Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Hard Climb Hill


Note: This report is a little late, due to the fact I have spent most of the last 6 days trying (and failing) to correctly adjust the front derailleur on my bicycle.

The last of the Godiva Winter Series races, Hard Climb hill was held on a warm and foggy morning in Duke Forest.


Scott (above) has a much better race report, so please see that for further details. Instead I'll just give a recount of how my race went.

I de-laced the forefoot and made a few cuts to convert them to extra wide width.
This was the first race I have run in the Merrell Trail Gloves, and I was very nervous.
From running the race in previous years, I remembered my feet hurting from all the gravel. And that happened while I was wearing thick cushy shoes!

My Glove running so far has been exclusively on the foot friendly Lake Crabtree Trail. So the day before the race, as I test, I ran a mile on a gravel road. It was slow and painful, and I could feel every rock.
My commitment to minimalism wavered, and I briefly thought about breaking out the cushy shoes again for the race.

But I was starting over, and "slow and painful" seemed a good place to begin. So I left the chushies at home.


I positioned myself in the middle of the pack, and started of at a moderate pace down the gravel road.
At first I tried dancing around the gravel, and then tried just taking tiny little steps. But it felt really awkward. As we descended the first hill, I was shuffling to slow myself down.

I remembered Barefoot Josh's strategy for dealing with gravel: "Just go for it".
So I did, and just let myself fly down the hill.

Weirdly, the gravel did not hurt at all.
Obviously, the faster you move your feet, the less impact is on each step.
But there is something else to it, too. Maybe by running "normally" my legs are more relaxed.

Anyway, my legs and feet felt pretty good, and I was moving at a pace I haven't achieved since... let me check the running log... the 5K on the runway 10 months ago.

Way up ahead of me, I could see Bart and Jeff who had taken off like a shot.
I decided my goal would be to catch them. I figured that it may be possible since they were doing the 10 miler and I was only doing the 3.

So I just gunned it going up the "Hard Climb Hill", slowly reeling them in. I was redlining it like it was 100 meter sprint, but I knew I didn't have to save anything for later.

We hit the 1.5 mile turn around and I was completely gassed, still 50 meters behind them. Their 10 mile pace was faster than I could go a mile, and I was about to give up.

Coming down the hill I got a high five from young-gun-running-super-star Ryan, and that lifted my spirits.
I pushed all-out the last mile, huffing, puffing, grunting, and groaning and managed to just edge Bart right at the 3 mile mark, and I was done. Bart and Jeff continued on, finishing the hilly 10 mile course in under a 7 minute pace.

It was a great confidence boost to be able to keep up with them, if only for 3 miles. And I was very happy that my legs felt good, for the first time in a while.


I waited around waiting for Shannon, who ran the 10 miler at her ultra pace. This Saturday she is running the Umstead 100 miler.

More to come on that...

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