Saturday, February 04, 2012

Charlottesville's Rivanna Trail FKT is established

In the spirit of FKT common sense guidelines last night I notified Charlottesville area trail runners about my today’s Rivanna Trail (RT) speed record attempt.  This morning beginning at 8:00 I ran the loop, starting from Riverview Park on the east side of town and set a RT FKT benchmark.  2:09:47.  I ran the traditional counter-clockwise direction, always following green (never brown) RT signage.  My pace was strong and steady- never on the knife's edge of a blistering effort- but quick nonetheless.  I never stopped; I never broke stride; I never walked.  Not once.
By the time January came and went I had 401 miles on my legs.  That is a decent volume month of training I think for any month and definitely one for January.  Adding to January’s composite, this week also served as my third in a row of steady building, etc. and so for this morning’s run rested and fresh my legs were not.  No matter, the run must go on I figured.  Next Thursday evening we’re off to Paraguay and Argentina for family time and relaxation and I wanted this FKT attempt behind me- that is, since I created the whole damn thing in my head in the first place.
Last night I schooled Gaby a bit on FKT witnessing duties, where to drop me off, pick me up, etc. and laid out my running gear and goodies nice and neat for this morning.  I went to bed with butterflies feeling like today might be a race day.  (How pathetic…)  The alarm chimed at 5:10 this morning and I was up and at ‘em, as if today was indeed actually a race day.  I got my breakfast and coffee in me early and then sat around working on next week’s travel details until we left the house at 7:30.  At 8:00am sharp I was off to the races.

What does Obama say?  Oh yeah... "Fired up.  Ready to go."
At the line.  Terrible hat head.  How embarrassing.
The initial stretch of the RT leaving Riverview Park heading north is a brief section of pavement bike path and I hit it quickly.  I definitely felt like I was racing!  Finally, after 1.5 to 2 miles of bike path I landed on dirt and slowed considerably thanks to the repetitive twisty and turn-y nature of many an RT section. It was then and there that I figured the mud might pose as the day’s biggest obstacle.  Fortunately, the mud did not slow me down too much but I did fall twice.  The second time was along the trail section leading to the Moores Creek crossing and I flew like superman before coming back down to earth and bouncing, not once but twice.  Funny thing, though, it didn’t hurt or shake me up. I simply forced my sorry ass back up and soon splashed into Moores Creek underneath the railroad bridge.  Then I cruised the final stretch of pavement bound for Riverview Park and the completion of my official RT FKT.  Gaby and Sophie Speidel were in attendance to witness the occasion.

"Sub 2:10!"  Photo by Sophie Speidel.
Feeling pretty darn good at the finish.  Wet, muddy and all.
For the geeks, non-believers and possibly the eventual seekers-of-a-new-RT-FKT here are my GPS details.  Have at it.  For the record, I ran under the railroad crossing just before Greenbrier Park, around the baseball field at Azalea Park and along the 5th Street section of pavement, again, always following green RT signage.  Best of all, I jumped into and waded Moores Creek on the south east side of the RT.  No sketchy railroad bridge crossing for me.  Everything else is pretty much self explanatory.
Sticking to my orginal pledge, I just made a donation to the RT Foundation.  $209.47 to be exact.  The first person to step up and take down my RT FKT also gets a donation made in their name- by yours truly- to the RT Foundation.  Plus, pizza and a pitcher of beer on me.  If someone out there accepts this challenge, claims a new FKT and my reward hopefully they will be generous enough to offer something similar to the next guy or gal.  After all, that guy might be me!


  1. Way to go, Neal! Somebody fast is really going to have to get after it to top that time.

  2. And I thought 2:30 would be an impressive time. Great job! Your pizza and beer are safe from me.

  3. Nice job Neal! Not sure if I'd ever come close but it might be a good goal to keep in mind.

  4. Congrats on another record, Neal. We miss you at WUS.

  5. I won't even try to attempt it, but I will gladly take you up on the pizza and beer. Great job! Wish we could have been there to cheer you onl

  6. Ive yet to do a complete loop but let it get a little warmer and im definitely up for the challenge! -Trevor

  7. There is no way I can approach your time, but you have now given me a goal to work toward. Just being able to walk/jog this route will be a huge accomplishment for me. Thanks for the inspiration!