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My south central trip was a way to get an idea of what it will take to do two and three runs per day. I did four runs in about 24 hours.
Here are some of my learnings:
- Starting out the day with a hilly run isn’t the brightest idea. My first run was in the White Oak Mountain Wildlife Management Area. That word “Mountain” should have tipped me off that it wouldn’t be the flattest of courses. The path in Pittsylvania County was atop a mountain range with a bunch of ups and downs, but no severe climbing.
- Resting between runs should probably not involve standing up for a couple of hours at an outside auction in the scorching heat. I bought an old train set and some WWI toy soldiers at the sale. I’m still kicking myself for not bidding more on the Dr. Pepper wall clock.
- The town of Altavista is one word – as opposed to the two-worded Buena Vista. The company that became Lane Furniture started in Altavista in 1912. It originally made cedar chests. The town in Campbell County has absolutely nothing to do with the deceased search engine with the same name. It does have a nice, flat path along the Roanoke River, although you have to climb a good number of steps to get over the railroad tracks.
- Buying a case of water at the local IGA is a really good investment.
- The third run of the day shouldn’t take place until the cooler late afternoon-early night time. While the Riverwalk Trail in Danville was mostly in the shade, after the first mile, the mid-afternoon heat definitely started to get to me. I never quite made it to the science center to check out the butterflies or the digital dome. And I was definitely too tired to appreciate the glory of the world-famous tank museum. The riverwalk itself was nice, although a bit more signage for us easily confused outsiders would have been appreciated. On a Saturday afternoon, the town of about 43,000 seemed pretty dead. Danville was the home of textile manufacturer Dan River Mills, as well as many tobacco warehouses. Today’s top employer is Goodyear Tires.
- If you are staying in Halifax County and decide to go to the area’s main event – the Bojangles 300 – buy the ear protectors. While the early races at the South Boston Speedway are bearable, when the real NASCAR cars start whipping around the 4/10-mile oval, you need to protect your ears, expect to go deaf or go home.
- If you bring a big, green bushy plant into your hotel room at the America’s Best Value Inn, the staff will keep track of your comings and goings the rest of the night. It was just a tomato plant from the farmer’s market – really.
- The day after a three-run day, you aren’t going to quickly rise and shine. As tired and hungry as you might be, the free hotel breakfast of reheated gravy and biscuits will have that “no thanks, I’ll just have some juice” look to it.
- Invest in sneakers specifically for trails. While the trail at the Stauton River State Park in Halifax County was relatively flat, the rocks and roots took a toll on my feet. Bug spray would also be a good addition. Twisty rural trails makes the GPS on your phone pretty useless. According to it, I went 1.5 miles one way on the trail and nearly 2 getting back.
- Getting in some two-a-day and three-a-day training would help. Doing more trails and hills would make sense. So would dropping 10-15 pounds.
84 runs down, 50 to go.