fall races and stuff

It’s time for a little update. The fall is an exciting time filled with weekly races. The cooler temperatures mean less sweating, less panting. It’s been fun to see how much fitness has improved. Also fun to be able to run with others through the woods and the streets. Below is the laundry list of races. At some point I may make separate race reports. To be honest, running takes precedent over writing about running. I’m mini tapering for a road marathon this week, so taking a few minutes to write this post.

What I’ve done the last couple of months

Barkley Fall Classic 50k

This was the inaugural Barkley 50k, I just had to do it. It didn’t disappoint, plenty of hills and some areas that were totally not runable. Climbing straight up a hillside with sawbriars, yeah, words don’t do that part any justice. This race really needs its own report. Hopefully I can get around to it.

Some bad decisions on my part made for a long day out for a 50k, there was much more hiking than usual. Dehydration to the point of shivering in the heat, laying on the ground for a half hour trying to get back into it. There were plenty of mental low points to break through. It wasn’t pretty and the time is almost embarrassing, but I needed to finish. I will have to reenter for next year because I just didn’t execute this well at all. I should have run a couple hours faster than this.

It was nice to hang out after the race. I’ll need to do more of that.

Big South Fork 17.5 miles

I went kamikaze on this run. I was supposed to take it easy after the Barkley race, but when I saw how flat and fast this course was I couldn’t help myself. Fell twice, scraping my knee up and bruising my palm. It’s probably the first time I just went for it during one of these trail races. I usually hold back a little. Good atmosphere after the race, but had to ditch out early due to other engagements.

Cumberland Trail 50k

Had a lot of fun on this run. The small field of 20 probably had something to do with it. Sometimes the larger fields can get a little impersonal. Constantly passing and being passed by dozens of people and “conga lines” forming. It’s ok, but I’d rather not feel too crowded or claustrophobic. This is the first race I’ve done with such a small field. I’ll be looking for more like it.

This was a point to point race as well, so no looping or covering the same ground twice. The elevation profile was more than expected, plenty of climbing. The only flat part was the last couple miles ending in the park.

The rain in the first half of the run was soothing, the virgin like trails were challenging. I’ll be back next year for this one.

Farragut Half Marathon

Back on the road for this race. Honestly I was looking forward to some pavement for a change. It’s fun to switch up between the different kinds of races and surfaces. This one was fairly fast, although the rolling hills zapped me a bit, and I was not prepared for the last 3 miles of steady incline. It wasn’t much of an uphill, but when you’re tired even a 3-5% grade is killer.

A 1:32:02 ain’t too shabby, probably could have done better if I’d paced myself.

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What’s left to do

Chickamauga Marathon

Coming up this weekend. The goal was to get close to a 3:00 hour finish, but I really think a 3:10-3:15 is more realistic. I’ll go out on a 3:15 pace, and if I feel good halfway in I’ll kick it up a notch.

Norris Dam Hard Trail Race 50k

The yearly local 50k. Not much to say here other than I hope to run it faster than last year. Although I hear there may be some course changes, so whatever.

Secret City Half Marathon

The Oak Ridge course is pretty flat, so I should have a shot at getting under 1:30 for this one. After a year or so of races, it looks like my body likes this distance pretty well. I hope it’s not going to be as cold as last year. I can get a little winy in the cold.

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December

I’m looking forward to not racing and just getting back into the groove of building on the base mileage with longer weekend runs, and a general increase in weekly mileage. A peaceful and reflective month with plenty of muscle soreness. The plan is to streak as well, so every day I’ll be out there. Rain or shine.

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Closing thoughts

It’s dawning on me the last few months that the placement in these races mean much less to me than other factors such as how well I executed a run regardless of placement. You always read about “running your own race” but it’s finally sinking in what that really means. I just care less about the race and more about just preforming and improving on myself. Sounds pretty basic, but after all it IS a race, so it can be hard to NOT be caught up in comparing oneself to others every moment of it. There might be some life lesson in there somewhere but someone with more writing ability has probably covered it already.