Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Allegheny Front Trail Run 50k

So this past weekend I ran the Allegheny Front Trail Run 50k.  It starts at the Mid-State Regional Airport near Philisburg, PA (not far from State College), and much of it is on single track of the Allegheny Front Trail, as well as some road, dirt road, and grassy trails. 

I made the trip early Saturday morning with my girlfriend Allison and my friend Rob.  Allison was just coming off an illness so wasn't sure if she was going to run, and Rob was looking for a PR and a sub-7 after his last 50k was Oil Creek where he hobbled to the finish on a bum ankle in 8+ hours.  My goal was a sub-5.  I made that a goal without knowing much about the course.  I just figured it was a good number, and would be a PR for me. 

So the race and the race organization was nothing to write home about.  A few people got lost on the course.   There were a few intersections where I myself could have easily gotten lost, but I just happened to make the correct choice on where to go, based solely on luck. 

photo by Shannon Niess

photo by Shannon Niess

We started off on the roads, probably going a little bit too fast before hitting the single track.  The two guys in front started to peel away after two or three miles, and I was hanging in the #4 spot with the #3 guy for a little bit until we came into an aid station.  I stopped for aid, he flew right through, and I didn't see him again for most of the race. 

photo by Shannon Niess

So, I ran along.  The trail is relatively fun and interesting, much of it is pretty runnable.  I walked some of the steeper hills.  Miles 17-20 were terrible.  It was a long, grassy, gradual uphill.  It wasn't so steep that I could walk, but it was tedious enough that I would run for a few minutes and then take a 10-second walk break, and repeat as necessary.  Finally I get to the top and loop around to an aid station.  It was here that I found out that the lead runner got lost.  So I leave the aid station to loop back around and go back down the long grassy hill.  Coming back down was pretty fun, and much faster obviously.  On the way down I saw Rob, and he said he wasn't feeling too good.  I probably called him a pussy as I usually do (for motivational purposes of course), and kept on going.   

Also, while I was running down that hill, a woman told me that I was in 2nd place.  So either she didn't know what she was talking about, or both #1 and #2 got off course enough for #3 to take the lead and for me to slip into the #2 spot. 

So around mile 23 or so I was feeling pretty good and I picked up my pace a little bit for a few miles.  And then around mile 27 or 28 I see the #3 guy that was in front of me way back in the beginning!  So I try to pick it up a little more and sneak by him, but as soon as he notices me behind him, he turns on the burners.  Damn!  I was hoping that he was hurting and that I'd be able to get by, but he must've been lollygagging a little bit because he definitely picked up the pace.  I tried to keep up, but he was slowly pulling away.   A little less than a mile before the finish, he went the wrong way and I went the right away, so I was in the lead for a short time only to have him blow by me again. 

So I ended up finishing in second place, 13 seconds behind the leader!   I need to work on my finishing kick.  Doh!!

Finish time was 4:52!  I got my sub-5 goal, and my buddy Rob came in under his 7 hour goal as well!  Allison stayed back and was an awesome cheerleader and photography.  It was a fun day! 

photo by Allison Jeric

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1 comment:

  1. You're awesome! Congrats on a PR and a great race. I'm proud of you. Glad I got to be a small part of it. <3