear some men talking about “a little on the windshield”. By 7:40 I’m inside at registration glad to be out of the chill. “Hey neighbor”. It’s runnerBeth. She ran and ended up with some pretty good scrapes at last weeks trail race. Come to find out, her falls unfortunately got her in some poison ivy too –she’s had a rough week. She left her car back in Damascus about milepost 15, She stopped to see the starting of the 2nd annual Iron Mt 50 Miler and caught a ride up with her friend Jim. He’s about my AG. They planned on running back to Damascus after the 10k. Sort of a 15 mile cooldown recovery run I guess .
I get a mile of warm-up with a few strides that are less than encouraging. I feel fresh enough but more like a snake that spent the night in a refrigerator fresh than exuberant and fresh. George and Kirstin with their two girls running the 2k for Kids have arrived. The parents did well at our 5k two weeks ago.
We are called to the line. I strip off an outer top long sleeve, within minutes we are headed up the hill. My strategy, or lets just call it fantasy, has been to get to the turn-around with 8:30, no worse than 9:00 miles and roll back down with whatever was left. So with the pack spreading out at about 200 meters we start a 2.75 mile climb on 3% grade- about 150’ per mile- toward Whitetop Station. Beth, Jim, and George take off and leave me following Kirstin and most of the pack of 30. In typically paddock frenzy I’m caught down around 5K pace for the first ¼ mile. But I sober up fast on the hill. By the end of mile one, all the way down to 9:05. Couldn’t I do better than this? Apparently not, mile 2 -9:22. There’s no excuse, I’m feeling good, just couldn’t make the grade. Kirstin is following me now by several yards and we’ve passed a couple of people.
By now, we have climbed. The sun has climbed. Then appears an image of totally distracting beauty. A deep shadow lays between the high walls of a two-sided cut. But a hard sun is filtering through a high canopy of green and yellow beech leaves –tingeing the shadow with an earthy chartreuse haze- a real unearthly effect. I agree with Dostoevsky when he said, “Beauty will save the World”. For a moment I felt more like I should fall to the ground and pray than run. 5 seconds of beauty can scar a soul for life.
As we neared the top I knew that neither pray nor beauty was going to save this run, or rather my goal. We finished mile 3 @ 9:11 pace, a little ways past the top giving a ¼ mile of almost flat to the turn around. Kirstin pulls in front of me at the turn and we struggle back to the lip of the hill. Three miles of what ever is left - 8:24, 7:54, 7:37 and 7:47 for the .22. Finish time 54:32 - fun run, nowhere near my goal, but a lot of fun,- maybe 20th out of 30 OA
It seems the whole community has turned out for the race, with some live music from the old train station porch, and a fund-raiser BBQ at the community center served to the hundreds and hundreds of bicyclist that will travel from Whitetop Station 17 miles down to Damascus on a great day.

The mayor of Damascus (the lady wearing red in the picture) presents all the awards -to the kids first and then the adults and gives them all a hug. Beth got a hug for first in AG. Soon after, she and Jim head off down the trail on foot.
By bike, I arrive at the finishing area at the town gazebo for the Iron Mt Run an hour or so ahead of them. It’s still almost two hours or so until the first finisher is expected and no one is hanging out. So the three of us swing by The Old Mill Restaurant for a snack and a brew on the back porch overlooking the millpond. Talking running and racing on an idyllic fall day is as good as it gets right now for me. We walk back over to the gazebo and the RD, Eric Grossman, is dropping cones from the last turn to the finish line. Soon Adam Cassidy arrives first OA, well under 8 hrs. First female Annette Bednosky arrives 8th OA well under 9 hrs.
. She is one tough runner. She has a couple of scrapes but overall great condition.
Beth and Jim leave to go back up the mountain to get his truck. Since I’ve volunteered to help here, Eric, lets me fill in the times on the spreadsheet and hand out finisher’s shirts. Of 30-some starters, all but one runner and one DNF make the 12 hour cutoff.

After the award ceremony, I flip on my headlight for a chilly 8 mile ride home. After a good night’s rest, I’m ready for another day of running on the trail. But give me a coupla years for the 50 please.
Thanks for reading,

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Cool Runner
posted Oct-01-2007 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tramps     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can it be a year already?

You didn't make your time goal, but that seems rather trivial in the midst of this wonderful experience. You clearly are having fun and enjoying the moment. That's really what it's about. Nice report.

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Cool Runner
posted Oct-01-2007 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tselbs   Click Here to Email tselbs     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
jjj, you had a great time with wonderful people, on a beautiful course. What a fantastic day. Congratulations.


My Profile

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Cool Runner
posted Oct-01-2007 02:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for enkephalin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Triple J, a wonderful report; your joy for running and appreciation of beauty seeped out nicely. It doesn't get any better than that.

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Cool Runner
posted Oct-01-2007 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for rosecoloredglasses     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That was fun TripleJ!
I felt like I was there.

Loved the imagery.
(As noted by millbot, that's what I like about you...)

Neat how the dream predicted the real-life place, 20 out of 30...

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Sans Souci
Cool Runner
posted Oct-01-2007 03:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sans Souci     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I hope you don't mind me saying, JJJ, I really didn't give an ook about your time on this one as I read through your RR. The imagery of your trail ride and overnight camp were captivating and fun ("...snake-that-spent-the-night in-the-refrigerator fresh" LOL).

You've had the pedal to the metal for a while now, so while the mind may have been willing, it's not all that surprising that the body gave you the "sign." You're still furlongs ahead of last year, that's for sure, more fast times ahead, and lovin' the ride. What else matters?

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Fortunate One
Cool Runner
posted Oct-01-2007 04:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fortunate One   Click Here to Email Fortunate One     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for taking us along, JJJ. You have a way with words, and I thought you captured the experience well when you said, "Everyday is a delightful challenge, a quest, or an adventure."

Fortunate--a volleyballer with a running problem

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Cool Runner
posted Oct-02-2007 05:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tagcaver     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very nice race report! That's a respectable 10K for someone with only 1 year of training behind them, especially on a hilly course. You seem to be enjoying yourself. Keep it up, but don't be afraid to back down and rest a few days every now and then if your body tells you it needs the rest.

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Cool Runner
posted Oct-02-2007 07:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for evryday   Click Here to Email evryday     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by JJJessee:
Everyday is a delightful challenge, a quest, or an adventure.

That's what it's all about! Thanks for that!

Great RR

Remember rule #6

read my running blog
My User Profile
My running log

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Cool Runner
posted Oct-02-2007 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tallrunner   Click Here to Email tallrunner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great report and nice pics. You ran great and with your great attitude your next race will be even better.


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Cool Runner
posted Oct-02-2007 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim24315   Click Here to Email Jim24315     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Nice run JJJ, and an especially enjoyable read. Sounds like something right out of a a "hop, skip, jump" from the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Maybe no sub-53, but quite an improvement over last year. You got a late state with this great sport but it has to be a good feeling in knowing that your best races are still ahead of you. Keep up the good work.

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Cool Runner
posted Oct-02-2007 10:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JJJessee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks everybody.
I know I push to much sometimes but..

Thanks for the picture Tramps, I think Rose found it last year?
That's right Jim, thanks for reminding me - "the best races are still ahead of you".

And you're right
I'm lovin the ride.

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Cool Runner
posted Oct-03-2007 07:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Elaine3112   Click Here to Email Elaine3112     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What an adventure for you and a great race too. You've come on leaps and bounds in the last year and okay, you didn't meet your goal but it was still negative splits and a meaty slice off last year's time! Well done.

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