Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Swinging Bridge 50K

“… if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:31,32

I started off 2010 Ultra Running season this past Saturday with the Swinging Bridge 50K Trail Run in Bear Creek Lake State Park, just outside of Richmond, VA. This was my second year running this race and I must say the conditions were much nicer this year. Last year it was -2 degrees at the start, this year we were greeted with temps in the low 30’s with it warming to almost 60 during the race. Once again Kevin O’Connor (former Marine, thanks for your service) did an outstanding job as race director and the volunteers were first class, thanks for your support.

There were two distance options for this race, 35K and the 50K. The course is laid out with two out and back sections. The first section is about 10.6 miles, which gets you back to the start at the 35K mark and the second section is a 5 mile out and back for the full 50K. 30 runners would complete the 50K on Saturday. The course was almost 100% single track trail and was marked very well this year and I managed to stay on the course for the entire race, however a couple of runners were not as fortunate. We had a couple of stream crossings that kept our feet wet for the majority of the day.

We started right on time at 0800. The first section was just over 5 miles to the first aid station and I was running at a very comfortable pace. The trail was mostly gentle hills that were fairly short and mostly runable. It took an hour to get to the first aid station. The trail continued toward the “swinging bridge”, however the course was changed slightly this year and the turn around was just short of the actual bridge. I reached the turn point in 1h:40m.

We retraced our steps back toward the start / finish line and I got back there in 3h:24m. I took about 3 minutes to refuel and refill the water bottle and then I was off on the 5 mile out and back. Leaving the aid station they told me I was in 8th place and despite my effort to move up in the standings, that is where I would finish. The second part of the course, in my opinion, is tougher than the first. I wanted to finish this section in 2 hours or less. I hit the 5 mile turn around at 4h:28m and pushed hard on the return trip. I was rewarded with exactly 2 hours on the second section for a finishing time of 5h:28m (results).

I am still finalizing the rest of the schedule for this year but it looks like it’s shaping up to be a busy season. My next race is the Holiday Lake 50K on 13 February. Once again this year I am racing in support of the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund. This is the third year that I will be supporting this great cause, over the past two years we have raised over $10,000.00 and hope that this year will be just as successful, our Marines deserve that. As I continue to pound out the miles on the trails I need to constantly remind myself that the Lord is my strength and that through His glory I can continue this mission. Run Strong.
Semper Fi and God Bless,
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