Monday, October 29, 2012


Here's some rainy day reading...

As I mentioned in this morning's email, following his impressive come-from-behind win at the RM Classic, Dustin Meeker took home the Purple Drink Athlete of the Week.

In other weekend racing action, Brennan Feldhausen successfully defended his title at the Oktober Lauf Fest Half Marathon, with a little bit of fortune on his side. He was in second place heading into the technical trail section at mile 11, but when he emerged from the woods with a half mile to go, to his surprise, he was in the lead. Apparently the leader had gotten lost in the woods, which left Brennan with a clear shot to hit the finish line first. He crossed the line and explained to the race director what happened, and the RD simply said "that's racing." PJ Anderer was also running, and gunning for a PR (previous best 1:35). He went out at a reasonable, but quick, pace, clipping miles under 7 minutes on the way out. At the turnaround he slipped a bit, but held on for a 1:34:15 finish. Way to go PJ!

Also this weekend was Jim Adams' Ride and Tie event, held down in the Massanutten Mountains. Teams consisted of two human beings and a horse. Runner A would begin by running while Runner B rode the horse (Katie, the Wonder Horse) ahead on the trail. At whatever point they chose, they would dismount and tie the horse up, and beginning running themselves. Runner A would arrive, see the horse, and ride it ahead of Runner B. And so on, for 20 miles. Here's Jim's account of the event:

"I started off the race on the run and went about three quarters of a mile up the mountain before finding Katie the Wonder Horse tied to a tree. I passed Nathan, my training partner, a couple minutes later and told him I would tie the horse eight minutes later. By the way, we are running up trails way steeper than Hollins Road out of RE Lee Park.

I wound up running about two miles of the three, and we gained over 1,000 feet in the process, then down the backside. Katie was running some and we got a team that had a fifteen minute staggered start on us. Then I took a wrong turn and lost that gain.

We finally got into the Shenandoah Valley and were cruising on the River Road. Somewhere in here at a switch Katie stepped on my foot exactly where the surgery had been performed and the immediate pain was excruciating. I started running, figuring that if it was broken I would go down, or else the pain would eventually go away, which is what happened.

After a while we started climbing again. Suddenly Katie seemed to figure out that we were going back up the mountain and wanted no part of it. At the only horse water stop, she refused to drink. Nate took off while I tried to get her to drink something, but nothing doing. Then heading up the trail she just stopped. I had to get off and lead her. Nate, who is a large animal veterinarian specialist, said she was dehydrated but more so just tired and not having fun anymore.

We kept coaxing her up the hill...then we hit the rocks. This was a nasty, nasty area for man or beast. The only way we could get Katie to tiptoe through the rocks was to lead her, basically dragging her. Then we got to the top and the Shenandoah Valley fell away to the east with the Blue Ridge Mountains in fall color, and Fort Valley fell away to the west with the Massanutten in color, and the two rivers winding through the valleys, forest and pasture, and it was awesome to behold.

But Katie still hated the rocks and we were having a difficult time getting her to move forward. We could hear the Arabians coming up below us, they trot over the mountain rocks like they are in a grassy meadow. Then we caught up to the dun that we had lost several miles ago, and his rider was ticked. They did not know where the other runner was, their horse was acting worse than ours, and the Arabians were still trotting up the trail. By the way, this one was a 1,200 foot climb.

Nate got back on Katie and I took off...I got a long, long downhill without any rocks. After a mile and a half I had sand and rocks in my shoes and sat on a log to shake them out when Nate came rolling by on a rejuvenated Katie. I got my shoes back on and started chasing them down the hill. Maybe 1200 meters later Nate pulled up and started jogging. I was on Katie but he said to just take it easy, we had re-established such a big lead at the time that no one would catch us, and that part of the final score would be how fast Katie recovered pulse and respiration at the mandatory vet check at the end. So we came in at a very easy ten minute pace, and Katie passed vet check with flying colors.

Funny thing was, they were all over the horse about its health. Nobody cared that we were exhausted and dehydrated, I had a rolled ankle and a stomped foot, they just wanted to see if the horse was OK.

And that's the way it was. Enough for this year, but this is an event I am going to do again for sure."

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