by Marc Griffin
Joe Doherty, Jack Broaddus and I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Christiansburg, it was much cheaper than Mountain Lake, plus Mountain Lake has no air conditioning. So right there I didn’t think I could make it, Canadians don’t do well in heat. It was a short drive to the start and we arrived in plenty of time to catch the buses. This is a point to point race, so you park at the finish and they bus you about 30 min to the start. The start of the race is at a nice rest stop with flush bathrooms and running water. After socializing for a bit, we were all gathered at the start and waiting on the start gun.
As soon as the race starts you start climbing, nothing too bad but it was a steady climb. You pass a great waterfall and make your way around to the top of it. This is where my first detour happened. I was sitting in around 6th place and I could see the leaders when the trail was straight. Well, as I came around a corner, the course arrows looked to me to point to the right. I followed the arrows, which took me down to a river about a quarter mile down. The race director told us there was no major water crossings so I knew I had taken a wrong turn. I made my way back up the climb, figured out the right way, and got to the first aid station, where they informed me I was now in 20th place. So I picked up the pace, especially on the climbs, and made my way back up to 8th by the time the next few aid stations rolled around. Really, most climbs were very runnable and most of the course is either on jeep road or old fire road except for the first 5 miles and the last 7 or 8.
Somewhere around aid station 4 or 5 is where my second detour took place, I was feeling good and just blew right through a set of arrows. Of course, it wasn’t on a flat section so once I realized I had made another wrong turn I had to climb back up (again) to where I needed to turn. I fell back to about 12th place this time and had no one to blame for this one but myself. I picked off a few runners and was in 10th place with about 4 miles to go. I started cramping up pretty bad and tried all the tricks I knew to stop the cramping, nothing seemed to work so I slowed and got passed. I ended up in 12 place which I am happy about since this is my highest place in an ultra of this size. I know I could have done better if I hadn’t taken the wrong turns and taken better care of myself. Lessons learned!
|All pictures from race website: http://www.easterndivideultra.com/2012.html|
Overall, I believe this was a very good event. The run was fun, had a few good climbs, some trail, some roads (no pavement), and quite a bit of rolling terrain. It was much harder than it looks on paper, but not all that bad. The finish line and after party was very nice, it had plenty of hamburgers, hotdogs and cold drinks. They even arranged our tents so we had some shade and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
Hopefully we can get a good CAT group to go down next year!