My Profile

@theserialfisher

UNITED STATES Raving since 2021 active 2 days, 13 hours ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Tug Valley Road Runners

  • Rave race:
  • Race that's calling my name:
  • I run because:

My Races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

50 States Map
image/svg+xml FL TX NM AZ AK CA NV UT CO OR WA ID HI OK MT WY ND SD NE KS MN IA MO AR LA MS AL GA SC IL WI MI IN OH TN KY NC WV VA PA NY ME VT NH RI CT NJ DE MD MA DC

Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races

Personal Bests (3)

Race Distance Location Date Result
24 hr Williamson, WV 2020 96.30 mi
50K Charleston, WV Jan 8, 2022 6:35:00
Marathon Huntington, WV Nov 7, 2021 3:25:57

Future Races (2)

Race Distance Location Date Paid
Marathon South Williamson, KY Jun 11, 2022
Marathon Huntington, WV 2022

Past Races (5)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
50K Charleston, WV Jan 8, 2022 6:35:00
Marathon Huntington, WV Nov 7, 2021 3:25:57
Marathon South Williamson, KY Jun 12, 2021 4:17:18
24 hr Williamson, WV 2020 96.30 mi
Marathon Huntington, WV Nov 3, 2019 3:58:45

My Raves

This is my second ultra-marathon and first ever 50k. It lived up to it's name: Frozen. I used money from the ginseng I had foraged back in early Fall 2021 … MORE

This is my second ultra-marathon and first ever 50k. It lived up to it’s name: Frozen. I used money from the ginseng I had foraged back in early Fall 2021 to fund this whole thing. Sponsored by nature, very fitting for my first ever trail race. The Frozen Sasquatch was frigid and snowy this year. A massive blizzard had blown in a day or so before, making the roads a wintry mess and creating the first challenge of the race: getting to the starting line.

When I met a few friends from the local running club who were doing the 25k, the ride there had already been an adventure. Temperatures were hovering around 8 degrees and the roads were caked with a mixture of salt, ice, and snow. I walked around the locked front doors of Walmart feeling the wind cut through my layers to chill my core. I rummaged around in my bag and put on an extra layer. Later I’d regret overdressing.

Onward to Charleston, the roads were in no better condition. The backroad leading into Kanawha State Forest was white with snow. Luckily my beat up RAV4 has 4×4, one of the few luxuries that still works properly (for the moment). Before long, I found the starting line and saw the crowd of chilly runners moving around to stay warm. Grabbing my bib was as easy as walking into one of the park buildings and giving them my name. I had braved the elements in the nick of time and was standing at the inflatable archway a few moments before the RD gave us some easy instructions (50k people take the first right, 25k people take the second right). He got the show on the road with the blowing of a some kind of wooden whistle. Then we were off.

The course would have been a challenge on a dry, warm day, but this was post-blizzard mode and the thick powder covering the path was soon slick with icy mud that become icy-er and messier with every passing runner. The first mile of the first loop was steep and technical. Actually, the whole thing was, but the first mile was especially so. I found myself in the middle of a column of about 10 runners slipping and sliding up the snow banks. It wasn’t long until I witnessed the first fall. It wouldn’t be the last.

The first mile is a doozy but once you’ve scrambled up the drain, miles 2, 3, and 4 are relatively level except for some rolling hills. I was able to get around a few of the other runners and start attempting to keep pace. I had a plan, you see, but it’s importance faded as the miles piled up. Mile 5 is a pretty intense downhill slope that’ll have you feeling superhuman just before you slam into mile 6’s uphill reality check. Mile 7 is another rather extreme downhill grade. Several times throughout the race, I had to sit on my butt and slide down the hills. A few times I slid along on my feet as if on skies. And yes, I fell a few times. The snow broke my fall. Mostly.

Miles 8 and 9 were uphill and felt rough. I suppressed the dreaded thought of what those hills might feel like on the second loop. It was also somewhere around this time, or perhaps a little before, that I popped my first Little Debbie Oatmeal Creampie: one of my favorite race fuels for ridiculous distances through the hills. I washed it down with water and coca cola picked up from the aid stations. There were, I think, 3 of them. Special thanks to the volunteers willing to freeze their buns off feeding and watering us runners. They had plenty of snacks and even some warm food. I tried not to lollygag too much, which was definitely a temptation.

The last miles of the first half were mercifully downhill or gently rolling. They went by quickly and instilled a false sense of confidence that lasted until *BOOM* the 16th mile’s hilly return. Again I pushed the little voice of doubt to the back of my mind and leaned into the second portion of the race with as much gusto as I could manage. The pack was spread out at this point, but I could see a couple other runners ahead of me. From the looks of them, they were feeling it too. Still we persisted through the slightly warmer but still frosty winter air. The layers I had on were beginning to warm up and I flashed between hot/sweaty and cold/damp whilst running through shady or sunny portions of the trail. The uphills were beginning to sap my energy around mile 20 or so but I still felt good. Throughout the many creek crossings, icy mudholes, and snow my waterproof Brooks had kept my feet dry and happy, but somewhere along the way moisture had made its way in there. I can only imagine the nightmare it would have been if my shoes hadn’t had GTX waterproofing. This is NOT a dry race.

It was somewhere around mile 27 when I tripped over a root and fell for the final time. Both calves cramped up on impact with tendon-ripping pain that left me hurling obscenities and rolling around on the ground. Apologies to anyone near me at the time. Eventually the pain eased up and somehow I managed to get to my feet. The rest of the way, I utilized every sapling, trees, and rock to keep myself right-side up and slowed down considerably.

Several other runners blew past me the last 6 or 7 miles of the race. It was definitely the hardest part mentally. My legs threatened to cramp at every step towards the end, leaving me a little reluctant to surge or jump around too much. It was a GRIND! I heard the music at the finish line a good mile before I got there. So close but yet so far! Then, finally, I reached the parking lot and saw the finish line. I finished in 6 hours and 35 minutes. 12th out of 34.

I highly recommend this race. The price, the swag, and the adventure are excellent. And it IS an adventure. Judging from past race photos, this event tends to be frozen and snowy or muddy and chilly. This time was 100 percent the former. This will probably be one I do again next year. It isn’t a “big production” race but it’s not one to be missed, especially if you happen to run it post-blizzard. Truly wild and rugged.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3
My Media

Was this review helpful?

This was my second time running the MUM and the 3rd marathon I've done in my life (4 if you count the ultra). The morning was frigid, probably colder than … MORE

This was my second time running the MUM and the 3rd marathon I’ve done in my life (4 if you count the ultra). The morning was frigid, probably colder than 2019, but not so bad once I got moving. It was actually an advantage after a few miles, much better than humidity. All of the volunteers/organizers were on point and encouraging. They were good the first time I ran this race and absolutely wonderful this time. I can’t say enough good things about the people at the aid stations and check points. Last year the race was canceled, so I think everyone was just extra happy to be there. I know I was.

My goal was 3hrs 30 mins and I managed 3hrs 25 mins. 2 days later, I’m still giddy about it (and sore). The course was flat but not “pancake” flat. There are at least two very small hills. I did notice them, but overall this is a speedy, flat course. I maintained about a 7:45 min pace until mile 24 and then started slowing when back of my left knee cramped a couple times. I never quite hit the wall until the last half mile, so overall I am very pleased with how it turned out.

The scenery is pretty urban and industrial for the most part, although there are a few scenic park areas by the river. I thought the university buildings, bricked roads, and statues were interesting, but not everyone will be as easily amused as me. Along the way, you are given a white rose to place on the memorial fountain in honor of the football team who lost their lives in a plane crash. The finish line is at end of the football field inside the stadium. They hand you a football to carry the last few hundred feet. It’s pretty cool. Oh, and watch out for the ramp leading down into the stadium. After 26 miles, it’s a little rough. It’s the only part of the race I walked.

I was pretty happy with the swag: a hoody, cooler bag, t-shirt, body glide, handbag, etc. This race is great if you’re looking for a PR. It is about as flat as you’re gonna get in West Virginia. The weather is a cold shock at first, but you warm up quickly and pretty soon the cool air becomes an advantage. I do recommend this race, especially if you’re trying to go fast.

Again, the volunteers were EXCELLENT and supportive. Their cheering and encouragement really helped. This is one I hope to do every year.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

I waited a long time to be able to do this marathon, and it didn't disappoint. It is a small race with a lot of character and the volunteers were … MORE

I waited a long time to be able to do this marathon, and it didn’t disappoint. It is a small race with a lot of character and the volunteers were amazing. The course is extremely hilly but the hardest part is dealing with the humidity. If there had been any more moisture in the air, I would have had to swim. However my biggest mistake was running the first 16 miles entirely too fast. What can I say? I was excited and got carried away. Luckily there were water stops every mile with gator-aid, bananas, and pickle juice (yuck). Due to Covid-19, the after party was a little limited on food options, but the overall vibe of this race was just incredible. The swag consisted of a quality t-shirt, travel bag, and a unique medal with a spinning medallion in the middle. Pretty cool. The expo had everything I needed and packet pick up went smooth. I definitely want to do this every year if possible.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
My Media

Was this review helpful?

After almost 2 years of running and one marathon, the pandemic hit and pretty much every race in the world was canceled. Then the Damn You, Covid, Damn You Endurance … MORE

After almost 2 years of running and one marathon, the pandemic hit and pretty much every race in the world was canceled. Then the Damn You, Covid, Damn You Endurance Challenge” event popped up on my Facebook feed and I wondered. Will this be canceled too? Luckily it was not and on a crisp, Saturday morning I found myself amongst a small but enthusiastic group of runners ready to dive feet first into my first ultramarathon.

Since 2020, the race has been renamed and a 5k and a Half Marathon have been added, but on this day in November 2020, it was a small, 24 hour race around the Floodwall in West Williamson, WV: a flat, 2 mile loop around a long, monotonous, gray wall by the Tug Fork River. After a socially distant gathering at the starting line and a word from the R.D., we were off.

The first 25 miles went well. I started at a run a lap, walk a lap pace, just a jog followed by a walk. It was around the 26 mile when I fell, ripping a hole in the knee of my pants and scraping my shoulder. To be honest, the fall wasn’t that bad but the sudden stop made me see stars for a while. I pressed on. This race was filled with peaks and valleys. After that fall, I was fine until about mile 40. That’s when the leg cramps really hit me.

The volunteers were amazing during this race, almost like a pit crew or something. They immediately saw me limping around and brought a banana, gator-aide, salt tabs, and some energy gel. I was feeling fine again in no time. Then mile 65 smacked me in the face, and I found myself walking. I’m going to be honest, there was a lot of walking after that. So much so that the eventual winner of the race saw my struggle and suggested that I do some fartlek running. Otherwise I was not going to make it close to 100 miles. So I did that. Even though my feet were pretty much just covered in one giant blister, I did it. That was the hardest part of the race actually, the blisters. Although my Hoka Cliftons did just fine, my socks were woefully inadequate. It took a while to recover from the blistering and several toenails were sacrificed for the cause.

Somehow, with the help of the snacks and drinks provided to me by the volunteers and my wife, I made it through the chilly, monotonous night. It really felt like some kind of fever dream after mile 60. Half the course is parallel to a busy railroad, and the coal train activity really picks up after dark. The rushing train cars howl and echo off the river. They flicker like a strobe-light as they pass, creating gusts of cold wind. At some point in the middle of the night, I was completely alone out there with just my cheap, headlamp to light the way. It actually gets a little spooky, especially when your mind and body are exhausted.

When the morning light finally broke, I was somewhere around 94 miles. It was too late to hope for 100 miles. It just wasn’t going to happen. This realization was heartbreaking and for the second time in the race (the first time was a brief pause to eat some Wendy’s my wife had brought me), I sat down. After a little moping, I decided that maybe, just maybe, I could stagger around the loop one more time. So I did. I dragged myself around that floodwall one more time, stopping at my car long enough to pull out a folding chair and crash a few minutes before the official end of the race.

This was sort of the beta version of this event, as since then the entire thing has gotten bigger. More races have been added and the entire thing is referred to as The Southern Harvest Festival. But this particular event was post-apocalyptic-bare-bones. In spite of that, the volunteers were amazing and the overall energy was great. The swag was a long sleeve shirt and a buff. Considering the price was very cheap, I’d say they were pretty good prizes. I do, however, wish there would have been some kind of medal. There are several really cool ones you can win now, though. As I’ve said, this was a minimalistic, almost-didn’t-happen type of race. I’m very happy to have had the chance to do it. It’s something i’ll never forget.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
1
SWAG
2
My Media

Was this review helpful?

This was my first marathon, and it was awesome. This was during the months before the pandemic, and there were a lot of participants. I couldn't make it to the … MORE

This was my first marathon, and it was awesome. This was during the months before the pandemic, and there were a lot of participants. I couldn’t make it to the expo, but picking up my packet and swag the morning of the race went well. The pullover I was given was great quality and I wear it often. The course was rather flat and speedy with plenty of water stops. The finish line offered all the food and drink you could want. Overall an awesome race that I will do again.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?