On Sunday I ran the Potomac Heritage 50K. It's a really low key "race" that the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club puts on.
I did a lot of hard running with 80 miles total the prior week (including 12 miles the day before), so I wasn't really planning to go all out. I was just looking for a good training run and to get some company while running.
The race starts at someone's house in DC. When I got there I saw Keith Knipling, who is an extremely badass ultramarathoner that lives in DC (he's won several of the hundreds in Virginia). When we started running I decided to try to hang with Keith. He's definitely faster than me, but I figured it would be fun to meet him. I also had no idea where I was going, and he knew the course well.
The first 9 miles were fairly flat and runnable. We were running at a pretty good pace, probably somewhere around 7:30 miles. The weather was perfect, and I was feeling good and having lots of fun.
The race really started after the aid station at mile 9. That's when we hit the Potomac Heritage Trail, which can be really rocky and technical in spots. The next 16 miles or so were on the PHT. I stayed with Keith until Mile 13, and then he took off and dusted and me. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.
I haven't done many serious long runs since Vermont in July, so things started getting tough about halfway through the run. My legs were fine, but I've lost my ability to eat and drink on the run (my major weakness in ultras).
My stomach went steadily downhill, but I was still moving at a decent pace. At mile 29 I finally hit the breaking point and threw up on the side of the trail. While I was throwing up, the woman who had been running in 3rd place passed me. She was nice enough to make sure I was ok. I told her I would be fine and that she was running a great race.
I felt MUCH better after emptying my stomach and just cruised in the last couple of miles. I finished in 4:58 and 3rd place. I definitely could have run a lot faster if my stomach cooperated, but it was still a really good training run and lots of fun.
Hopefully I can do a lot more running with the VHTRC in the future. There are a lot of cool people in the club, and they put on great events.