Saturday, September 26, 2009

2009 Salem Lake 30K

A marathon is kind of like a 26.2 mile car race. One where the car only goes 20 miles on a tank of gas. For a while it is fun and exhilarating with your foot on the pedal, weaving in and out, zooming past people. But then at mile 20, you sputter to a halt, and have to get out and push the car the rest of the way. Then it is nothing but misery and pain. Oh, sure, if you start slow and miserly, you can stretch your gas mileage to make it the whole way, but it kind of takes the fun out of it.

That's why a 30K (18.6 miles) is such a nice distance. You can pretty much run at your natural pace and not worry about conserving your energy. This makes the Salem Lake 30K one of our favorite races. This was my 5th time running it and Shannon has done it 6 years in a row. The course is easy and flat, with most of it on the beautiful dirt trails around Salem Lake in Winston-Salem. It is a low key event but well organized, and usually attracts some of the fastest runners in the area. Held in late September, the race makes a great tune up for any of the big marathons held in October or November, and the weather is usually mild.

Today was about 60 degrees, with a steady misting rain. I had forgot that they start the race promptly at 8am sharp, and was in a porta potty when they announced the race would start after the national anthem. The national anthem is actually pretty long, because Shannon and I made it down to the start line with enough time for her to take some pictures.

With about 400 runners, the first mile or two is usually crowded, though moving pretty fast. I started near the front this year so I was able to get lots of running room and settle into a steady pace. I was able to hold it until mile 17 when my calves decided to cramp up, but other than that I had an uneventful race.

With the dark, dreary rain, Shannon did not enjoy the scenery as much as usual, and most of the pictures she took during the run did not turn out. That was sad.

We both did OK, taking a couple minutes off our times from last year.

Shannon was very excited that there were Krispy Kreme donuts at the finish though. She put one in a box, and we drove it the 130 miles back to Cary where it is sitting in my kitchen. Sometime next week I will throw it away. This seems like a waste but it made her very happy.

Despite running with her shirt off, after Shannon finished she got so cold her lips turned blue. This happens basically every time she runs, even in the middle of July. We couldn't wait around in the rain and mingle so we headed home. We missed talking with our fellow Godivans Barbara, Tom, and Chris Boyce but we did chat with Jenny Miles and Chris Gould as we were leaving.

A good time despite the rain, and we will, of course, be back again next year.

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