Wednesday, March 02, 2011
2011 Mt. Mitchell Challenge
Well I'm back to redeem myself of a year ago. It was my second attempt at The Mt. Mitchell Challenge. Redemetion was high on the list of thing to achieve at this years event. The rare chance to race the full course in near perfect weather was a huge motivator.
As they say you gain experence with practice. Yep, I'll go along with that. So far I've learned patience can pay off at an Ultra Run. This being my 4th attempt at an Ultra distance event.
Starting off I wanted to stay close to the front. However it just wasn't worth the risk of blowing up before you even see dirt. Patience on the climb to the Parkway. Just go a bit above my comfort level. Keep up on the calories and hydration. Very key.
Made it to the Parkway in 2:20. From here it's up to the Summit trails en route to the top. Just a bit of snow and soggy trails. The higher in elevation the slower the pace seemed to get. Nearing the summit a few icy patches had me skating around bit. Nothing like last year. It was managable with the soft snow mixed in. Summit 3:49.
Picking my way down the gnarly summit trails. Slipped once, then decided maybe I should snug my shoes up. So I stop snug em up take two steps turn an ankle. Dang did not see that coming. Slowly picked way way down this trail (Commissary Ridge I think). Just when you think it's all down hill from here. You pop back out onto a FS road up to Alice Camp AS. From there it's onto the pavement down down down.
Back to the Parkway and onto the Old Toll Road for the return trip. Here is where I rejoined two fellow Cola running buddies. It was like being back in the peloton again. Ha - we were trading pace, putting in a few small surges just to see what the others had left in the tank. About an hour later I had pulled ahead a bit. From here I just wanted to break 6:30.
Now I am no stranger to pushing myself to exhaustion. Though this time I had really pushed it. That being the caloric levels. The last 3 miles are on pavement back into town to the finish. With about 2.5 to go my buddy pulls up and pulls away from me. This is were the vision begins to blur and I know I am on borrowed time. As I repeated "JUST KEEP PUSHING" towards the finish I go. Keeping it together I stroll across the line a shake under 6:36. Very happy to be done and to have PR this monster. Better my time by :42 on a longer course.