2 Races in 1 Day, 200 Miles Apart


I decided to end my best year of running by trying to attempt two races, separated by over 200 miles, on the same day.

The first race would be a 50K trail/cross country race in the morning with the second race being a road 5K later on that night.

I travelled down to Huntsville, Alabama the night before the Recover from the Holidays 50K to stay the night, catch up with my friend Naresh Kumar (who was running the race as well), and get some grub.

It’s always great spending time with Naresh, trading war stories, and exchanging Vol State 500K horror novels.  It’s truly amazing the 2011 that Naresh had in his Vibrams.  He did several amazing races that many runners will never be brave enough to enter much less finish.

The Recover from the Holidays 50K is a great event that had exploded with runners this year to a near-max of 150.  It’s $15 and features a cool finisher’s medal.  The race is always on the last day of the year, New Year’s Eve.

The RFH course is on a cross country course, which was more trail than XC in my opinion.  It consists of a 1 mile loop to start, followed by 10 three mile loops.  There is an aid/water table at the start finish that you circle every three miles.

The weather was great this year as I quickly shed my long sleeve shirt after the first loop. I felt good early on and went with it. I kept an eye on my overall pace as I continued to run the race one mile at a time using the lap pace on my Garmin set to 1-mile laps. This helps me focus on the mile I’m on and not getting lost in the big picture. It helps me to not throw miles away.

As each loop disappeared into 2011 I remained strong and kept trying to stay consistent without fading.

I ended up having a great race. I had only run a 50K twice before. Each time being the same trail race in Memphis.  My 50K PR was 5:59:59 coming into RFH.  On Saturday I finished the Recover from the Holidays 50K in 4:53:22.  It was a good running day so I was pleased.

After the race, I received my finisher’s medal, grabbed some pizza, changed clothes, and was on the road within 15 minutes.

It took about 3.5 hours to drive the 200 miles back to Tennessee. I didn’t really eat too much on the way as nothing tasted that good. I think I ate half a piece of pizza and a small bag of potato chips.

I made it to my house around 5:20pm. I had time to take a shower and lay down for about 15 minutes. I couldn’t sleep but didn’t feel great at the moment. I felt tired and worn down.  My wife asked me, “Are you sure you should run this race (5K)?”

I still was determined to run the Downtown Dash 5K that night in Jackson.  Jeff Keas was the race director of this race.  He was my youth minister as a teen.  He’s a good friend and one of my running mentors. We have lunch about once a week to talk running, and I really wanted to be at his race to support him and this first year event.

As I left the house I prepped myself mentally to run a 25 minute or slower 5K. I usually run a 5K in 19:45-20:30.  I knew after running 31 miles that morning that I’d be a good bit slower than my usual 5K times.

Nuun, Sport Beans, and a Roctane seemed to be the right combo. That along with seeing many friends before the start of the race seemed to return my system to normal.  I had done much harder running events than tackling a 50K and 5K in the same day, but I actually wanted to perform well at the 5K.  I didn’t want to just show up and jog an easy 3 miles.

The race started at 7pm and the field of nearly 150 runners took off into the cool night air.  I took off as I normally do at a 5K. I was about 1/3 mile into the race when I checked my pace at around 6:40. I wanted to run hard but play it smart. I kept the pedal mostly down throughout the race, but was smart to ease off enough at points as to not pass out and crash into the asphalt.

I was running strong when I got to the 2.5 mile part of the 3.1 mile race. I decided to up the intensity and see how many runners I could catch in the last half-mile.  I was able to track down 4-5 runners before finally reaching the finish line.  I had finished with a time of 21:07 officially and 20:58 according to my Garmin.

I was beyond pleased and excited that the race was over. I hung around for the awards ceremony to applaud some friends I knew had won their age divisions.  I was surprised when my name was called out for having won my age division.  The division wasn’t that deep in runners, but it was a great cap to a wonderful day of running.

It wasn’t my most challenging day of running, but my most successful of 2011. I had PR’d the 50K that morning by 66 minutes and won my age division at the 5K that night by running a 6:49 pace.

I hope all of you had a great 2011 and that you make new goals that you reach in 2012.

I also want to give a big thank you to everyone that supported Run It Fast in 2011 as it really gained speed and a nice following.

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- who has written 1049 posts on Run It Fast®.

Joshua Holmes has completed 150 marathons/ultramarathons while running 100+ miles 31 including races such as the Badwater 135, Western States 100, The Last Annual Vol State 500K (3x). His favorite races to date are the Vol State 500K, Badwater 135, Catalina Eco Marathon, Chimera 100, Across The Years, Savage Gulf Trail Marathon, Strolling Jim 40 Miler, Tunnel Hill 100, RUTS, EC100 and the Flying Monkey Marathon in his home state of Tennessee. Follow @bayou Google+

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One Response to “2 Races in 1 Day, 200 Miles Apart”

  1. Naresh Kumar says:

    It’s always fun catching up with you too Josh. 2011 has indeed been a great for year for all of us. That night, I remembered so much about Vol State. With no care or no worries, our only goal was to get to the rock and we did get there in one full piece. You are a great friend. Congrats for 4:53:22 finish at RFH. You shaved off over an hour and then running a 20min 5K. You are a champ!

    Looking forward to have a great running year ahead !!

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