[Shannon's Pictures from the race are here]
How cold was it this morning? So cold, that we saw a guy dressed in what looked like a bear suit and thought, "Wow. What a good idea!"
It was like 15 degrees as we picked up our bibs at the Little River Trail Run. Even though I wore 2 pair of gloves my fingers were still frozen, so I was happy to see that they were giving out those magic little hand warmer packets called "hotties". Shannon and I had carpooled with Chris and Jenny, so we waited in the car for the race to start, and I stuffed a "hottie" into each of my gloves. I then made the same stupid mistake I make at every race, and drank almost an entire bottle of Gatorade.
About 15 min before, I got out and warmed up a bit, and then we headed up to the start. Despite the cold, there were 277 runners who showed up just for the 10 mile race, and another 134 for the 7K.
"Willow" from the "Trail Heads" gave the countdown with a bullhorn and then we were off in the 10 mile race. I took off as fast as I could go, because I was so cold and wanted to warm up. Also, with 277 people entering the narrow trail, my plan was to get towards the front and hold on.
Of course, everybody else had the same plan, and helped by the downhill on a wide gravel road, we were going really fast. Almost a mile into the race, I glanced at my Forerunner which said we were doing a 5:30/mile pace. This was absolutely nuts, so I slowed way down on the first hill and let a bunch of people pass me.
Entering the single track trails there were some really brutal hills that had me hunched over gasping for air. I felt like I was going slow, but fortunately I was not holding anyone up because there was no one trying to pass me. In fact, I somehow managed to pass about 8 guys who had started out way too fast like I did.
A few miles into the race, and I actually felt pretty warm. In fact, the "Hotties" in my gloves were getting a little too hot. Also, I felt the ever familiar stab of pain in my stomach, which I knew from experience was due to chugging a bottle of Gatorade 15 minutes before a race. The high fructose corn syrup slowly changes to a gas and my gut inflates like a balloon. I tried pressing on it, without any luck.
I then had a really dumb idea. I took the "Hotties" out of my gloves and stuck them in my waist band hoping the heat would somehow alleviate the cramp. They didn't. Instead, the heavy little packets of iron dust promptly fell down, and started bouncing around inside my pants. They orbited my leg like little moons, propelled with every step. I decided not to stop and try to fish them out, because I didn't want to scare anyone. Eventually they worked their way down to my ankles where I feared they would come flinging out and hit someone in the back of the head.
Fortunately that didn't happen.
Around mile 9 the Gatorade gas bubble burst, erupting with a huge belch. Ahh. I felt so good I practically sprinted the last mile. After I finished, I got back to the car and put on some more clothes and waited for everyone else to finish. Shannon had a bad race, feeling terrible because of a sinus infection. She still managed to get all these great pictures.
They had hot coffee and hot chocolate at the finish which was great, but it was still too cold to hang out for the raffle prizes so we headed home. All in all, a great race put on by the Trail Heads considering the cold.
Wait! I almost forgot. Where's Heiko?
There he is!