It's hard to believe that it's nearly the end of February and today was my first race of 2011, but that appears to be the case. My entry in this one is proof of the power of social networking; Big River Running sent emails to all participants in last October's Skippo 20K and I never got around to registering. But then I kept seeing its Facebook posts about "only" ___ more spots in the race, and when it got down to 40 left, I caved. I'm so glad I did!
I was excited all yesterday about getting to race today, but this morning I woke up nervous. I don't know why I get nervous before a race; it's not like there's any pressure. I am in no contention for a win! Nerves aside, I was looking forward to the race as well as getting to meet/see a combination of "real life" and internet friends (fondly referred to by my husband as "your friends you don't know"). Before I could meet anyone, though, I had to actually get there.
I left for Castlewood a little later than I'd planned but made at least one smart decision this morning. There's a QT gas station at the top of the road that leads down to Castlewood, and I decided to stop there and use their bathroom rather than wait in line at the park (don't feel sorry for them...I spend enough money there that they should give me my own bathroom!). When I got into the park, I was stuck in traffic for about 10 minutes while a truck blocked the only road back to the parking that was still available, and the lines for the porta-potties were, as usual, loooong.
So...parking. The closest spot was literally 1/2 mile away, and by the time I was parked I think it was 9:30 or so with the race starting at 10. So I jogged the 1/2 mile to the race check-in, jogged 1/2 mile back to my car to dump off my sweatshirt, and another 1/2 mile back to the race start. Other than being a little stressed about being at the start on time, it was a nice enforced warm-up.
Ever since volunteering at the Castlewood 8-hour adventure race, I've been
I also met my Facebook friend Emily, who was introduced to me by my doctor/runner friend Rachel. Thanks, Rachel! I got to see my Daily Mile (and now real life) Doug, who'd been "kind" enough to transfer his Pere Marquette number to me and then heckle me mercilessly as I struggled up and slid down the muddy hill at that race. Unfortunately, I missed a Daily Mile meetup due to all of my running back and forth between my car and the starting line. I was also supposed to meet up with some of my new teammates in our local tri club Metro Tri Club/Team Godzilla. I recently joined, and they had a shirt to give me. Once I saw the 'Zilla shirts, I knew right where to go.
|Keith, Jim, Vanessa, and Jim|
The part where I tell you about the race:
I ran a 20K last October at Castlewood, so I kind of knew what to expect. If you're interested, you can check out this link to information and video/pictures of the course. The park has lots of great trails and hills and lots of nice technical singletrack, and these challenges were made more interesting by a combination of melting snow and yesterday's rain. We started running across a soggy field and then, I think, along the treeline. Luke pulled up next to me near the start, so we got a chance to talk adventure racing, running, etc. It's funny...when you read someone's blog, you already know a lot of their stories even though you haven't met them. He told me not to worry about holding back for him, and I thought, Holding back? This is my pace!
Next up was the big hill. I ran a little ways up before I had to walk. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Luke run by in his red shirt. Oh, great...here he thought I was holding back, and he's passing me. Now, I'm not that competitive, but I try to give a very realistic picture of what I can (or can't) do on my blog, so it's a little embarassing to not live up to what someone who's read it expects of me.
|OK, it may not be a big hill, but just look how fast I was running! :)|
|Luke was cruising. |
(sorry...sweaty phones take lousy pictures)
We had to run through another field, and then we came down to the creek crossing.
|Of course, getting this picture for you means that the photographer's picture of me will have me holding my phone.|
Mile 7 (don't remember whether that was before or after the creek crossing) is where I started feeling a mental drag. I was tired. I so wanted to walk. And yet, how do you walk with just 2 miles to go? No way. Well, OK, I would have if there'd been a big enough hill to justify it, but no such "luck". :) What was lucky, though, was the company. First of all, Luke was great company during the race. Plenty to talk about (when I could breathe), and knowing he was right there definitely kept me pushing myself. Then, around the last mile, some of the Zillas came back and found me.
|Photo credit: Keith Timmons|
That looks like it's going to be a good front or mid-foot strike, wouldn't you say?
They kept me talking and pushing my way along, and I actually have pictures of myself running thanks to them! Very cool. And I definitely needed the encouragement through the last half mile or so, which was across another open field. I'd rather run on the trails any time, and the end of the route seemed to go on forever.
|Photo credit: Keith Timmons|
Attempting to a) smile for the camera and b) not die
Not such a dirty girl:
The trails definitely had some muddy spots, and while the creek crossing washed a lot of it off, the way to the finish line was through a bit of a swamp. Overall, though, I stayed relatively clean:
One sad note. My new Smartwool socks, which I bought solely because I was hoping they'd stay comfortable when wet, performed as I'd hoped...until I took off my shoe and saw the hold in the toe. :(
R.I.P., cute socks.
Yeah...they'll be going back to the store. I'd expect even my cheapo cotton socks (that I don't wear anymore but can't quite make myself throw away) to withstand a 9.3 mile run...I certainly expect that of $14 socks. Hopefully the store is willing to exchange them.
Time: 1:43:19 (11:06 avg.)
Age group: 8/18
Quite possibly my favorite race yet. Well done, Big River Running.
Yea! I finally have an entry in the Run for the Bling of It challenge.
|Who can't use a hoodie? :)|