Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Colors Trail 10k* & Half Marathon

up, up, and awaaaaay!

it may have rained a smidge

OK, so I sucked it up, an overpayed for a race. Not the first time, and probably not the last. After the fact, though, I still can't figure out why the race cost so much. BUT, the die hards were out in full force, and that made it fun. The forecast had called for heavy wind and rain. When I got up to let the dogs out, it was windy, but 55 degrees! Cloudy, but no rain. It even looked like it may not be raining as Dave, Turi & I drove to the race.
We were wrong in assuming that being so close to the mountain might sheild us from the wind. If anything it was worse there than in town. Not freezing, but sideways rain will make you guess low on the temperature every time. BIG TIME thanks to Dave 9who was Team Library Dork's support crew) and to the volunteers who stood around in the elements for hours to get us a beatiful trail race!! I woulda stayed in bed!
Well, the plan in the race was to run up the first big climb with Kirk, who was doing the half marathon. The 10k* course (and by * I mean 11k) split to the left after about 10 minutes and crossed a couple streams before meeting up with other parts of the half course. But within a couple minutes, I could tell things were not going to be going particularly well today. Even though we were going a pace that wouldn't neccessarily scare a high-school girl, I was having trouble pretty quick. One guy (who I'd assume was doing the 10k) took off and we let him. No sense bonking on the first big climb with so much race to go, but when the 2nd guy caught us, Kirk went with him, probably assuming I'd tag along, but I was getting NO power off my decrepit Achilles tendons, and for some reason, it felt like my lung capacity was about half as much as normal. I realize the race was at elevation (the 10k fluctuating between 6000 and 6800 feet) but this was ridiculous. But, like I said, lots of race to be run. I'd guess by his speed up that hill, that the first guy (in a green shirt) turned for the 10k, but he was too far ahead of me to see. I'd actually get passed by two other guys, who I stuck right behind, who turned out to halfers, so I made the turn thinking green shirt was the only one to chase down. We crossed a couple streams, and though it was early in the race, I just didn't care about getting wet, so I passed on the rock hopping and just ran right through em. It actually woke me up a little, but as I continued to climb on singletrack, up switchbacks, and one some parts where I couldn't tell there was even a trail (lots of leaves and pine needles) I still didn't feel like I was (or even could) make up any ground. I remember hitting a steep downhill (too steep to attack, especially in the rain and on switchbacks) and finally starting to feel a little more normal, though still struggling. I was absolutely by myself, with nobody in front or behind, and though I was hurting, I was able to appreciate my surroundings, at least a little. 27 minutes in I hit a portion of the trail I'd run before, and was able to pick up the pace quite a bit, but after a while was starting to wonder how long it would take to hit the road. Around the next turn for sure. Nope. Over that next little hill. Nope. It seemed to drag on distance wise over the latter half, having me think the course was about a half mile long. No matter either way. No fast times were going to be run out here. After a much deeper creek crossing, where I rock-skipped this time, I finally hit the road. 0.7 to go. I tried to change gears, but didn't really have much for the slightly uphill finish. The pleasant surprise came with a couple minutes to go, when I was told that I was the first to go by. Really?! There was a stretch this year where I was choosing the more competitive distance almost every time out, but I had quite a bit of luck this time. There was no way I'd have stuck with the top 2 or 3, or even 4, in the half, but I was able to run a whopping 52 minutes to win the short course! Definitely the slowest 10k I've ever run, long course or not. There was about 5000 feet(!) of elevation chnge in the half, and probably 2000 or so in the 10, so it's not like I expected to run under 40, but sub 50? Yeah, I expected that, but just didn't run well.
We stuck around for Kirk and Turi to finish the half. Kirk stuck close to green shirt all the way, and finished 15-20 seconds behind, although more than 4 minutes ahead of last year's course record. Turi took all the pics you see during his 2:25 out in the rain (though he took most of em before it got too bad). Dave was kind enough to charge his camera battery, but old enough to forget to put it back in the no pics of yours truly. Which is too bad. I ran naked! Or did I? Unless you were out there, you'll never know.
Next up? Who knows. I hurt. Hard to beleive I ran a PR five months ago! But I'll keep trying...and drinking beer.


Turi said...

I'm just glad you got out there fast enough that I didn't have to take a picture of your naked butt...

slowrunner77 said...

you meant "get to" not "have to"...right?

Gretchen said...

Naked fast guys. Sweet! ;)

SnowLeopard said...

Naked butt? I got enough of that at Tough Mudder, thanks. Congrats on your surprise win! :)