This race took place on December 17, 2016 on the trails of First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. This would be my first flat course ultra marathon and the closest trail race from my house, so it was a win-win!
This would be my fourth ultra for the year, and the fastest course thus far. I was joined by Eric and Elisa on this run through the park.
The day started out in the low 40’s and windy., and a storm passed through the day before bringing a considerable amount of rain to our area. This made the temperatures perfect for a run through the park.
The course consisted of two out-and-back loops through the park starting at the Cape Henry Trailhead.
The race began promptly at 8:30. To create some separation before hitting the the trail, we had to run 3/4 mile down the main road and back. I took off way faster than I should have, so I could jockey for a good position on the trail. As I made my way back to the Cape Henry Trailhead, I felt good about my position.
The first 1/2 mile of the trail was probably the trickiest to navigate as I had to cross two large areas of sand. My gaiters typically do not do well at keeping out the sand, so I made a couple of over-extended strides to avoid the sand. I did not have any extra room for sand in my shoes. The next mile or so, I ran across of couple of bridges that traversed through some of the swampy lowlands. The first aid station was at the beginning of the main trail that leads through the park.
This part of the trail was hard-packed, flat, and wide enough for several runners to run side-by-side. After about a mile on this section we then took a left the White Hill Lake Trail. This felt more like trail running – roots and rolling hills – too bad it only lasted two miles. As I made my way back onto the Cape Henry Trail, I was able to pick up my pace to (~8:15) for the next mile, knowing once I entered the Osmanthus Trail my pace would slow down considerably. This part of the trail had several wooden bridges crossing over the swampy water. In some areas, the water was high enough to cover the bridge – normally not a problem, but with the freezing overnight temperatures portions of the bridges were frozen over. This made crossing them very tricky! Traveling these three miles were probably the toughest of the entire journey. This trail was a loop off of Cape Henry Trail, and the end was right next to the beginning. As I hopped back on the main trail I felt great – first quarter of the race was down. Now it was time to pick up the pace and head to the finish area and repeat the process all over.
My race started to take a turn for the worse around the 13-mile mark. I started to feel a hotspot on the ball of my right foot. Thinking here we go again, I knew this was going to alter my gait and affect my pace, but I plowed through trying to block out the pain. A couple miles later, I had no choice but to adjust my shoe to gain relief. This worked for a couple miles, but the pain was slowly getting worse after each mile. I searched each aid stations looking for some lube, but they only food and drinks.
As I reached the 20 mile mark, I could no longer block out the pain, and it was starting to destroy my focus. Over the next couple miles, I had walked a couple times on the outer portion of my foot hoping to reduce the pressure.
Prior to the start of the race, I set a goal of five hours, and as I entered the 29th mile I noticed I was going to beat it. So, being as competitive as I am, I picked up the pace, and I prayed the blister on my foot did not pop. Luckily, the blister stayed intact and I crushed my goal by seven minutes.
Overall, this was a great race! I will be back again in hopes of a better time and no blisters!
Eric’s Video – Link
|Data from Fexix3:
Distance: 30.7 miles
Avg Pace: 9:32/mi
Elevation gain: 679ft
|Official Race Data:
Overall: 35 of 240
M40-49: 10 of 51
Race Info: http://tidewaterstriders.com/seashore50K/
Two aid stations on the course, each passed multiple times, will provide fluids, sports drinks, and carbohydrate/protein snacks.
The following are the aid stations and approximate distances:
- 64th Street Aid Station – 2.9 miles
- Cape Henry Trail – Bald Cypress Aid Station – 7.2 miles
- Cape Henry Trail – Bald Cypress Aid Station – 10.2 miles
- 64th Street Aid Station – 14.5 miles
- 64th Street Aid Station – 17.7 miles
- Cape Henry Trail – Bald Cypress Aid Station – 22 miles
- Cape Henry Trail – Bald Cypress Aid Station – 25 miles
- 64th Street Aid Station – 29.3 miles
Drop bags will be available to runners at mile 16 near the start/finish. The race is not responsible for keeping drop bags dry so please plan accordingly. Drop bags left behind at end of the race will be transported to the post-race party. The race will not mail drop bags following the race, so any unclaimed items will be donated.