Supporting running in the metro Richmond area
So far I have found two:
The North Face Endurance Challenge 50k in Sterling VA June 5 (3500 feet of elevation changes thoughout the course)
and the New River Trail 50k in Fries VA on October 8th (2200 feet elevation, with about 150 feet overall elevation change)
Has anyone ever done either and could give me some feedback on what it was like?
A little background on me to see if my training is adequate for this type of race:
Started running in June of 2010 and have run over a thousand miles
Have run 1 official Half Marathon (McDonald's) and 1 official Marathon (Shamrock)
Like trail running, but run mostly on asphalt.
Typically run 25+ miles per week.
While training (on my own) for the marathon was running 30-35 miles per week.
I plan to start training almost exclusively on trail running to prepare.
Thoughts, comments, advice, criticisms?
I too have been looking at adding a 50K in the future but I am easing my way into the challenges they have to offer; I am more concerned about the elevation than the distance. You are smart to run trails in preparation. Here is a link to some shorter trail races that I looking at doing before I tackle a 50K. http://www.mountainjunkies.net/ I am looking at 05/07/11 – 4th Trail Nut 10k/13.1M and 06/05/11 – Conquer the Cove Trail 25k and Marathon
Thinking about doing the 1/2 and the 25K. If all goes well I will continue to train and then perhaps try a longer distance. There is also XTERRA Richmond 10K and Richmond 21K on 11 June. Also Maymont X-C festival Sep 24-25th. All I have ran for trail races is Bear Creek 10Miler which was relatively flat and it kicked my butt and that was after running the Richmond marathon.
Congrats on your running success and best of luck as you train for greater challenges. Thanks for posting the New River Trail 50k looks like a nice fall possibility.
Thanks for the reply. Those races look challenging. But they have me thinking that it would be a good idea to do them and get used to some elevation as well as hill climbs in races etc. I think the 1/2 and then the 25k would be a good idea.
Also entering local trail running races would be good too. I have never run a trail "race" so to experience trail running in the race environment would be a good idea.
I think I will shoot for my original goal of the New River Trail 50k in the Fall. I don't believe I will be ready for the Endurance one in just 2 months, distance wise maybe, but trail wise probably not. Don't want to push it and get hurt.
BTW, I see from your profile that you live in Chesterfield and run Pocahontas. I wan to run there, but haven't yet. Do you do the Fendley Station Trail? If so, how is it. I plan to start doing my long runs there and some short runs there and at Rockwood Park as well.
Pocahontas is a great place to run and one of the reasons I live so close. I have run the 13.3 mile Fendley Station Loop several times. The trail is well groomed with some rolling hills as are all of the trails in pocahontas. If you want to get some more challenging trails there are some single track bike trails as well. There are a few decent hills throughout the trails at pocahontas but nothing too tough. There are a few hills and sections that I run repeats on that make me think twice. I also get out to buttermilk/north bank/belle isle loop once a week since being introduced to those trails about 8 weeks ago. The nice thing about pocahontas is that I can plan my long runs around reliable water fountains/wells and restrooms throughout the parks camping and picnic areas. Before I knew the trails well I had gotten turned around and found myself doing more miles than planned so take note of your right and left turns.
I totally agree with Carlton, trails are the way to go. My legs, joints etc feel so much better than when pounding the pavement. I do about 90% of my mileage on soft surfaces. It has greatly improved my road racing as well.
Here are the link for the Pocahontas trails.
http://www.gpstrailsource.com/maps.aspx?MapID=8&TabID=3 (easier to plan a run off this site)
Depending on where you live I find it more convenient to park at one of the park&ride/run lots along the parks perimeter roads (courthouse (loop forest trail), qualla (Horton Forest Trail) etc. BTW I do have a Pocahontas park pass it is just too inconvenient to drive to the beach road main entrance. Just sayin'.
You may also want to take a look at the Trail Running Group and Ultra Group here on RRRC.
I'm fairly new to ultras (only two 50Ks so far...longer races to come later this year). There are many Richmond area runners who are veterans at ultras, but I am happy to share from my limited experience. I think you can probably handle a 50K if your first marathon went really well, but you might want to get at least one more marathon under your belt before attempting an ultra. (I'd run 15 or 16 marathons before attempting an ultra) If you don't want to enter another marathon, I recommend doing a few training runs of 25 - 28 miles. You want your first experience with the ultra distance to be enjoyable, not a death march to the finish line if you're having a bad day.
Trail running is the way to go. I run most of my miles on trails. They are easier on your joints and work a lot more muscle groups because of the need for you to maintain stability.
You can find many ultra races listed here: http://www.ultrarunning.com/calendar.html
I had a great experience with the Seashore 50K in VA Beach as my first 50K. http://www.tidewaterstriders.com/schedule.html It's in December which gives you a little more time to prepare. It's reasonably flat and the trails have good footing (unless there is snow/ice of course). If you really like the distance and handle it well, you can follow it up with the RRRC's Willis River 50K race in January, which is challenging. There is enough recovery time between the races.
I've found the following link to be really helpful. It lists many of the ultra races in Virginia or nearby states by date. Each race has a short description.
I have run the New River Trail 50K 2 of it's 3 years. It is flat as a pancake! A good choice for a first 50K.
It's on a "rails to trails" course with good aid stations and overall good organization. (One interesting segment where you enter an old railroad tunnel that bends around and is somewhat dark so you don't see the other end right away.)
The only drawback from my perspective is that it is not on single track trails nor does it have any technical parts or hills. This means I felt obligated to run, run, run - while on a tougher course I look for excuses to walk.
Check out the VHTRC.org (Virginia Happy Trails Running Club) for more 50K listings on their calendar.
I always look at the http://www.ultrarunning.com/calendar.html site too. The races with a Terrain rating of 1 are all pretty flat. I agree that running on flat trails takes less out of you than road marathons. Also, the tempo of ultras is slower than marathons so I think that if Shamrock went well, which I know it did, then you can handle any of the flat ultras. Rod, Keith and I ran Dahlgren last year and it was pretty enjoyable. Like the New River Trail 50K it is a rails to trails race so it's really flat. The only down side is that it's in August - I think it was in the 80s that day, but it started off cooler and the entire course is pretty shaded so it wasn't bad. I haven't run the New River Trail 50K, but it sounds like a good goal. Another site worth checking out is http://athletic-equation.com/Home.html
Check out the endurance trail races. They have 3 each year and they're based on time, not distance, so they're a great way to try organized trail events without being locked in to a certain distance. They're pretty well organized. I'm going to do as many of these as I can fit into my calendar - they're fun. I've done two so far. Sara, Rod, Keith and I ran the 12 HR race in the fall and it couldn't have been better - nice fall day hanging out in the park. We ran laps around an 6-8 mile loop - back at the parking area they were cooking up all sorts of food all day and we had chairs and coolers where we just hung out between laps.
Ralph- I got into running 50ks because I had a few bad marathons, I had run three and never got the time I had planned on. My reasoning to run a 50k was to make the 26.2 miles not as daunting. The reason I keep running them is I enjoy the distance and the more relaxed atmosphere that surrounds many ultras. One good thing with a 50k is you can complete one with a good marathon plan.
I ran New River last year and had a great time! It is a bit of a drive but the race is very organized and the townfolk put on a great after race meal. Like Kevin said it is a rails to trails(R2T) course and when you are driving to the start you will think it is going to be a hilly course. Since it is R2T there is no more than a 2%-3% incline/decline at any point. The only problem I had was a mental issue(no comments from those that know me) it looked to me that it was 2-3% up all the way on the way out, so I was happy that there would be a decline on the way back-somehow that did not happen and I felt like there was more inclines on the way back. Again a mental thing and I was very pleased with my time. The race starts next to the New River and there is plenty of space to camp out in a tent and the cold water of the river to get into after the race. It is a great 1st time 50k! But Kevin is right that you do feel the need to run the whole thing.
I do not think I would recommend North Face as your first one-I paced a friend that did the 50 mile option and it was much more technical and it was hot as ... I ran part of the course with a friend while I was waiting to pace and I had to walk several of the hills and I was on fresh legs! When I was pacing there were some rock areas that I had to use my hands to crawl over. If you like that type of thing then go for it.
Carlton mentioned another one-Seashore in December. I have run that the last two years and I have a blast each time. The first year was interesting and the course had to be altered due to rain, this past one had more technical aspects but was still fun.
Good luck and let me know if you have more questions.
NF50k is an excellent first 50k. It is basically flat and fast, and very runable. They also give you lots of time to finish. There is a 7 mile (you will do twice as it is an out-n-back) single track section that is a bit rolling. Last year was extremely HOT HOT HOT! It knocked alot of experienced runners on their backside.
Check out the Ultra running group under "group" on the menu up above.
Biggest thing is to learn about what is different running road vs ultras. You need to be able to carry fluids and food. You need to understand your body and what you need to do when "things" go bad. You have to learn to manage you fuel intake and your energy expenditure.
We love new Ultra runners....come join the party.