Monday, September 22, 2014

Race Report - Gritt's Fun Farm Run

When the directors of the Dirty Dog (the toughest race I'll ever love) announced that they were planning a fall trail run at Gritt's Farm, I was all "where do I sign up?" And with some coaxing and prodding, I got Marc to let me sign him up too.

So that's how we ended up standing amongst a crowd of other runners in the midst of the pumpkin pickin', playin' in corn kernels, slidin' down slides surrounded by hay, corn maze fun that is Gritt's Fun Farm on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

With little fanfare, the race was started and we took off. Marc, even though he hasn't run a race in a few years, is a faster runner than I am, especially on trails (I'm more of a fast walk trail hiker than a trail runner, even during a race), so it wasn't long before he had left me behind.  I was able to keep him in sight for most of the first downhill, but at one point I looked down to watch  my footing and when I looked up he was gone.  So I soldiered on on my own (figuratively speaking, as there were other runners all around), running slow, walking around the big puddles, and then climbing the first big hill.

And then we entered the maze...

The maze section - practically perfect
With the pre-race warning of "go slow in the maze or you will get lost",  I decided I'd be walking through the maze, so as not to miss any of the orange markers showing the way.  Not too far into the maze, I start seeing runners coming back towards me. I didn't know if they were lost or if the maze was an out & back.  I keep going, following the orange, chatting with another runner, when I look up, and there's Marc, in one of the groups of runners coming back through. "We're lost" he says. I thought about having him come with me, but in case he was actually on the right track, I didn't want him to back track. (and after he says he thought about having me come with him, but didn't want to cause me to cut the course short). So we ended up waving and each going our separate ways.  After many twists and turns, and a few "are we lost?" moments, my little group made our way out of the maze.

After the maze, I ran a bit and walked a bit and just letting the distance roll by as it would; I wasn't in a hurry, even though it was a race; I was just out to enjoy the day.  I found myself running alongside the same gentleman that I ran through the cemetery with at the Biggest Loser half, so I chatted with him for a bit, reminiscing about the horribleness of that hill.  I lost him at the water stop, so spent most of the rest of the race on my own - a few people a ways ahead of me, and some behind, but none really close by.

I had just passed the 4 mile mark when I heard sirens. Never a good thing to hear at a race, but since I hadn't seen Marc since we passed in the maze and had no idea where he was or how he was doing, I had a moment of worry.  With a quick prayer for him and whoever the injured party might be, I kept going, with  maybe a little bit of a quicker pace, just in case.

It wasn't long before I came upon a crowd of runners standing around and saw some medics heading down the trail.  I'll admit I had a moment of panic when I saw the runner on the ground, mistaking the runner's orange shirt for a red one, like Marc was wearing. But I soon realized that her shirt was orange and she was female, so therefore she was not Marc, and I relaxed a bit. With another little prayer for her, I continued on, because the last thing paramedics needed was one more person hanging around watching while they did their thing. Several others in the group left at about the same time I did, so I heard a bit about what had (or may have) happened (but in the interest of the runner's privacy (and because I don't really know), I'll not share).

I made my way up another tough up hill, back out onto the road, and made the final turn for the finish line, and realized my shoe was coming untied. We had parked the car right along the finish line approach, and when I saw its gate open, I knew Marc had finished safely. He met me with a smile, and said I was looking good. I handed him my water bottle, stopped to tie my shoe, and the headed off to the finish line.

Woo hoo! Another race finished! There was a bit of a crowd at the finish, so in the confusion, i didn't see the finish clock or remember to stop my garmin, so I didn't know what my time was.  I didn't realize my Garmin was still running until I got back to the car (after picking up my bag of treats, getting a drink of water, and standing around for a minute or so), so I don't have my own unofficial race time to share.  The Garmin also showed the race as being longer than 5 miles; it showed 5.6, including the wandering around after the finish and the walk back to the car.

So I'm guessing the actual distance it thinks I covered on the course was about 5.5 miles. Was the course long or were the satellite gods messing with me? A good time on a great course (whatever its distance), with a few added challenges thrown in for fun all add up to another race to put on my annual race calendar.

Race Stats:
Gritt's Fun Farm Run
Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2:00pm
5 miles

Finish time: 5.6 miles, 1:30:08  (garmin); 5 miles, 1:27:08 (official)
Place: 26 of 45 age group; 116 of 178 overall

Finish time: 1:10:08 (official)
Place: 8 of 12 age group; 63 of 178 overall