17 Nov 2012

Canary in the Cave 25k+

Author: Matt Young | Filed under: race-reports

Canary in the Cave 25k+- The First Running

The RDs for this race are some great folks and great runners. So when I saw that Stewart and Hitch Hikin’ Kate Caldwell were part of the team behind this I wanted to run even more.

It was a great day for a run with temps around 30 at the starting line but it felt warmer. We had sunshine throughout the run with the temperature warming to about 50 by mid day.

This is more of an endorsement than a race report.  I loved the course. It offered great single track, fast downhill service roads, amazing views of the New River Gorge, waterfalls, abandoned coal mines and nice fall colors. It was mostly rolling single track before a long and gradual down hill from about mile 10 until mile 16 or so.

The profile for the course shows a nasty incline for the final miles heading in to the finish. I was expecting a hand-on-knees kind of slog for the last two miles but I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t that bad.  It was largely runnable, especially if you’d saved some juice for the end. I had to walk some but for the most part I ran. I guess shuffled is more like it.

With aid stations around mile 5, 10, and 15 I decided to carry about 20 oz of water and my gels. So I skipped the first and last aid stations and stopped long enough to fill my bottles at mile 10.  For a race like this that worked well for me.  I didn’t have to stop and it even helped me move up a few spots.

With brownies, pizza, rice krispie treats, no bake cookies, and some sweet smelling bean dip at the finish it couldn’t get much better.

So in the plus column for the day were 1) sweet weather 2) a very runnable course 3) ideal scenery 4) great organization by the RDs, 5) good people and 6) beanies for bald guys.  The balder I get the more I love hats.

This was my third race in three weeks which is something I never do. My lower calves screamed at me the whole time, my left foot was asleep from mile 2-7 and insisted on kicking 90% of the rocks and roots on the course, and my hydration pack confirmed that it needs to be retired.  Back tracking for dropped bottles is a real buzz kill.

By the numbers:  18.07 miles at a 9:26 average pace and 9:17 moving pace for a time of 2:50:28.  Best mile: mile 13 in 7:40. Slowest mile: mile 17 in 13:04.  Average heart rate- 86% of max.  1870 feet of elevation gain and 2340 calories burned.

Thanks to Clay, Caitlin, Stewart, and Kate the RDs.  Thanks to Dan Lehman and his crew for timing, Daniel Todd for pictures, and to the many volunteers that made it a great race for the runners.

To the ladies working aid station 2 at mile 10 you’re the best. I have the utmost respect for all runners willing to take on 18 miles with that kind of terrain. I especially respect the ladies that do it and those that beat me handily.  I meant no disrespect and was joking with you. I hope you know that.

Don’t miss this one next year.



One of the many great scenes along the race. This was around mile 15. Photos courtesy of Daniel Todd.

  1. Stewart posted the following on November 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm.

    I’m glad you liked the race Matt. Clay, Caitlin, and Hitch Hikin’ Kate are the official race directors. I’m more of a mandatory volunteer by marriage.

    You ran a great race, and finding out that it was your third race in three weeks makes your top ten finish that much more impressive.

    I know Clay, Caitlin, and Kate would love to have you and all of the other runners back again next year (plus several of your friends, too).

  2. Beth hudspeth posted the following on November 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm.

    Thanks for great race
    Makes me want to train for marathon again. Thanks for everyone that helped.
    See you next year
    Beth hudspeth

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