Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Red Shoes at Raven Rock 2009

Age group awards are unique winter running hats, sporting the race logo.

Raven Rock Rumble 10 Miler Race Report
This was the 3rd year in a row that Shannon and I have run the Raven Rock 10 miler. Off n' Running always puts on a great race and this was no exception.
Last year Shannon took 2nd in her age group and got a really nice winter running hat. I was 5th in my age group, and very jealous. My goal this year was to get one of those hats.

The always happy Aline and I walk to the start.

Red Shoes: Less is more?
This was the 3rd time I have worn my Red Shoes to a race, but this time I was trying them at a trail race, and without the cushioned inserts (see previous post) . Would the "Red Shoe Theory" apply to a 10 mile trail race? Would I break my foot again? Would I have to run slower and more carefully without a "Ballistic Rock Shield"?

Elevation Profile
I know that no one actually reads my blog, but end up here searching for elevation profiles. So here ya go. The elevation profile from the Raven Rock 10 miler, comparing it to a road race. It's not too bad except the dip at mile 4 and the hill at the end.

Raven Rock Rumble 10 miler elevation profile. Compared to Anna's Angels 10 miler.

Matthew Gilbert and Family. .
First Race EverBefore the race I was waiting in line for the bathroom, when a guy came up to me.
"Hey, I read your blog". His name was Matt, I think he recognized the red shoes.
"Wow! That's great! How did you find it?", I asked. Was it featured in Runners World? Is it a hot topic around the water cooler?
Matt said, "I was searching for elevation profiles."
Turns out it was Matt's first race ever. Most people start with a 5K. He was pretty brave to pick a hilly 10 mile race for his first one.

The fast-guy clique before the race: Neil Jacobs, Paul Potorti, and John Haws
At the start, I lined up behind Paul Potorti, the winner of last years race. I figured he would win again. After a countdown the pack took off down a road, and after a quick turn we were single file down the trail.
The first 2 miles are mostly downhill and we were really flying. The first 3 guys were already out of sight, and I was in a pack following Paul. My watch said we were doing a 6:45 pace, which meant I was going out way too fast.
"Hey, Paul your holding us up!", this of course was a joke. Paul wins most of the races he runs, and there was no way I should ever be in front of him. Only after the race did I find out he had a bad case of bronchitis, and could barely breathe.

Heiko Rath shows off his Uwharrie gear.

Fish Traps
Around mile 4 is the infamous "Fish Traps" trail out-and back, which is the big dip in the profile above. My Red shoes were feeling great and I was just spinning them like crazy going down the hill. I almost bit it though, on a section of sheer slippery rocks. After the turn around, I passed Paul going back up the hill. I felt bad for him because I knew he must have been really sick if I was passing him.
I pushed it really hard back up the steps and at the top I thought my heart was going explode.

Second Half
At the half way point, the 10 mile course runs right through the finish line to follow the 5 miler course. I ran this mostly alone, which was good because I was grunting and groaning out loud a lot. The trail was smooth and free of foot piercing rocks so it was not a good test for the Red Shoes. There were a few tiny stream crossing, but nothing really technical.
I passed a few of the 5 milers, and towards the end I passed Tim Gautreau, another really fast guy who was having a bad day. Later, he told me that he had done a half Iron man two weeks ago, which might explain his fatigue at the end.

Tim Gautreau shows off his blisters.
Finish Line?For the 3rd year in a row, they had to change the 10 mile course.
2007 (10.6 miles): Running alone on the trail, I got to mile marker 10 in the middle of woods, with no finish line is sight. "Am I done?"
2008 (9.6 miles): Finish line came a mile sooner than I expected.
2009 (10.2 miles): I figured that I was in 3rd or 4th place, so I started pushing hard at the end trying to hold onto it, but I didn't know how long that last mile might be.
"On... your... left..", I wheezed as I passed some more of the 5 milers going up the last huge hill. Finally I hit the finish, 3½ minutes faster than last year despite the slightly longer course.

Why the F*** are you taking my picture?.

Post Race
Shannon and I both finished 2nd in our age groups, so we scored the sweet hats.
Matthew Gilbert finished 29th overall in his first race ever. Congrats Matt!
Paul Potorti finished 4th despite not breathing the whole way.

Turned out to be a great day. The Red Shoes worked great, so I will try them at Run At the Rock next. Though it seems the "Red Shoe Theory" does not apply to trail races, which is to be expected. Shannon took a lot more pictures, which are here.

Next up: The Misery Run.

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