Update: Click here for the 2007 race results of both the 50k and the 23k.
Well, I ventured beyond the marathon today. I was 5th place at the Pisgah 50k Mountain Trail Race in 4:27 and change. My watch had 4:22:38, but I stopped it while I was jawing with the aid station workers and refilling my water bottle a few times. The winner was about a half hour ahead of me. He pulled ahead of me in the first 7 or 8 miles or so and I never saw him again.

I had no idea what to expect, given that I’ve never run more than 28 or 29 miles at once, only gone over 30 miles a few times between two runs, never raced more than 10k on trails (that were generally easier and flatter), never run more than 15 miles on trails before, was sick Friday night, and had a migraine the morning of the race.

The goal was somewhere between 4:00:00 and 4:30:00, since I did not think I’d be able to run faster than that. The longest that I have run for the past few months are a couple of 14 and one 15 miler; I didn’t really have time to build my mileage up after deciding to run this and didn’t taper for it at all.

Since the first 30 minutes were in a torrential downpour, I am surprised my feet are not more beat up than they are. I didn’t get any blisters until after the aid station at mile 25. I got some wicked chafage from the wet shorts, but my muscles feel fine. They were really sore when I finished the race, but after eating and stretching and walking around they started feeling fine. I drove about a third of the way back to Maine without any trouble. I guess that’s one of the advantages of trail racing.

I definitely need to work on my hill ascension and descending on technical trails, though. It is much much different than doing it on roads or on easy trails without rocks or roots. I now see what the guys I run with mean when they talk about your toes jamming into the front of your shoes. I did run a few of the descents hard; one in particular where I was chasing somebody that had just passed me was scary as hell since it was full of rocks and roots and loose dirt. Thankfully, there was no bridge at the bottom. Those bridges on the course were wood and wet, and may as well have been ice.

There were 15 trees blocking the path. This doesn’t count any that I could run under (ducking the head didn’t count), that were not fully blocking the path, that had had any part cut out of them, that had had the trail routed around them, or that I didn’t have to break stride to get over. At least 9 or 10 of them were in the first hour.

I will have a full race report in the next day or two; those are just the quick impressions I can think of off of the top of my head from the race. More details to follow, most likely once the official results are available online as long as it doesn’t take too long.

Now we will see how quickly I can recover and whether the strength that I hopefully built from this race gets me to my Autumn race goals. Those include running sub-17:28 5k on Wednesday (just because I want to see if I can and see if I can improve my near certain chances of winning free shoes for a year), running a sub-16:00 5k at Elliot in 3 weeks because I haven’t done it yet, and running a sub 2:40 marathon at Marine Corps, also because I haven’t done it and I’m pissed that I screwed up my race in Boston this past Spring. The only other race I plan on running is a cross country race in mid-October.

So how were all of your weekends?