Brian and I returned to Terrapin 50k again this year. It was a great early-season tune-up race, offering plenty of climbing and technical trails in a beautiful location (where the flowers are starting to bloom on race weekend). Last year's race was a tough one for me - I ran a bit too hard in the early miles (especially the first downhill) and really suffered in the later miles. I was determined to run smarter and not repeat that mistake this year. However, as we neared the location, we noticed that there was still snow in the mountains - so it might be a slow day out there. Yup, I'll repeat that - there was snow in the mountains still...in Virginia...in March. Ugghh!
The race started out fast, and I felt like I was immediately mid-pack in the first flat road mile. Luckily, I found Sharron who I had run with (and drank wine with) at Holiday Lakes, so we enjoyed the first few miles chatting. As the course turned up, I was able to pass folks but found myself running basically alone. The first 4 miles were uphill, so my goal was to run smart by not hard up this hill - which was hard because I felt strong on the uphills so I was running most of it (even as folks around me hiked). I crested the climb to Camping Gap next to the lead female in the half marathon, and we wished each other good luck as our courses split.
(Running at last year's Terrapin Mountain 50k)
After that first aid station, the course turns down for about 6 miles of downhill dirt road. This is where I destroyed my legs last year, so I took it easy and didn't push too hard on the downhill. A few folks caught me but I appreciated the company to chat with. After the course turned up, again, I was running where others were walking and once again I found myself mostly alone.