Friday, October 21, 2011

FAC 50k Report

It has almost been a full week since the running of this phenomenal race and I am just now getting around to writing a report.  Kinda tells you how busy I have been lately.  Anyway, I can not say enough about how awesome the course is and the organization as well.  Mad A does a great job organizing this beast with perfectly laid out aid drops along the way.  I never ran out of water or gels for this run and I might have come the closest to eating and hydrating correctly in a run of this magnitude.  Although, I definitely did not run this race at "race" pace and very well could have bonked if I did.  Well, onto the detailed report...

...Damian, Isaiah, El Guapo, and myself headed off from the Folk Art Center around 7:20 right as the sun was rising.  The colors were amazing as the mornings light began to strike the golds, oranges, and reds of the autumn's leaves.  There isn't a better time to run than when the leaves start to change.  Usually, temperatures are going to be perfect, the skies are going to be clear, and the air will feel crisp.  It sure did today.  We all decided to stay together as long as we all felt good during the run and did just that for a whole marathon before splitting up as we headed over Blackstock Knob.  I tried to stay on Damian's heels, but he was obviously feeling really good and I was just feeling good.  Surprising considering we were 7+ hours into the run.  Running with Damian and Isaiah was great for keeping the pace easy and enjoying the run instead of fighting it for a fast time.  I had left my inhibition to set the FKT at the door that morning after feeling a cold coming on the night before.  What a great idea.  I haven't enjoyed a run this much since Rattle My Heart 50k back in February, although I have had some great runs during that time.  I never really felt tired until I got to the flat Buncombe Horse Trail and realized that I would have to actually "run" for the first time the whole day.  The running I had been doing before this was mostly aided by gravity.  So after "running" 29 miles and 8 hours I was actually running and I could only muster out 3.5 miles of maybe 10 minute pace shuffling before I knew I was walking the rest of the way up to Mitchell.  I really didn't care and was just glad to be climbing up Camp Alice trail less than a mile from the summit.  As soon as I hit the paved walkway to to viewing tower though, I picked the pace back up and ran all the way to the top (maybe 100m).  I asked a fellow observer of the beauty that lay before us atop Mt Mitchell the time and realized that I just finished my first FAC 50k in 9:10.  This is about an hour off the time I was wanting to do going into the run, but it was exactly the time I wanted to run that day.  You couldn't have asked for a better day to be running though the mountains!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

FAC 50k Preview

Its been awhile since my last post and a lot has happened since then including a phenomenally important training run for the FAC 50k, which is coming up this weekend.  The legs have felt good since that 29 mile outing on the MST a couple of weeks ago and I am ready to tackle this beast.  Here is a little background info on this run for those who follow me and aren't apart of WNC Trailrunner, which you should be by the way!

The FAC 50k is the half portion of the Pitchell 100k, a run that starts at midnight on top of Mt Pisgah to the top of Mt Mitchell 67 miles away on the Mountains to Sea Trail.  Here is what the info page says of the run: The Pitchell.....where to begin? This is one truly epic adventure! Hope you can be a part! Birthed by the mind of Mad A (Adam Hill) in 2004, this run has proven to be quite the challenge by the terrain layed forth in the mountains surrounding Asheville, NC, as well as the finicky weather in the month of October. Start at midnight on the summit of Mt. Pisgah and run, hike, and crawl 67 miles to the finish on the summit of Mt. Mitchell! Not ready for that much challenge? Join in for the FAC from the Folk Art Center to the summit of Mitchell with a start time of 6 am. Almost all of the route follows the Mountains to Sea Trail and is pretty much all singletrack with the exception of about 3 miles of doubletrack! (More info here- see Section 7,8, & 9). 

The weather is looking to be great this weekend with temps between 40-65 all day.  As much as I wanted to run Pitchell this year, that last 29 mile training run revealed to me that I was not ready to tackle this beast.  Two and half hours into the run I was already feeling pretty fatigued and this was on a much easier run.  Visions of me stumbling down Shut-In and into my car at the Folk Art Center already were creeping into my head.  I finally made the final decision to switch to the junior varsity race and attempt to run the FKT for the FAC 50k.  This will still not be an easy feat as the record is 8:29 set by Andrew Moore who is a solid runner and seems to be right with me on all of the big runs we've done together.  All I can do is hope that my body responds well to the challenge and doesn't shut down on me.  Either way it will be a blast and at least I get to run through the beautiful fall foliage and summit one of the most iconic mountains in the East. 

Oh yea,  Matt Kirk has just thrown his hat in for the 50k and if he tries to "run" it then I can kiss the FKT goodbye.  Matt just earned the title of Kitsuma Krunk!  'Nuff said!