None. This will be my first year participating in the New River Trail Challenge. I am participating this year as a runner on a relay team, however I think it will make a nice solo event for a future year.
I'm looking for a 20 miler and a 26 miler for the two long runs this segment. My long runs have been mostly 16 milers for about a month now, so building endurance for the NRT 50k is critical for this 3 week segment. I'm only training to finish the NRT 50k, not to place well, but 31 miles is too far to just show up with out the proper conditioning.
The course primarily consisted of fine crushed gravel on a rails-to-trails former railroad bed. It was raining while I was running the course and water puddles were a consistent obstacle. The graphic below seems to me to be exaggerating the elevation changes since as I was running the course I only perceived that I was running on a flat to low-grade incline. Very similar to the Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon from week 3.
Although my focus for this event was largely limited to getting in a good training run in a race environment, this was in fact a team effort half iron equivalent triathlon. Our cyclist, Matt S. had some mechanical issues on the 40 mile bike leg so we lost some time with that, but he did get us to the T1 transition, so that counts the same as a win in my book. Our kayaker, Joe M., had a solid kayak time of just above 2 hrs for his 12.1 mile kayak leg and got us to T2 at around 2 o'clock.
I started the run leg in a steady rain and while it did taper off some at times it was a consistent element to contend with. I suspected the trail was mostly flat with slight, but steady incline, so I thought it was an excellent opportunity to hold a steady pace. I ran the first mile in the high 7's and tried to hold it, but I knew my recent training stats wouldn't support a prolonged effort at that pace. I figured if I could hold the 7's for 4 miles, drop to the 8's for the middle 5 miles and then cruise the last 4 miles in at a comfortable pace in the 9's then I would feel like I had a good training run for the NRT 50k coming up in 3 weeks.
I held the high 7's for 4 miles and was all too happy to drop into the 8's for the 5th mile. My pace and stride were starting to feel "locked in", so when the 9th mile was done I decided hold the 8's and even though it was a mental drain by mile 11 I was able to hold it all the way to the finish.
As a team, The Diesel Ninja-Pirates, we did come in last among the all male team competitors, but we did all reach our finish lines uninjured and had a good time even in somewhat miserable weather. With a finish time of 7:18:14 we have a solid shot at improvement in future years if we can keep the team and the event going in future years.
As an individual, I look at this event in differing perspectives. I know I can train to run this course in under 1h 40m and would consider that a good goal for a future run. Right now this was just a training run for my first ultra marathon coming up in 3 weeks, the New River Trail 50k (31 miles for the uninitiated), so my training has been focused on long, slow runs at easy paces with a focus on comfort. In that context I have to be thrilled that I was able to compete today at a steady pace on the high end of my recent training stats.
Garmin Data: HERE
(Will update here when full aggregated results are posted online)