Whats better then getting together with 300 people to run on the trails in 50* sunny weather?!
Especially considering the fact that this race is a FatAss with a very well marked course and awesome aid stations. Run at Fair Hill Reserves and put on by TrailDawgs. Everyone was asked to bring canned goods for 2012 Runabundance for Philabundance to help local food banks and shelters. As well as something for the aid station. Thats the kind of race fees that I like!!
So everyone gathers at the start at 8:45am for the pre-run meeting. Yeah....no meeting. Which was fine because I used that time to get to know two new friends, Carol & Sharon who are running together. Carol has run this race before and says how poorly marked the course is. Yikes! I already told Rik that he didnt have to run with me and my biggest fear in running these long trail races is getting lost! I have zero sense of direction!
At the bottom left is Carol, Sharon, the back of me and Joe bending over stretching...
Then the hills start almost immediately as did the creek crossings. This is a two loop race. So I was trying to run the smaller hills and walk the bigger ones trying to save my legs for the second loop. My legs were great, I was just having trouble getting my breathing under control with hills at the beginning...I have EIA and used my inhaler before the start but sometimes it still takes awhile for the breathing to find a rhythm. There ended up being so many creek crossings that I lost count in the first 5miles! It was mostly single track with some field crossings from one trail to the next. Beautiful day with the sun shining all day.
I was running along when Carol came up beside me and started chatting. Sharon was just behind us. I thought they were long gone but it ends up they were about my speed. That was kinda nice to run with other people and not be so afraid of getting lost! At about mile eight I took my first shot blok. I bit right down into it and out comes my brand new shiny crown that I just got about two weeks ago. Thank goodness I didnt swallow it! I stuck it in my pack pocket and kept on running. Then right before the 10mile AS was....THIS! Fun!
Needless to say, I was doing more of a power walk then a run most of the way with trying to run whenever I could on the berm of leaves for traction. At one point I crossed a bridge and then continued to focus on the trail immediately in front of me that after several minutes I looked down to my side and saw the bridge that I crossed and didnt even realize that I had been traveling uphill since! The trails were so slippery for me. I fell once but was able to catch myself with just one hand down and atleast a half dozen almost falls. By now the speed walker dude was gone and I realized how slow I was moving and how much my knees were starting to hurt from all the slip sliding. I started stressing that I wasnt gonna make cutoff. I would try to run, slip a bit and then slow to a fast walk again. It just seemed like I was getting nowhere fast.
Then I came upon a turn. It was a sudden turn as the trail seemed to continue straight but the sign/arrow said that I should turn right and go straight down the hill thru the leaves. As I stop to contemplate if this was really what I was supposed to do...speed walker dude comes up from behind me and says that he missed the turn and ended up doing a loop but saw me from above and was watching to see which way I went. So...down the hill we went...to another creek crossing!
Finally we have about a mile that was fairly runnable with little mud to the finish. Of course this was uphill! And I realize that I will not make cutoff (missed it by about 20mins). Those last 5.6miles took me 1:30! What?!! But at that point I was almost thankful that I missed it. I was hurting and exhausted. These were the toughest 15.6miles I have ever run.
Me, exhausted, sitting in the grass at the end...
In hind sight I realize that I only ended up taking in about 300cals while I was out there because of the broken tooth. I didnt realize it at the time and 300cals for 15miles isnt so bad. Its the 300cals in almost 4hrs that might have been a problem especially considering I was fueling for 31miles NOT 15. That may have been part of my problem and not just the mud and knees slowing me down. Lesson learned either way.
Since I missed cutoff, that meant I could hang out and chat with friends while waiting for Rik to finish! Usually it is him waiting for me! He ended up coming in at 5hrs 56mins!
Thanks for reading :)