The weather stayed cool. The volunteers are the friendliest you will find at any race. The course was lush and green and breathtaking. The twenty or so stream crossings were relatively low, allowing for dry feet most of the day. The course was in great shape, less muddy than usual. The hills, though many, seemed less daunting. I ran with old friends and chatted, then ran by myself, perfect. I felt great all day.
Despite the pea soup we ran through (have you ever seen pollen visibly hanging in the air like a cloud of smoke?), the new sensation of full-body sneezing while running full speed, and the high winds that rained good-sized (and terrifying-sounding) tree branches down around us, I had an ideal run.
I ran another PR, this one by 36 minutes!
But, I've been having a bit of writer's block.
And, I wanted to post my Capon Valley 50K race report from 2005. It recounts one of my favorite trail stories (The Sultan story) and it was the first time I flirted with the man who is now "Mr. Ultrarunnergirl." So allow me this self-indulgent recap.
Capon Valley (Now Really A) 50K and The Sultan of Trail Running
First, I must say a big thank you to Steve Pero for sharing his words of wisdom on the VHTRC listserve last week on eating as little as possible during a race. Last year I ate a big ol’ pancake about 15 minutes before the race, and that was a mistake. This year I took it easy on the food instead of incorporating my usual buffet mentality and I felt great the whole run.
As we took off from the start, I was in a good mood. It was great to see so many VHTRC friends - Joe Clapper, John Hayward, Caroline Williams and Carolyn Gernand. I sidled up to Gary Knipling and admonished him that he was to behave. Scarcely had the words escaped my lips than I spied his mango bikini bottoms tucked into his shorts and I knew I was wasting my breath. Superhuman Gary had done the MMT 100 the weekend before, and I was well rested, but I still couldn’t hang with him even a mile.
I joined Lucia Davidson and Rita Cronley, whose acquaintance I made at HAT this year, for a mile or two. I said hello to Jim Cavanaugh, but refrained (with great difficulty) from making any Bird Knob goat references. I ran with Alan Zwart for a bit. Pam Gowen and I spent a few miles together as is our custom.
In the next few miles, I caught sight of Charlie Miracle. Giggling (no, Vicki, you will never live this down) as I gained on him, I remembered his Holiday Lake 50K++ writeup. I chatted with him for awhile before passing him, because despite the already warm day, I was feeling good. Darn good.
Next I glimpsed Bob Phillips in the distance. Now, if there’s one thing I know it’s that I can trust Bob because we aren’t dating. However, seeing him up ahead reminded me that the whole Age Group thing should be totally overhauled. There should be no age groups, just Leg Length Groups. I think I could place in my Leg Length Group. Anyway, I finally caught up with Bob and ran with him awhile. Apparently he spent a lot of time and miles running with Scott Mills last weekend, so I knew I would have to leave him in the dust, Leg Length be damned.
Brian McNeill, David Snipes, a couple of young women and I decided to take a scenic detour to include a blowdown across the trail and a very nice stream about a mile after aid station #4. I had spent a few minutes with Alan Gowen just after Aid Station #4, but there he was again! His eye for bright pink ribbons is sharper than all of ours combined. Brian left me but I caught him again just in time to hear the end of how he got into running. Of course I wanted to hear the beginning. Now, I don’t know if you all know this, but Brian got into running because he weighed about 225 lbs back when he “was a Sultan and eating at fancy restaurants at least two meals a day.” I asked him to repeat that and he did. I finally had to ask him exactly what being a Sultan entailed and it came to light that the faint remnants of his Scottish accent render him unable to pronounce the prefix "Con."
I ran most of the rest of the race passing (downhills) and being passed (uphills) by Joni Fontana and David Snipes and his Miracle Tea. A few miles before the final aid station, I was running alone except for the people I passed. The heat was getting to many of them but I was still feeling good and not overheating. Or so I thought, until at the final aid station the volunteers there announced, “You are in the top one-third of the field!” Maybe the heat was getting to them, but just in case it was my hallucinations, I put some ice in my hat before pressing on.
After the nice firemen handed me an flyer for a gun show next fall which I enjoyed carrying for that last long stretch of road that cruelly takes you past and around the Ruritan Club, I finally crossed the finish line! After chatting with Farrouk Elkassed and Joni Fontana, and a refreshing shower, I found the chicken dinner as good as I remembered. And Tom Corris even let me sit on his lap. What a sweetheart.
I am not going to mention Linda Wack or Marti Lindemann in here because they beat me. Again.
Aw, memory lane! Thanks for coming along with me.