The Sylamore 50K came and went in its usual place on the mid-February calendar. It was a great day. Wonderful trail brothers & sisters, and many more who came from across state lines to experience the paradise where I get to live.
Coming off of the New Orleans marathon just 6 days earlier, I didn't expect too much. I took the "slow and steady" approach through the first half, stopping first at the Blanchard Springs campground, then at Gunner Pool, and finally at the Barkshed campground that served as the turnaround point. Such a great area, I love the winding highways to get there through towns that time forgot, and the US Forest Service signs that let you know that you are about to be at home in the woods, in a place that you have come to know as intimately as only someone covering the distance on foot can.
I was hoping to get into the turnaround feeling fresh and ready to pick it up, and I pretty much did. The Sylamore trail has such great diversity that you can often run with an element of play, opening up on the flats and crashing the downhills. My legs seemed willing until about 3 miles to go, which, conveniently, is where the most technical part of the course is. Large, wet rocks seem that much larger and wetter at miles 29-30.
I finished in 5:39, pulling off a negative split by a minute or so, although that calculation is only as scientific as me glancing at my watch and trying to remember what time I left the turnaround. Much better than last time. A good day with great trail and even better trail people.
Here is another author's synopsis of the race, and some video as well: