50 Miles at Noland Trail

With a date with the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run in April, I wanted to get in a few LONG runs to build my endurance and confidence.  The first of which was run on 4 Jan, a 50 mile run at the Noland trail.  And before I get into all the details of the run, I must take time to thank everyone who came out and ran with me.

noland50(Rolling down the Noland Trail)

I knew 50 miles at Noland was going to be tough, and I really did not want to be out there all day by myself.  In hopes of countering this I set up a Facebook event and invited everyone on my friends list.  Most of my friends commented that I was nuts.  A few people commented that they would be coming out to support me, then I noticed some people I did not know also commenting they would be coming.

I am truly humbled by the number of people who showed up and HOW supportive they were. Some I just met that morning.  The ultra running world is AWESOME!

Cheryl and Claude,  Kimberly, Tim, Seko, Jon, Alan, Kat, Rachel, Andrea, Hank, Kimberly, Jack, Kelly, Danny, Steve, Jamie, Cassandra and my wonderful wife Michele

20140104_134202(Kimberly, Jamie, Seko and I)

And now on to some of the details.

The loop I planned out would take us thou Noland Trail at the Mariners Museum, and the housing area just north of Lions Bridge.  Once in the housing area we would zing zang a few of the housing streets between Country Club Dr and Riverside Dr.  We would finish up coming back down Riverside Dr to get back to the trail.  Then we would close out that lap back on the trail returning to the parking lot where it all started.  This loop would clock out right at 10 miles.

noland50mapI arrived at the parking lot around 0630 and was greeted by 20f temps and a decent forecast.  The morning hours promised to be cold but with hopes of bright skies and plenty of sunshine.  I set up a makeshift race HQ and got myself ready.  Still not really sure of who may show up to run with me and with it being so cold I thought many might have a better idea.  0655 I got out of my car to get rolling and what do you know…five people came walking over to run with me, I was so touched.

Lap 1 went well and was pretty much what I expected.  It was cold and the trail had some ice on it, but everyone kept the conversations going and the miles clicked off pretty fast.  My only surprise came when we got into the housing area.  When I mapped out this loop I did not pay much attention to the elevation profile and assumed it was pretty flat.  WRONG…the streets in between Country Club and Riverside Drive offered a few nice rolling climbs.  Once back down Riverside Dr we got back on the closing 2 miles of Noland Trail.  Ending the lap and rolling our little running convoy back to the parking it lot it was nice to see a few more runners standing by to join in.

12:14 / 11:27 / 10:46 / 10:01 / 10:10 / 09:53 / 10:46 / 09:57 / 10:50 / 10:14
Lap 1 (10 miles 1:46:11)

Not 100 feet into lap two I got my second BIG surprise and almost disaster of the day.  Almost instantly after leaving my pit stop where I had downed a GU and an apple sauce my stomach did flip flops while I ran down the trail.  I thought for sure I was in big trouble, I got a few major cramps and pressure on the back side, if you know what I mean.  In my mind I was laying out plans to turn back to the out-house or hit a near by tree.  Thankfully as fast as it came on it left and I was able to motor right along.

19:23 (includes pit stop end of lap 1) / 10:37 / 11:24 / 10:09 / 09:52 / 09:56
09:53 / 10:05 / 10:21 / 10:52
Lap 2 (20 miles 3:39:03)

By now it was turning into a great day, this lap I ran with Jon and we where chatting about lessons learned at previous Ultras and his 100 mile event successes.  I was enjoying the conversations and the miles went by fast.  Once in the housing area we both noticed we were running low on water.  With the temps going up we knew we had to come up with some water or we might be in some trouble.  Plan A was to find someone outside and ask to top off our bottles, plan B was to find an empty house and hope the outside faucet was still running.  Lucky for us we found a gentlemen working outside, we asked for some water and he was super helpful by inviting us in and topping off our bottles.  When asked what we were doing, Jon told them I was running 50 miles today, that sparked a good conversation and questions.  I was thankful for the help and interest but had to excuse myself to keep moving or I would have laid down to take a nap.  Making our way back to the car, it again was so uplifting to see a big group of people waiting on me.  I was so touched by the people I had never met before offering to spend part of their day with me.  It got emotional for me at times.

18:38 (includes pit stop end of lap 2) / 13:40 / 12:40 / 10:56 / 10:38 / 12:15
26.2 Miles in 4:47:50, not bad for being right in the middle of a 50 mile run.
10:34 / 11:14 / 11:37 / 14:36
Lap 3 (30 miles 5:45:55)

I was very tired at the beginning of this lap, but within a quarter mile the pit stop food kicked in and I felt my energy levels pick up.  I felt like I had pushed off the fatigue of the previous 30 miles and was able to hold off any decline.  My plan was working, my pacing was working, my running friends were lifting me up and it was a perfect day.  Although very tired I rolled thou miles 30 to 40 and felt like this run was going to be over soon.  When I started this adventure I had fear that maybe this loop might turn into a version of the walking dead.  I might have been near death, but I was the running dead.  My hats off to Kimberly, she ran the first lap with me and came back for more.

20140104_151159(getting ready for the last loop)

20:25 (includes pit stop end of lap 3)  50k in 6:06:20
14:05 / 12:30 / 12:54 / 11:31 / 11:22 / 11:13 / 10:47 / 13:14 / 14:04
Lap 4 (40 miles 7:58:05)

The last lap was run with Seko, I’ve seen Seko at the 24 Hour Run at Sandy Bottom park, but other then a few friendly hellos exchanged on the trails, we never talked much.  He stuck with me during lap 4 and carried over into the last lap.  AND I’m so grateful…I can’t express my thanks enough to him.  Much like lap 4, I kept on my plan and turned in the best times I could.  Forward progress, I kept telling myself…keep on moving.  I felt like Dory from Finding Nemo, Keep on Swimming, Swimming, Swimming.


At one point on the last run on Riverside Dr. a couple was out walking and I don’t know why but when we passed I called out, “I’ve run 47.5 miles today and I have 2.5 to go.”  I think they thought I was nuts, but offered up some encouragement and this lifted my sails.  With a few encouraging words I was able to pick up some of the pace and motor my way back to the trail.

I made a deal with myself that no matter where I was when my GPS hit 50 miles I would stop, but when that time came…I had to make it back to my car and the unofficial start/finish line! And I did…and it was very emotional for me.  I’ve run 50 miles before, in fact my best is 75 miles, but as I told my wife, every time I toe the line on one of these crazy adventures part of me wonders, can you really?  And when it’s all done, and you have pushed yourself mentally and physically, your striped to the core…it bares your soul.

19:38 (includes pit stop end of lap 4) / 13:17 / 11:22 / 11:03 / 10:33 / 11:50 / 10:38 / 11:01 / 12:40 / 12:14 / 9:55
Lap 5 DONE

I must thank my Lord and savior JESUS Christ.  Without him I could not do this and in fact I might not be here.

Miles Run: 50.08
Time: 10:03:15
Avg. Pace: 12:03
Calories: 5481

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