This was the second year Shannon and I have run Owl's Roost and it is one of my favorite races, second only to the Umstead Marathon.
The course follows some very nice single track trails around Lake Brandt in Greensboro. Not too hilly, or rocky, but lots of roots which I like. It is well marked with bright yellow and black arrows mounted up at eye level pointing the way. Unfortunately your eyes are usually glued to the trail so it is easy miss a turn, which a lot of people did.
There were over 300 people this year, which is a lot for a single track race. Fortunately the race is broken into 3 “waves”. The “elite” go first, followed by the men, with the women starting last. Both Shannon and I opted to start with the “elites”. I was hoping to follow someone who wouldn’t get lost. Shannon just wanted to be called “elite”.
For the first 5 miles I was right behind one of the elite women and I realized that I hate following people. It is hard to see the trail ahead. It was probably irritating her too to have someone behind her. But every time I thought of passing her she pulled away, and then I would catch back up on the downhill.
It was really hot, so I stopped at an aid station to gulp a Gatorade and dump water on my head. After a short stretch of greenway we turned back on the trail.
“Hey you’re going the wrong way!” I shouted. The woman I had been following had missed the arrows and was a good 200 yards down the wrong trail. Fortunately she heard me and turned around, but that was the last I saw of her and I think it cost her first place.
I ran the rest of the way mostly alone, occasionally passing people. Several times I was convinced I was on the wrong trail until I would see a mile marker. I was really happy when I hit mile 12 at 1:25. But the last mile I slowed to a crawl finishing in 12th place at 1:35:33, just ahead of Rebekah Potts who was first female. She was having an off year after setting the female course record last year of 1:29:55.
Marc Jeuland won the race, but in a rather pedestrian time of 1:22:43. Apparently he lost 9 minutes because of a wrong turn, and another 12 minutes due to the wind drag on his new unruly facial hair.
Unique to Owls Roost is the pushup contest after the race. Last year, I was encouraged to participate by some smart-ass who shall remain nameless (Paul Potorti), and I was the first one to drop out. Let me say, in my defense, that I was doing them the right way. Some of these guys were just bobbing up and down quickly like they were having a seizure, or arching their back like some kind of break dancing move.
This year I declined to participate, because I no longer have functioning arms. I have done a lot of running and biking this past year but no upper body work. So I have come to resemble a T-Rex, with huge legs and head, and these withered vestigial limbs dangling from my shoulders.
Rebekah Potts proved you can be a fast runner and still have arms. After winning the race, she won the push-up contest too. I hate over achievers.
So I plan to work on my push-ups and for Owls Roost 2010; my goal is to