Saturday, July 28, 2012

2012 Race to Sustainability 6k Trail Run

Last night I was having horrible nightmares.
It must have been from watching the incredibly frenetic and bizarre London Olympic opening ceremonies last night .
In the dream, I was a child in a bed, surrounded by these terrifying monsters swarming around me. And there were these creepy giant puppets towing over me too. I was screaming:
"What in the hell does this have to do with the Olympics ?! What in the hell does this have to do with an international sporting competition?! What is wrong with you people?!?!"

I woke up feeling very old.

I woke up in sweat, and crawled out of bed. I was feeling very old.
I still have not fully recovered from The Scream half marathon 2 weeks ago, but I had to start training for the Iron Mountain 30 miler we have in 5 weeks.
My feet were sore and beat up. My left hamstring was really sore and swollen.

A hospital bed and nurses would be a good choice
My options for the day:
  1. Joining Shannon and others in Umstead to do a FAUST, which is 28 miles of single track. 
  2. Do the 50 mile Cup N' Cone bike ride 
  3. Do the Race to Sustainability 6k Trail Run
  4. Spend the day in bed, and try to recover
Despite the nightmarish opening ceremony, the Olympics inspired me to chose the 6k trail race. That, and the fact that 6k is less than 4 miles. 

I drove to Chapel hill where 70+ people gathered in a field in Carolina North Forest. It was hot and steamy.

Lining up at the start
The race started and three young, skinny, fast looking guys took off. 
I had a great race on these trails back in the Philosopher's Way 15K, so I decided to try to hang with them.
The first half mile was on a gravel road, and I was really struggling to keep up.
Me passing the young guys
When we hit the single track, they slowed a little, and I was able to catch my breath. The four of us in a line wound our way through the tight switchbacks for about a mile. 
I think the heat was getting to the kid in the lead because he was really slowing down.
When there was room, I passed one... two... and finally the lead guy.

My head was on fire
I pushed as hard as I could to get some space, but the heat was getting to me too. My head ached, and it felt like it was baking in an oven. I tried to focus on the orange tape on the trees that marked the course, but I started to hallucinate.

I started imaging that I was being chased by a giant skeleton puppet in a black cloak. I ran faster.

Finally I found the finish line. I was first! Unbelievable!

Post race activities
Afterwards they had fresh fruit and shrimp and grits. 
For a race that promoted "Sustainability", the award was somewhat unusual.