Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 Little River Trail Run

This was our third Little River Trail Run, put on by the Chapel Hill Trail Heads.

Shannon took photos as she ran the 10 miler, and those pictures are here. For all you Facebookers, the Facebook album is here.

Teams
New this year was the addition of a team competition. Many people missed this when signing up, so I volunteered to arrange some teams for the Carolina Godiva Track Club. With some help from Jim C. picking out members from the entry list, and many emails back and forth pestering the race organizers, we managed to enter 6 Godiva teams of 4 members each.

What we lacked in speed, we made up for in sheer numbers. If nothing else, Godiva would be well represented.

Snow and Ice
Somebody in NC has some really bad Karma, because after a record breaking sauna of a summer, we are having a nasty cold and snowy winter. Some freezing rain on Monday formed a sheet of ice that has stuck around all week.

My road shoes work fine on snowy trails, but ice is a different story.
On Tuesday, I put some screws in our shoes so we could make it out for a run. This made Shannon really mad because she thought I had ruined her good shoes. While the screws did work for traction, I had to take them out because our shoes are a lot thinner than I thought, and the screws were poking our feet.

Anyway, I thought the ice would have all melted by Saturday, so I didn't worry about it for the race.


Start
It was a balmy 30°F as a few hundred people lined up for the 10 miler, much warmer than last year's 18°F.

Race director Willow got us started with the bullhorn, and we all took off down the hill at a sprint. I stayed to the left to avoid a patch of ice in the road, thinking that once I hit the trails I wouldn't have to worry about slipping anymore.
Skiiing
Wow, was as I wrong.
There was a powdery snow/ice mixture on some parts of the trail that  made me wish I had some trail shoes with big cleats.

Going up some of the steep inclines I was just spinning my wheels going nowhere. Going down, I decided not to fight it and just pretend I was skiing.

Due to sheer luck and some well placed trees, I never fell. But by mile 4, I was getting really tired.
Go Right
The lead pack of fast guys were well out of sight, so I had no one to follow. Fortunately the course was very well marked with tape, flour, and yellow arrows drawn on the snow. There were also many volunteers on the course helping direct us.

I came up to one split in the trail, where a course monitor was standing.
"Go right", he said, as he blocked off the left path with is arms. He could not have been more clear, yet my oxygen deprived brain failed to comprehend.
"Right! Go right!", he repeated as tried to go past him to the left. Finally I managed to connect the word "right" with a direction and turned around.

Switchbacks
In the maze of switchbacks I could see some guys starting to catch up to me. Though my brain was not working, my legs felt surprisingly good, and I managed to pick up the pace for the the last few miles which were clear of snow.
I was surprised and happy to finish a minute faster than last year, when I was hampered by hotties bouncing around in my pants.



Zero for Six
We hung out for the door prizes and awards, and I drank copious amounts of coffee and hot chocolate. They also had 3 kinds of hot soup!

Our Godiva teams did not do so well. Out of our 6 teams, none of them qualified to be scored because so many people either switched to the 7K or didn't show up at all. Slackers!

Another great race put on the Trailheads! Thank You!



Willow hands out awards and door prizes
Trailhead Harold cheers us on and hands out water

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