Saturday, December 3, 2011

Run at the Rock


What I'll be filling with beer and chugging one day...

The Run at the Rock "14 Miler" was going to be my longest trail race completed to date, as I work my way up to a hilly 20 at Uwharrie in early February. My goals at Uwharrie are simply to not lose any limbs or entrails on the race course, and leave intact enough to continue on Tobacco Road. This was an intermediate step along the way -- with the simple stated goal "I just want to feel good" (which I haven't in my last few road races)... and after years running on pavement, I need a few humbling but motivating experiences on the trail before I try something crazy.

Quick race summary:
I ran ok overall, should have/could have run about 2 or 3 minutes faster, but had remnants of an old injury flare up about 10 miles in; still won age group, finished 11th overall. I left with my limbs and entrails mostly intact and I had a good time hanging out with a number of fellow Carolina Godiva runners.

Detail:
I felt naked running today, despite dressing like a demented rugby player to deal with the early December morning elements. My Garmin periodically gets possessed and turns itself on without me realizing it, proceeding to drain the entire battery. So apparently that happened last night, so I had to go back to the dark ages of running (pre-2010 for me) and go without GPS. As it turned out, I was totally fine with that. No watch = no worries about time, pace, etc...

The race itself featured an impressive food tent with all kinds of soups and cookies. I guess the race field today must have been hungry -- the first mile or so, about 30 guys made a mad dash to the trailhead jockeying for position before getting to the technical single track portion of the race.

Once I got to the trail, I realized parts of the course were like a slip and slide, still wet from Tuesday's rain. I moved up some, but decided today wouldn't be a day I'd hammer it. Even so, I passed through the first "7 mile" loop in just under 49 minutes, but I felt there was no way I was running sub-7 minute pace on that course.

Once blinding bright green, now caked in mud like any good pair of trail shoes


I was feeling pretty good going into the second loop, but about 10 miles in my arch on my right foot started acting up. Back in fall of '09, I had a plantar fascia strain, and the PT warned me about running on 'sticky surfaces' because of the torque I put on my right foot (anyone who has run with me knows about my unorthodox form...) So I consciously slowed down quite a bit, dropped back about 3 places, but probably salvaged the rest of my season by showing some restraint.

I also had two pretty good wipe outs -- one on each loop. One thing I did like was the 2 loop format, so I could foreshadow which spots on the course I would definitely struggle with on the 2nd loop. Otherwise I probably would have had 2 or 3 more.

"I was attacked by a wolverine" made for a better story...

So I don't think the course was a full 14 miles, as my time would have come out to under 7:10 pace overall.... not on that course, not today. The people whose Garmins were not used as props on the set of Paranormal Activity (have not seen, will not see) measured the course as roughly 13. Do I feel short changed? No.

Thanks to Bob for telling me about the race and riding over with me this AM.

Christmas Time Is Near....

In other news, the wreaths are now hung on the Tajlili house.


It's a start, but we're still a few years away from being able to do this...

Thankfully not our next door neighbor... in Cary, but visible from Durham


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