On Saturday, I ran the Huckleberry Jam 7.4 mile race which is part of Runabout Sports‘s Carilion Clinic Race Series. The race follows the full length of the Huckleberry Trail which is a Rails-to-Trails conversion connecting Blacksburg to Christiansburg.
The race was small but, as always with this series, well run and fun. The races in this series are friendly events and it seems most folks are locals and know each other so there’s a collegial, casual atmosphere. The weather was perfect with 55 degree temps at the race start.
The course has quite a few hills and long portions of steady climbing which is typical of anywhere one might try to run in Blacksburg. Especially at the end of the race in Christiansburg, there’s a lot of up and down with some steep, if short, climbs to finish out the race. It’s not grueling but it’s not easy either. Quite a nice challenge to work through. The finisher’s medal is a really cool railroad spike engraved with the race name and such. A unique medal that stands out amongst the ribbons and such that other races hand out.
My plan was to use the race as the beginning of a 20 mile training run. When I got to the end of the race, my wife and son were there cheering me on. It really made the the previous hour or so worth it. I probably wouldn’t have turned around and come back if it hadn’t been for their encouragement. My time was 79 minutes and 58 seconds. Not exactly blistering but it’s a deal faster than I would typically tackle the start of a long training run.
I turned around and ran back to the start line which gave me 15 miles instead of the 20 I had planned. Between the heat that came on as the day went on and some race pacing I hadn’t intended, it didn’t seem smart to push things and end up with an injury to my fragile knee. When I got back to Runabout, they were beginning handing out my awards and someone was calling out my name. Apparently, the race organizer wanted to give me a high-five for doubling up the race. That was a very kind acknowledgement for a back-of-the-pack runner like me.
On Sunday, I did about 5 miles with the bulk of it on the old high school track. It helps to keep things loose after a long run and it’s good training for running on tired legs which I’ll need to do more of in the future.
It was great weather for running this weekend and I was happy to be out there.