Since it was at Panther Creek State Park which was a 2 hour drive from home, it would be awesome to already be at the park on race morning and then have the rest of the weekend to camp with the family. On paper, most of our crazy ideas sound great. However, we've quickly learned that with toddler, those ideas don't always work out the way we plan. Race weekend had finally arrived and I had taken a 1/2 day on that Friday. When I got home, Robin had some stuff ready (another change since our Little Bug came along, Robin would have already had the car loaded and ready to go), so I got straight to helping with the final packing and then loading of the car. After all was said and done, we were packed, out the door, and pulling into our campsite by around 5pm or so.
We got back to camp and things were going pretty good until it came time for Boo to go to bed. I forgot to mention that the campground was packed, over 90% of the sites were occupied by RVer's. We were surrounded. The campers across from us apparently were having some sort of reunion and decided it would be fun to congregate at their site and hoot and holler most of the night, which only got worse and much louder after the 10pm quite time. It was about midnight when on my second attempt and after Robin's hour long attempt, Boo was finally asleep in her pack 'n' play. I think Robin would have had her to sleep a lot sooner and actually did a couple times if it were for the jackasses across the street from us. Every time she'd just about be asleep, they'd get rowdy again and Boo would wake back up.
Due to the rain, Robin decided that her and Boo would stay in the car and go for a drive while I ran my race. It was far too wet and rainy to get Boo out of the car anyway. I stretched real good and then said my farewells to them. It was getting real close to start time and all the runners were starting to assemble. After some words from the race director about the course, he gave the signal and we were off like a mad pack of people running from the zombie horde. It was a short uphill jaunt to the trailhead from the starting line. Enough to thin the crowd out nicely so as to avoid a choke point at the trailhead. From there it was mostly downhill across wet moss covered rocky outcroppings.
It wasn't long however before that would all change. Around the 2.5 - 3 mile mark, my legs were telling me that I had started out too fast once again. by mile 3 we entered the heart of the wooded trail system complete with 3 nasty uphills along the next 6 miles. These climbs really took it out of me, especially the first one. I struggled up that climb, continuously moving forward and cussin' everything about it. My legs were dead and I felt my goal of sub 2:30 was slipping away from me with every forward step.
Normally after about 3-4 miles my legs warm up real good and I feel like I can run for ever. That feeling never really came to me during this race. However around mile 5 the trail was once again running close to the lake side and was generally flat. My mood had changed and my spirits were lifted, as I was passed by a runner and tailed her for a while. She would pull away on slight uphills but I would catch back up on the downhills. We conversed about previous races and future races while we ran together. It definitely helped to have someone to talk to during that time. It took my mind off of my previous feelings. However, the company didn't last very long.
The second big climb was coming and I was force into another bout of walking up hill while my company had continued plodding forward and eventually out of site. This time however I was in better spirits and knew that it wasn't far before I'd be up top of the ridge and could cruise again. The rain never really let up. It would drizzle, then it would downpour, then it would drizzle some more. The trails were a sloppy mess, and that definitely made parts of the course a bit treacherous causing a slower pace.
Around mile 9 I came of the second ridge and back to the water station, which I had already passed two times previously as the heart of the course criss-crossed at a trail intersection three times total. I passed one gentleman racer and had another in my sites ahead of me. However, once passed the aid station and up the final big climb to highest point in the park, I was forced to walk again and I wouldn't see any other racers until I was finished. The final climb was too bad, at least mentally as the fog put a certain serene feel over the last part of the course. There were some pretty sweet boulder outcropping to run around as well that were pretty sweet.
|Photo Courtesy: |
With a final time of 2:23:18 over what was a bit more than the advertised 10 miles, I was completely wiped out and ready for some drier conditions. Walking off the trail and up the road to the pavillion where all the racers were located for refreshments and refueling, I saw Robin and Boo parked on the side of the road waiting for my return. I stopped to visit with them for a few minutes and to discuss our plans for the rest of the day before going to get some well deserved junk food and drink other than water.
It wasn't long before I was back to the car and stripping out of my wet gear and into some dry clothes. We headed back to camp with a feeling of relief with the decision to break camp, pack it all up and head to the homefront a day earlier than planned. It was quite the experience, one that I hope over time will get better as Boo gets more acquainted and used to our outdoor ways. She already loves to go on hikes, and did have fun in camp until it came time for bed. We've made plans to do more trial runs in the back yard before our next attempt.
My final results in the race were 55th overall out of 65 in the 10 miler, and 16th out of 17 in the open male category. Considering how crappy I felt in the first part of the race, I consider it a win because I finished and I did so under 2.5 hours. It was overall a good time, however one we don't want to experience again. It was my hair-brained idea so I assume full responsibility and have learned my lesson that we will just get up on race mornings at home and drive to wherever the next races are (Unless they are more than say 2 hours out of town, then I might convince the gang to get a hotel room for the night).
Tim and Robin
P.S. Once again I have to give a shout out to Terramar Sports for powering me on this run with my Helix Mountain Body Sensor Tee, even though I took it off around mile 3 so I could stay even cooler on the muggy run. I also wore my Terramar Socks throughout the whole race.