Land Between the Lakes 50 Mile, Grand Rivers, KY 3,3

Elevation: 354'      Elevation Gain:  3966'
March 9, 2013 - At a gripping 43 degrees with a slight breeze off the lake,
nine hundred of us colorful runners assembled behind the stone wall at
the Lighthouse Landing on the shore of Lake Kentucky to peer into a
beautiful rising orange blazing sun through dozens of masts of sailing craft 
in the harbor, awaiting the start of our trail run between the lakes.  Four
events would begin together - 23K, Marathon, 60K, and 50M - heading south
on the main road for the first two miles from the little town of Grand Rivers 
to reach an 11.3 mile single track trail loop where we would test our mettle
and conditioning on this fine day.


I dressed warmly, despite the forecast for 64-degree temperatures later in 
the day, and was glad I did.  With chilly breezes off both Lake Kentucky and
Lake Barkley all day long I never felt overdressed.  After an eleven-hour
drive on Friday and a restless night sleeping in my rental car, my legs were
feeling tired from the beginning and it felt like it would not be the best of
racing days.  Nonetheless, putting my head down I got into queue once we
hit single track and moved along crisply with many runners who would call it
a day long before I would.

The pace seemed a little faster than I would have chosen, but I was able to
maintain better than 6 mph on undulating rooty trails through the first lap to
complete the first loop at 13 miles in total in a tad over two hours, despite
one nasty fall and the taste of blood early.  With each loop the field thinned
a bit as runners siphoned off to return back to Grand Rivers to finish their
shorter races.  Keeping a steady gait I ran through the first three of the four
loops, gradually losing my tempo and walking more on the hills, hitting the
deck twice on each loop.  Still, at five hours I had covered about 29 miles.
Not too bad. 


While I felt okay, I did back off a bit during the last third of the race, feeling
confident I was well within the range of a ten-hour finish.  Keeping my feet
under my center of gravity and my pulse down kept me from falling during
the final loop with a more relaxed tempo.  Nonetheless, I pulled back a lot
of runners during the last go-round as many a younger athlete succumbed to
fatigue and inexperience.


The course was quite enjoyable, well maintained but quite rooty, winding
back and forth through the woods, wrapping itself around the watersheds
that drained into the coves and inlets on the shores of both lakes.  There were
some nice bluffs and overlooks to enjoy the broad expanse of this beautiful
place.  There is an art to being able to enjoy the scenery while watching for
roots.  Usually, by the end of an event I generally recover my mastery of this
skill; sometimes even being able to hold coherent conversation at the same time. 

Lots of good people here.  Aid stations were super.  Could have run further
had the race been longer, but always glad to be heading to the finish when
the day is done.  In retrospect, I ran the first loop with enthusiasm and
abandon, then ran the other three loops on experience and conditioning.
The finish was 3.5 miles on the road to get back to Grand Rivers.  This part
of the event I ran with a killer competitive instinct, honed from years on the
roads and track.  It felt good to cut loose at the end of a fifty miler.  After
passing perhaps fifteen runners on the road to the finish, I eased across the
line in about 9:40:45 (51st place of 122 finishers) in good stride to collect a 
nice race buckle.

Satisfied?  Yes.  Not a PR, but a really smart race on an off-day.  Not too bad
for a guy who recently celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of his thirtieth
birthday.  Two weeks and onto the next fifty-miler in Phoenix.  Rock On!!!