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John Holmes Trail Run 2011 - Race Report

  • Wednesday, October 12 2011 @ 02:15 AM UTC
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Running and Fitness

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Every race is different.

Last year I ran this race barefoot and had a blast, despite ending up with very sore feet. This year when I returned to the Brooksville, Florida area to run the John Holmes 16 Mile trail run, I opted to wear shoes. I wore a slightly used pair of Altra Instincts that I borrowed from a friend (thanks Matt C.!). As I become more performance-oriented in my racing, I am tending to want a little more protection around my feet on race day.

The 50k runners started at 7am. The 16 Mile race that I ran started an hour later. The 16 Mile course consists of a short run down the road to spread out the runners followed by two loops of mostly single-track.

The eventual winner (Brandon Dahlem) took off from the start. The leader disappeared by the time we hit the single track. Somehow I found myself cruising along in 2nd place, leading a small pack of runners. I skipped the first aid station. Then we hit the first group of hills. By the time we hit the 2nd aid station I had dropped all but one of the runners behind me. I took my time at the 2nd aid station, drinking a cup of water and gatorade (I continued this drinking strategy for the rest of the race since I ran without carrying any water). The 2nd aid station is where this runner (Hector Guzman) passed me and I was never able to catch him. He slowly got out of sight and I didn't see him for the rest of the race. He finished 2nd overall. I didn't see any of the other 16 Mile runners for the rest of the race. There were very long portions where I didn't see ANYBODY.

I was definitely hurting by the time I finished the first loop and hit the aid station. The race organizers were taking pictures here:

Excuse the huge grin, I think I must have been overcompensating due to being out of breath and hurting. I was definitely having fun, but by this point it was pretty clear to me that I had gone out too fast. I suffered through the last loop of the course. I was in 3rd place and wanted to keep it! I had trouble gauging my pace. On the second loop I kept passing 50k runners, but I really couldn't tell how fast or slow I was going. I was sure that someone was going to catch me, which kept me pushing forward, but nobody ever did.

I remember one woman who sounded a little frustrated yelling "are you even SWEATING?!!!" as I passed her. I definitely was sweating and the effort to keep moving was pretty high.

I developed a blister in between my big and second toe. I think I left my shoes a little too loose. I wore regular socks rather than Injinji toe socks, which confirms the notion that next time I race I should wear toe socks. The Instincts performed very well even on the loose sandy sections of the Croom hiking trails, but I'm sure the footing contributed to the blisters.

I'm happy with my finish time and place. I was 3rd overall, top of my age group, averaged 8:10 per mile for a finish time of 2 hours 10 minutes 55 seconds. This was a little over 20 minutes faster than I ran the same course last year.

After the race I enjoyed a nice juicy hamburger:

I'm not sure if I will ever run an ultramarathon. If I do decide to run an ultra, the John Holmes 50k will be high on my list of choices. Cheers again to race director Jim Bodoh for putting on a quality event.
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