2014 Seashore 50k - Out For A Sub 5 Finish Time!

This is the amazing group of individuals that I had the pleasure of taking part of this 2014 event with! Melissa Carlson and Fran Dunn, my pre race dinner compadres did not make the photo shoot but were also apart of this amazing group as well and for them it was their first 50k distance!

As for me, it was my fourth run of the 50k distance and my third running of the Seashore! All accounted for, this was my 13th marathon/ultra since turning 40 only 3 short years ago. Yup! 13 in 3 years.. I can hardly believe it myself. Running simply changes everything and running, pretty much has changed my life! It's what I love, it's what gives me confidence, it's what gives me a sense of accomplishment! Running... pushes me! It brings me hope, it has brought forth my dreams and given me passion. It's brought some of the nicest and most thoughtful people into my life. People I am proud to call friends. Running. A forward motion... a freedom... a love affair!

So this was the race I really had been looking forward to all year. I had to defer in 2013 due to an injury sustained... in fact, many races were deferred in 2013 from injuries. 2013 was not a good year. 2013 only brought about 480 miles of running that year and many races on the calendar left unattended!

My 2014 Race Calendar before Seashore.
  • Jingle Bell 5k - 12/13/2014
  • Graveyard 100k - 11/22/2014
  • Goose Creek 10 Mile Trail - 11/15/2014
  • OBX Marathon - 11/9/2014
  • Medoc Trail Marathon - 10/18/2014
  • Rock & Roll Half Marathon - 8/31/2014
  • Flying Pirate Half Marathon - 5/2014
  • Shamrock Marathon 3/2014

2014 came with the philosophy that races would be done for fun, for enjoyment, no PR's would be attempted and by all mean no injuries would be reoccured! Up until this race, my philosophy would remain true. All marathons were expected to finish at a sub 4 only, Half's, a sub 2, no more expectations than that. Enjoy the run. Stay healthy! But THIS race... the Seashore 50k.... something was tugging at me about this one...

Of the four 50k's I had run, I had never come in sub 5 hours. Always shortly after. I needed to beat the 5 hour mark. Why? I don't know... I just had too.

I had run the Seashore in 2011 and 2012. In 2013 (when I deferred) they had changed the course. Okay, no big deal...

I woke up that morning feeling really good. I got up & prepared my running kit and my fuel. I hit the the road. On the elevator down to the lobby I met a participant who was running this distance  for the first time. I wished him good luck and we were both on our way!

I met my fellow OBXer's at the start and we all hit the trails as the gun when off!

I knew I needed at least a 9:30 overall pace to hit the sub 5 hours I was looking for... my first and only PR expectation of 2014. It was really important to me. I do not think anyone realized just how much. I needed this.

The race started and I was feeling great. I had taken my UCAN 25 minutes prior and I was well primed. I talked with my friend Scott Dean along the way for a while until we separated eventually and then met some other runners along the way. It's amazing who you can meet during the course of an ultra marathon event. It's something about the trails.. it's different than a road marathon. People talk to each other... it just seems like a different culture to some degree.

Anyway, as we approached mile 7 or so we entered into a single track track trail, a 3 mile loop, I share some great conversation with Jeff from Portsmouth, and another fellow, that both served in the armed forces and I made sure to thank them for their service to our country!  As we came out of the single track approaching the next aid station, I quickly saw a runner move into a trail and for some reason, I followed... directly after being distracted by the voice and sight of a dear friend and extreme 100 mile ultra marathon finisher Kathy Farmer... I ran through through briars to get a hug and then moved on my way!

Seeing a dear friend, unknowingly heading the wrong way!

It wasn't far beyond that moment I realized that I had mistakenly taken a wrong turn back into the loop that I just came out of. Coming upon "back of the packers" I was wondering where were my equivalent pacing buddings were at.. I knew something was wrong... I kept running, picking up the pace...
As I came up on my friends and fellow 100ker's, I yelled aloud "I feel like a made a wrong turn..." Jim quickly retorted that I should have only run this loop once and should just keep going, I did... and at very fast pace. At this point, Mile 9 or so I was clicking off 8:44 minute miles... I was not sure what to expect? Will I have to do this loop again? There goes my sub 5.

As I came out of the loop, Kathy started chasing me, telling me what I had already figured out. Except, she said that they might give me credit for the loop. The loop would have had to be completed a second time anyway, and I had just already did it... twice!

When I got to the next aid station I explained to a race official what had happened and he quickly texted the RD. I grabbed some aid and was back on the trails.

I came to the turn-around and headed back for the second loop. I still had this gleaming question hanging over me, will I be able to turn around when I get to that loop or will the RD make me do it a third time.. will I get disqualified?

I couldn't bear to think about it... I just ran.. I ran fast! I was maintaining a 9 minute mile average at this point. I must keep this pace.

When I finally reached the loop where I had mistakenly entered a second time the official advised me that I had two options, I could continue and do the loop a third time OR turn around and go back from there and waive any right to an age group award! hahaha!! Look... I was not going to get any awards. And if there was a shadow of a doubt on that, had I gone into a third loop, I was most definitely not going get an age group award.

Talking with the race official at mile 25
I showed the official my Garmin, he acknowledged the distance was accurate with those coming out of the trails at this point in the race and at that point I felt that I was finally back with the people I belonged with. I was no longer out of my element. Back on track! I had some water at the aid station, an awesome volunteer refilled by bottle with some water and GU Brew and I was on way... a 10k to the finish line!

I was refreshed, thankful.

I ran the same course everyone else did... granted.. not in the same order... but the same course.. the same distance.

I got to the final aid station and asked a volunteer the time... I knew I had to beat 1:30 PM to get that sub 5 hour race... "1:05" she said. Okay... How far to the finish? Another volunteer jumped in "1.6 miles", he said. Okay... I got this! And as I ran through the final trails, I saw my elevator friend walking.. just about a half mile from the finish. "Come on man, you got this! We are so close" I exclaimed, as I ran by him.

I crossed the finish line at 4:50:45.  A 9:11 Average Pace Per Mile Overall. A PR by leaps and bounds over my 2012 race.

My actual finish time was 4:50. This time is actual moving time. My Garmin "Auto Pauses" when I stop at aid stations, etc

My elevator friend came through just after me. He told me that I was the push he needed to pick up the pace and get through that final half mile! He thanked me.

...And I realized what I've already known about this incredible sport of ours... It's like no other, we are inspired while we inspire others. We are encouraged, while we encourage others. We are runners.
...and we run, for those who cannot. And we run because of those who have fought for our freedom to do so.

 Albeit alone! I drank a beer later that day for all those who set out to do something extraordinary! For those who know that there is more! That they can want more, be more,  and do more! 

Congratulations finishers! Congratulations!

"Whether you Think you can, or you think you cannot, you are probably right!" - Henry Ford

Shane Miles


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