Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Hidden Valley Nature Center
Run Thru The Woods

A couple of months ago, I was feeling restless.  The mountain bike season was coming to a close, my waistline was opening up and I was looking for some sort of goal to motivate me to get off my sorry ass and get some exercise.  My buddy WillC clued me into the first time running event the HVNCRTTW (it's too damn long of a name to keep typing it out) a half marathon trail RUNNING race.  Historically, I'm not much of a runner but have had some mild success in the past.  The wayyyyyyyy past actually.  Like back in high school past.  Back then, I started running spring track to stay in shape for football.  I started running the 2 mile and mile races but soon found that to be too taxing (and boring) and slowly migrated towards the 400m solos and relays.  Basically anything longer than a sprint but short enough to not require running more than a couple of miles in practices.  I was moderately good at it and managed to qualify for states by the skin of my teeth on a couple of occasions.  But it was not something that I truly enjoyed or seemed to be all that good at.

Over the last few years as I've been forced to walk our dogs, I've taken a bit to trail running as a way to make the most out of the time I was spending outside anyway and before I knew it, I was actually enjoying running.  The only problem is, I was only running 2-3 miles a day.  Not bad for a non-runner but not very good prep for someone hoping to do a half marathon.  So, of course I immediately signed up for the race because if a goal seems reasonable, it hardly seems worth doing.

And then I got worried.  It tried a 7 mile trail run and that went well so I was feeling confident.  Then I did an 8 mile trail/road run that demoralized me and left me with a gimp right knee that kept me from running at all for two weeks.  I did manage two 1 mile runs a couple of days before the race so I HOPED that I'd be able to get through the half marathon.

Thankfully, because of the snow and standing water on the course, the promoters shortened the length a day before the race to 10.5-ish miles.  3 miles less seemed like a great idea to me.

(Holy smokes have I rambled.  Lets get to some racing...)

On race day, my brother Rus and I show up a smidge too early (apparently it doesn't take as long to get ready for a running race as it does for a bike race) but that just gave us a crack at the porta potties before the crowds showed up.  Sadly, even at 35 degrees, race day porta johns are a stinky place to be.

trail runs draw some kooks

riding converted to running cohorts Trevor and Steven at the start line

it's worth clicking on this pic to see
Steven's facial expression (blue shirt and green shorts)

When the gun went off, a few guys quickly jumped ahead of me including Rus, Trevor and Stephen.

30 seconds in and the last I'd see
the front of the race (yes I did carry a
camera with me.  I live for blog fodder)

this opening road section was one of the nicest 
and easiest to navigate on the day

I soon found myself with a small group of 4 (as opposed to a large group of 4) that seemed to be running a pace I could manage so I settled in and let the leaders go.  As many of you know, I suffer from bouts of grandeur but this was one case that I knew exactly where I stood and that was nowhere near the front.  We kept a nice clip for the first couple of miles and I was feeling quite comfortable.  A sign that I probably wasn't pushing hard enough.  Sure enough, a train of 5-6 runners (including two women) cranked by us.

choo choo train passing me by
By the time that group was a few hundred feet ahead of us, I decided it was time to pick up the pace a bit so I passed the kid I'd been pacing off of and spent some time with a builder friend on my heels as I turned it up a couple of notches.

Hey Rich!

I've run out of time for today.  Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling ending.

1 comment:

Linda said...

"because if a goal seems reasonable, it hardly seems worth doing." Love it.