Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 Run At The Rock

David Nash is the only one looking forward, which might be why he won.
I'm already heading in the wrong direction before the race even starts
[Before I blather on, the rest of Shannon's great photos from the race are here]

After the race I was looking at the posted results.
"Damn, that guy finished a minute ahead of me", I said, pointing to the name above mine.
"That's me." he said, coincidently standing right next to me.
"Oh. Hi. You passed me with 3 miles left", I reminded him
"Ah, right!", he nodded with recognition, "You were the guy struggling up all the hills."

Yes, that's me. It's a good way to recognize me at a race. Be sure to say hi.

Actually I was happy to be running at all. Last week I sold one of my tendons to Satan in order to finish the Faust Marathon. That kind of left me crippled.
Fortunately, my friend Tom alerted me to a sale on turkey tendons at Harris Teeter, where I got a replacement. With that and a week of rest, I was able to run again by Saturday.

This was the third Run at the Rock 14 miler for Shannon and I, and I wouldn't want to miss it.
We pulled into the park in the morning and it was a teeth chattering 32 degrees. I debated weather to wear shorts or tights, and then compromised on shorts with my Jane Fonda leg warmers.

At the starting line, my goal was to run the first half slower than the second, and finish in an arbitrary yet specific 1:37.  Shannon's goal was to finish under 2 hours and take good pictures.

Both the 14 milers and 7 milers started at the same time. We took off down the road, across a field, and into the trail. There were a few muddy patches and small streams, but nothing like the mud bath last year. My plan to pace myself went out the window pretty early. Because we were running the ups and downs at different paces, I found myself right on guys heels, making it hard to see the trail. So I kept pushing ahead trying to find some clear space to run.

It turned out most of the guys around me were only running the 7 miler, so they stopped after the first lap. I headed passed the finish line to the second loop and was completely alone.
Thankfully the course was very well marked, so I was knew I wasn't lost.
But there was not another person in sight, and I kept thinking I had done something dumb again.
"I am supposed to do another loop, right?"

Note the waterfall to the right. I have done this race 3 years and have never noticed it
Finally I hit an aid station around mile 10, and the volunteer reassured me I was on the right track.
By this time my legs were completely spent, and I was having a hard time navigating the roots and rocks. My legs were so wobbly my knees were actually banging into each other. I had to start walking up the hills so I would have enough coordination to make it down the other side.
I was fortunate to finish without falling flat on my face, and almost met my goal with an official time of 1:37:05.

The strange thing was that my watch said 1:36:08. In fact, everyones watch was a minute less than the clock. So I guess the race clock was started a minute early. It really doesn't matter.

Shannon met her goals, finishing under 2 hours, and getting a bunch of great pictures while doing it.

Hot soup!
Afterwards we hung out in a huge, warm, enclosed tent and ate hot soup. Great amenities for a trail race.
Very cool coffee mugs were handed out for awards. 

All around a great experience. I recommend it if you like a good trail race!

Doug and Brandy show off their awards

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