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2014-04-12 - Bull Run Run 50 Miler

~45 miles @ ~16.5 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_00_0625am_z.jpgAt 6:25am, as the day begins to dawn, the finish line clock glows cheerfully at the 22nd Bull Run Run. It's five minutes until the start.
Today is my seventh BRR, and although the weather is warm overall conditions are good. Runners in the initial spread-out-the-field loop cruise past a pond near Hemlock Overlook nature center, tiptoeing gingerly to avoid wet feet during the first mile.http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_01_reflected_runners.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_01_z_williams.jpgAt mile 1 we return to the start, and it's already time to joke about stopping. Gayatri Datta (visible in the background) and Barry Smith are trying their first BRR. (Photo by James Williams.)
Water levels are low but shores are still muddy from recent rains at the steam crossings. This one is Little Rocky Run, about 4 miles into the race. (Photo by Mike Bur.)http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_04little_rocky_run_z_bur.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_15_barry_smith_z_fabia.jpgBob Fabia photographs Barry Smith and me mugging for the camera at mile ~15, crossing Popes Head Creek on the way back toward the start-finish area.
At mile 16 the BRR course returns to Hemlock Overlook where runners can refuel and rethink their race plans. After a leisurely time eating and talking with aid station volunteers I head out, posing for photos. This is where friends Stephanie Fonda and Marshall Porterfield get far ahead of me, with their superior aid station discipline (and superior speed as runners!).http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_16_caution_slow_z.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_26_fountainhead_z_nguyen.jpgHai Nguyen takes one of the best photos of me today at mile ~26, coming into the Fountainhead aid station, when momentarily both feet appear to be off the ground and there's the illusion of actually running.
Near mile 32, in the middle of the "Do Loop", an abandoned car is decorated with a Hello Kitty balloon, a topless mannequin, and other bizarrities. At this point, and for most of the previous 16 miles, I'm running alone, pausing to take occasional selfies. Comrade Ken Swab has been far ahead of me almost all day, but the heat has gotten to him and I catch up a few miles later at the return to Fountainhead. Tough Ken goes on to finish the race, however, in spite of nausea and other stress.http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_32_Hello_Kitty_z.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_50a_z_behm.jpgApproaching the finish line, it's a good time to (attempt to) sprint and show some spirit. Official time is 12:24:45, the median of my 7 BRR finishes. In the last few miles I catch up with Barry Smith, who took a wrong turn, missed a chunk of the course, and therefore honorably withdrew from the race. (Photo by Diane Behm.)
Horrible posture, shaking hands with one of the race officials immediately after finishing, but perhaps I'm just coming up from bowing to him? Overall I'm in 238th place of 276 finishers.(Photo by Diane Behm.)http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_50b_z_behm.jpg
http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/BRR_2014_mile_50c_z.jpgThe Quote of the Day is by 22-time Bull Run Run finisher Tom Green, when I catch up with him about halfway through the race: "Mark! Whenever I see you, I know I'm having a bad day!"

The Garmin GPS shows details of pace, elevation, and course. As usual, it estimates total BRR distance as ~45 miles.

(cf. Bull Run Run 2007, Bull Run Run 2008, 2009-04-18 - Bull Run Run, 2010-04-10 - Bull Run Run, 2011-04-09 - Bull Run Run, 2013-04-13 - Bull Run Run 2013, ...) - ^z - 2014-05-24