Left Galax at about 9:00 a.m. Carried about 1.7 liters of tailwind, a bunch of Clif blocks and some peanut butter tortilla rolls. Weather was pretty much perfect: high 30s at the start, clear skies. It was so nice that I started too fast.
Things went smoothly until about mile 12 when I had to make a pit stop where Chestnut Creek meets the New River. Things continued well from there until about mile 20 when I started getting some painful hot spots in both feet. A couple of brief stops to put my feet up for a few seconds took care of that issue, although it persisted for the rest of the day.
Had to refill my bottles at Foster Falls (mile 28). Unfortunately all the water fountains were turned off. I found a landscaping spigot and refilled from a trickling hose. It was slow and the water tasted like rubber but it was wet and potable (I think).
Through 30 miles I was averaging about 7:45 per mile but then started slowing into the mid 8s, which might have had something to do with the strong headwind that developed. At mile 42 or so I developed some knee pain which slowed me down to just under 10 minutes/mile. This gradually improved and I was able to pick it back up to run in the 8s again through the end. Last mile was hard running, closer to 7:00 but I couldn't have kept that up.
I'm pleased with the day. The trail is pretty, especially with nice weather in the fall but 7 hours of it gets boring. The elevation changes are imperceptible so one shouldn't hesitate to run it in either direction.
Big thanks to my buddy Mike for driving all the way from Roanoke to shuttle me from Pulaski to Galax.
NB: my GPS seems to have gotten off in the last couple miles. I've submitted my phone's GPS data that used as a backup and is even more off and I forgot to turn it off right away but it should at least verify that I didn't climb over fences and buildings like the better track shows.