Savannah Rails to Trails 50k

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My first race of 2015 was the Savannah Rails to Trails 50k. While it was in fact a race, my main goal was to get a nice supported long run done before the Coldwater Rumble 100 miler and to do so without the six layers of clothing required to run in the single degree temperatures frequently found in the midwest in January. The race also had the added bonus of being situated near Savannah, Georgia which is a great little town worth visiting.

My training leading up to Coldwater had been going well and averaging around 80-90 miles per week though I hadn’t run more than a marathon distance run since late November when I had paced a friend in a 100 mile race. My goals for this race were to run comfortably for the 50k (31 miles) and finish without injury/soreness allowing me to continue my training and buildup for Coldwater.

Race Overview

This is a smaller race put on by Dan Hernandez – a local runner and race director. It offers runners the option of a 50k, 25k or 50k relay via 7.75 mile loops starting at the Fort Pulaski National Monument. The loop includes a mix of pavement, grass, sand and crushed gravel without any real elevation change making the loops completely runnable yet offering enough variation to keep the runner from getting bored. The course also offers more than adequate support via two aid stations: one at the start/finish and another at the beginning of the out and back section (miles 3 / 7) of the loop.

Course

Race Recap

The park service was supposed to have opened up the facilities before the race but there had been a miscommunication so there were pretty long lines queueing for the port-a-potties. The race director delayed the start by about 15 minutes to allow everyone to complete their business before the race. The temperatures at the start were a bit on the cold side for the locals (approx 35 degrees) with expected highs in the mid 50s. That said, it seemed almost like summer weather for me having come from the single digit weather in Chicago. After the slight delay, we were off and running.

Loop 1: 1:11 – Started off nice and easy and shared some conversation with a bunch of local runners learning about some of their local races and training grounds.

Loop 2: 1:12 – Still easy – decided to drop my light jacket and gloves in favor of a running vest.

Loop 3: 1:13 – Still easy – had a really nice conversation with a local ultrarunner named Karen who’s running resume is beyond impressive! I also finally got lapped by the eventual first-place winner who had been running 6min miles absolutely cruising through the course.

Loop 4: 1:18 – Are we done yet? Other than a quick bathroom break and a couple short walk breaks, I held pace and kept chugging. My legs felt surprisingly fresh after the 31 miles leaving me with a bit of confidence leading up to my first ‘big’ race of the year. This was really my only loop where I slowed from my initial pace but at least 3-4 minutes were spent in a quick bio break so i’m pleased with the pacing.

My total time was 4:54 which was good for 13th place (10th male) out of 49 starters (26 guys).

My friend Elizabeth finished just after me and after grabbing a couple pictures, we were headed back to Savannah for a bit of post-race celebration and football watching.

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Gear

  • Hoka Stinson Lite shoes
  • Injinji socks
  • Brooks Sherpa shorts
  • Ultraspire Revolution pack
  • Garmin 910XT

And with that, the first race of 2015 is in the books. Two weeks until Coldwater.

Race web site: http://danlhernandez.com/r2t2014.php

Ultrasignup results: http://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=27505

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