Saturday, October 23, 2010

The race is done, the race is won

The race is won by someone other than me... But that's ok. I was out there. I had fun. I finished. I met my time goal. I went farther than I thought I could.

Today was the Ace Adventure Center Gorge-ous Trail Run. I've been looking forward to this race (my only race this year) since I did it last year. Last year, I was a new (very new) runner and wasn't prepared for the distance, so I walked the 4.5 mile walk. This year, I've had a year of training under my belt, and I was going to ROCK the short course (as much as a 12 min/mile can rock a course :o) ) I toyed with doing the long course, but an injury to my knee made that decision for me - didn't want to risk not being able to finish...

So Marc and I got up bright and early this morning (not true, it wasn't bright, it was still dark...) to head to Ace for the run. He had some packages that had to be mailed, so after a stop at the only post office in the area open by 8:00, a stop to get gas & ice, and a stop for some food, we were off.

Until we hit a traffic jam on the interstate.... All I have to say is this: If they built the new bridge to make traffic flow better, then why the heck is it 100 times worse now?

We got through the traffic and arrived at Ace just in time for the pre-race meeting and to grab our numbers. A quick changes of shoes and clothes, and we hit the starting line. Woo hoo, we were off!!

I fell into the common, race newby trap of running with the crowd at the start rather than holding back and running my own pace, so I started out a bit faster than I should have. But eventually, the crowd thinned, and I found a rhythm. Until the knee started to hurt. So I slowed down and started walking more than I should have. It got to the point where I decided that it was going to hurt either way (running or walking) and running didn't make it feel any worse - just a dull ache. So I started running more and found my rhythm again.

I did a little time/distance check on the iPod. 6.88 miles - almost done already... Different websites reported the short course as either 7.5 or 8 miles, so I thought the finish line was coming soon. I thought wrong... We followed the red arrows like we were supposed to and kept going and going... I was getting tired and grumpy and my knee hurt. We began to wonder if we had read the signs wrong, but I kept seeing red arrows, and we kept following them. Finally, after about another mile or so we reached the point where the blue arrows (for the 13 mile long course) and our red arrows went different ways. We followed the red arrows for what seemed like forever. I was walking at this point, and was ready to be done...

But then I heard a crowd cheering for some other finisher, and I thought, I'm not walking across that finish line. I started running and realized I felt pretty good.... And ran all the rest of the way across the finish line, to applause and a chorus of "Great Job!s" and "you did it!"s Yep. I had done it! A couple miles more than I planned and wanted to go with sore knee, but, still - I finished!! 9.94 miles at an average pace of 12:06/mile (even with what I thought was excessive walking.)

So in short: I went out there; I had fun; I finished; I met my time goal; I went farther than I thought I could.

Makes for a pretty good day.
Me & Marc on the trail.
Gorge-ous Trail Run
Ace Adventure Center, Oak Hill, WV
October 23, 2010

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