Along the journey leading to the Georgia Jewel 100, the weekend came for The Landsford Canal 50K. Claude Sinclair (RD) and his wife Martha always do a superb job putting on this race. I like it because Claude has it measured out to exactly the 50K distance - no guessing about it being long or short. It's just a show up & run event - just the way it should be.
Christian, Wayne, Annie & myself left my house for the race early on Saturday morning around 4:30 and faced the normal roadblocks trying to get to the race. Creepy Waffle House characters, seemingly impossible driving directions, and constantly sweating the clock wondering if we would make it in time. Just normal race day stuff - before you even get to the race itself.
The race itself takes you around the park about 7 times on a 4+ mile loop. 75% road, 25% trail. There is one section of hill climbing for about a mile and the rest is pretty much flat.
Claude has the ability to make hills grow during each lap of his race.
I went out strong and fast with Kelley, Wayne, Christian and some other runners that I would normally never see until they are waiting for me to finish after a race. I hit a 2:20 half marathon split and reminded myself that this was a training run and I really needed to slow down. I started working in extra walk breaks, even on the flats while hoping to feel fresh and able to continue running after the race was over (my style of 100 mile training).
This worked well after the 4th lap as I ran & walked the exact some spots on the course each loop all the way into the finish.
One of my highlights of the day was running with Bill Weimer who was celebrating his birthday with all sorts of physical feats of endurance over the weekend. I didn't realize that he is a 10+ year cancer survivor. I'm glad I was able to hear his story - it made my day.
Sometimes you get more from a race by simply listening instead of running.
Many of us who had ran this race before couldn't help but reflect on Angela Ivory as we moved along. She ended her battle with cancer a little over a year ago and her legacy lives on in many of our hearts. I challenge you to read her final blog post - it will make you want to live your life to the fullest today. She was a beautiful person and I cherished the memories of seeing her jog along that old forest road along the canal.
After sharing a few more miles with Drew Walker, I finally made it to the final lap and I was so glad to finally be finishing. In my opinion this loop course is much tougher on you mentally than any other I've ran.
I ended up finishing with a 6:27 which ends up being a 12:29 min/mile pace average for the race. I feel like this is exactly where I need to be in my training and look forward to improving my fitness over the next two weeks for Laurel Valley.
Gotta shout out to Weezy who busted up six hours with a 5:55. We're running the Jewel together so it's encouraging to see him hit a 50K PR at this point.
Here are the GPS stats if you're interested: