Tag Archives: 26.2

New River Trail 50K Race Report

50K (31.1 miles) – not a race for the average runner. Over the years, I have always admired Ultra Runners, vowing to one day run more than just a marathon (26.2 miles). On October 8th, 2011 I completed the New River Trail 50K (Ultra-Marathon) in Fries, Virginia…AMAZING EXPERIENCE!

Over the last few months, my training consisted of a loose schedule of weekly runs, always ending with a long run either Saturday or Sunday. Balking many ultra training programs, I averaged 35 miles a week, focusing on quality over quantity. Additionally, I spent time in the gym working out with free weights three days a week. My longest run was only 18 miles; my ‘loose’ schedule included three 20+ long runs, though schedule and injury inhibited execution.

During race week, I took the taper seriously; consumed plenty of water and ate like a King. Friday afternoon, we (my friend and training partner Rasmus Eger Pedersen) departed for Galax, Viginia where we would spend the night before the early morning race start. When traveling to a new destination, you are always rolling the dice on a good meal the night before the race. During the drive up, we choose Ciro’s Pizza & Subs (Friday Night Pizza Buffet) in the beautiful town of Independence, Virginia. What a great decision! Not only was the staff friendly, but the homemade pizza was perfect. Following dinner we arrived at hotel in Galax, and were asleep by 9pm.

2011 New River 50K Pre-Race
2011 New River 50K Pre-Race, Rasmus on the left, Philip on the right

The morning came fast, and before we knew it, we were standing behind a chalk starting line with 122 other runners. Everyone was friendly and ready to start, especially those with minimal clothing. I don’t remember a gun going off, just 3, 2, 1, GO! As we took off, I ensured my watch started correctly, and settled into a comfortable pace. Before starting the race there were two goals; finish and stay under 4 hours, if 4 hours was not attainable due to other circumstances, just focus on finishing.

Packs began to form depending on pace. In our group there was myself, Rasmus, Brad Belfiore, and Matthew Cared. We chatted for a few miles, holding our pace consistently with what we were targeting. At mile 7, we all discussed stopping to take a quick urination break, as sticking together was important to us all. We all stopped…Matt kept going; we were down to a pack of three.

We continued together, refilling our water bottles at the mile 10 aid station…next aid station was the 15 mile turnaround, a place where we could recover what we placed in the bag drop. As we approached the turning point, leaders passed us in the opposite direction…we began to count others in front to gauge position. After a brief count, our pack of three was in position 10, 11, and 12. Mile 15 aid station was a quick stop; I exchanged water bottles and kept moving, there was no stopping as we had a goal to meet.

After the aid station, our pace varied, mostly in the sub 7:40 range due to adrenaline, and the notion we were headed back toward the finish..15 miles to go. As we passed other runners coming towards the turn, we congratulated them and said some words of encouragement. Around mile 20 our pack got quiet, each personally battling the beginnings of fatigue. Focusing on the beautiful scenery, and making small talk passed the time until mile 24 where we would stop for another urination break.

The last few miles were blurry and painful. Somehow, we managed to slightly pick up the pace (this was the only way to push through the burning sensation coming from our calves) and pass a few other runners that had slowed down. At mile 28 we secured positions 6, 7 and 8; JUST HOLD IT! Every step hurt, and the focus was solely on finishing and not stopping. About a ¼ mile from the finish our pack split up upon consensus; Rasmus kicked hard finishing 6th with a time of 3:55:29, myself 7th 3:55:39, and Bradley 8th 3:55:42…crossing the finish line never felt so good!


New River Trail 50K - post race "ice bath" in the New River...yes it was cold!
New River Trail 50K - post race "ice bath" in the New River...yes it was cold!

Ten minutes post race, we hobbled down to the river for an ice bath (speeds muscle and joint recovery), which did wonders. After drying up, we walked down to the Fries Community Hall and enjoyed homemade soup, bread, cookies and fruit; there is nothing like a home cooked meal after running a 50K!

Soup Line
Soup Line

The entire experience was truly memorable, and I would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to Annette Bednosky; New River 50K race director, Montrail UltraRunning team member and school counselor. Please check out her blog and/or drop her an email annettebednosky [at] gmail dot com.


2011 New River Trail 50K Results

Garmin GPS Watch Data

SunTrust Richmond Marathon Reflection

Dubbed “America’s Friendliest Marathon”, the SunTrust Richmond Marathon surely lived up to its name. With the sun shinning, marathoners were off promptly at 8am. During the first few miles, runners got comfortable and settled into pace. Around mile 6 we descended towards the James River. Before crossing the small bridge, a large crowd cheered us though, what an awesome party zone. The next couple of miles were next to the river, which offered great scenery and the ability to relax a bit. Miles 9-12 had some rolling hills, but were soon forgotten after 13-15 which was mostly flat.

Next we crossed the James River again via Robert E. Lee Bridge to break mile 16. The next few miles were all about adjusting pace and relying on crowd support. After mile 20 my legs signaled fatigue and I had to slow down. Even though miles 20-24 were flat, my legs were done, and I battled cramps combined with lower stomach pains. During the last 2 miles I made a final push and sprinted the down to the finish.

Even with my Boston Qualifier blown, I had a great race and achieved a new PR. Most importantly I had fun doing it, and will definitely return to run the Richmond Marathon again.

Would also like to recognize all the of the other runners from the Charlotte region that participated.  Théoden Jane did a great write up, so I am going to recommended his blog post.

Richmond Marathon – Let the taper begin

SunTrust Richmond Marathon logo

My last long run is officially done! Since the end of August, I have been training hard for Richmond Marathon on November 13th. There is a special goal behind all of the hard work… to achieve a Boston Qualifier (BQ). Granted this is only my second marathon, the goal is realistic.

The training approach for this marathon has not been about quantity, but quality miles, including various speed work. Here is a sample week from my training:

Monday –  Easy Run: 4 mi @7:31
Tuesday  – Rest / Cross-train
Wednesday  – Tempo Run: 6 mi Inc Warm 4 mi @6:17; Cool
Thursday – Rest / Cross-train
Friday – Rest / Cross-train
Saturday – Long Run: 20 mi @7:31
Sunday – Rest

As you can see, this is not a high-mileage program, allowing my legs received plenty of rest before my longest run. These adjustments have paid dividends, as all of my training runs have been solid. The true test will be on November 13th when I run the Richmond Marathon. Expecting  a flat course with heavy crowd support, let’s hope the weather cooperates.

See you in Richmond.

POST Marathon Reflection

13942_206696601191_533271191_2944757_3212058_nWith my first marathon in the bag, I wanted to do a brief reflection on my experience. Running 26.2 miles was amazing. The course was a great tour through Charlotte, and everything was organized very well. During the marathon I had great support from many friends, plus locals that came out to support the runners. Below are a few things that I will remember for next time…

1. Start out slower. My first 13.1 mile split was 1:37, and my finishing time was 3:34. The last half of the race I slowed down considerably. At mile 18 and mile 23, I had to stop and stretch due to leg cramps.

2. Stretch more before the start. Yes, I am guilty of not stretching before the race. I did go for a 10 minute jig-jog, and when I got back to stretch it was too close to the start, so I just lined up.

3. Better diet. The night before the marathon I ate a few pancakes and a couple pieces of bread. The morning of the marathon I ate a banana with half a bagel. Next marathon I will eat a bit more food to ensure extra calories are stored.

I wanted to extend a special thanks first to my wife Adrienne. She provided amazing support and dealt with my training program / diet for the last 4 months. Second, my parents who made the 5 hour drive to run in the 5k, and support me at the finish. Third I would like to thank the local Charlotte Running community for all the tips and support prior and during the marathon; especially Tony Jabon, Shelby Harrington, Ieva M. Augstums, Kristen Rigby, and Rasmus Eger Pedersen – thank you!


Marathon Ready

Well it’s officially 3 days before my first Marathon (Charlotte Thunder Road, Dec 12th). There is a lot going through my mind right now. I am going to sum up the feeling as anxiety & nervousness mixed with confidence. Over the past 4 months I have stuck to a strict intermediate I Marathon Training Program, provided by Hal Higdon- yet I still feel that I could be more prepared.

Workouts have been very light this week to continue tapering and avoid lactic acid build up.

Monday – Shoulders/core

Tuesday – 3 miles/stretch

Wednesday – 3 miles/stretch/core/light back

Thursday– Rest

Friday– 1 mile run/stretch

Saturday– *Marathon*

My legs feel ok, with the exception of my left quadricep and achilles, which I injured running in the mountains Thanksgiving morning. Today I actually went to a sport therapist for any relief prior to Saturday. Work was done in the area that was causing the pain (massage, electrotherapy) and kinesio tape was applied for comfort and stability.

Kinesio Tape
Kinesio Tape

Meals have been consistent with a normal week before a race.


Breakfast- Oatmeal peanut butter

Snack- Half a pomegranate

Lunch – Chicken & rice

Snack – Orange

Dinner-Pepperoni pizza (yes 5 slices)


Breakfast- Cheerios and milk

Snack- Nuts & apple

Lunch- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

Snack- Brownie

Dinner- Blackened chicken pasta with asparagus


Breakfast- 3 slices of French bread & butter

Snack- Nuts & blackberries

Lunch- Leftover blacken chicken pasta & asparagus

Snack- Brownie

Dinner- Lobster pasta with vodka sauce

Thursday – ?

Friday – ? But pancakes for dinner

Sound sleep is key tonight and Friday, so I am cutting this short.