Running should feel natural

Running should feel natural

Monday, April 28, 2014

Promise Land 50k, Picture Heavy Race Recap

Location: Bedford, VA
Finish Time: 6:40:31
Date: April 26, 2014

Race # 3 in the Beast Series.  My goal was just to knock this one out.  Only 4 days after running Boston I wasn't sure how my legs would feel and I just wanted to remain injury free.  Fortunately everything was feeling solid and I was able to tackle the extreme climbing and inevitable downhill running.  Since I was using my Mountain Hardware ultra-running vest I carried a cheapie camera of mine along for the ride.  We got to camp out at race HQ which was perfect for such an early start time.  Too bad it was so windy that night -most people struggled to get 3 hours of sleep!

The start of the Promise Land 50k, promptly at 5:30am!  This was perfect really, we were only running in complete darkness for half an hour, and it allowed us to finish early in the day.  I couldn't believe the crowd of easily over 400 runners!

After we started up the gravel road outside the Promise Land youth camp a quick look back revealed all the headlamps runners used to light their way.  Looks kind of like 1-eyed aliens!

After our first significant climb things evened out just in time for the sun to come up.  It was light out but the sun still hadn't peaked above the ridge line just yet.

Here comes the sun!  Then once we crossed over the Blue Ridge Parkway we headed back down the other side of Apple Orchard Mountain.

At the bottom we ran on about a mile of pavement - I like single track trails better!

Now back in the woods we continued the run through great sun-soaked scenery.

Yes, I even had time for a "selfie"! I kind of hate myself for saying that...

This course rocks! No, literally, there were tons of rocks as is the norm in the weathered mountains of the blue ridge.  At least some rocks resembled steps!

Up, up, up we went, speed-hiking back up Apple Orchard Mountain.  About 2/3 of the way up was the spectacular Apple Orchard Falls.  It looks a lot bigger in person!

The next portion had a seemingly endless staircase to the next gravel road crossing.  Then it ended, with 0.9 miles of trail left to the aid station at the top!

Though the downhill was quite the relief for the last few miles, my quads were really feeling the pounding, especially only 4 days removed from running Boston.  The camp was probably the coolest spot I've camped out for a race yet.  Right in the shadow of the mountain!

The elevation profile is daunting, over 7,000 ft of gain/loss. I know there are comparisons to the measly elevation of the Boston Marathon, however, you have to remember that you are supposed to be running the whole time (and rather fast I might add) at Boston.  Actual distance of the race was closer to 34 miles.  Another awesome Horton race, filled with infamously long "Horton Miles".

We had a great post-race cookout before the long drive back to Northern Virginia.  Extra extra thanks goes out to all the enthusiastic volunteers who not only refueled my supplies but also boosted my morale!


  1. nice work, way to bang it out after Boston! I had to skip this one as well but things are looking good now! see you at there!