Monday, July 21, 2008

Bear Hole 10k 7.19.08 Recap

Twin Falls State Park near Mullins, WV held their 25th annaul Bear Hole 10k this past weekend.

I drove about 3 hours and 45 minutes. I passed through 2 tunnels and didn't get any speeding tickets. I had my fingers crossed the entire time. I wasn't able to leave Charlotte until about 6pm so it was almost 10 pm when I arrived at the park.

It had been 11 year since I last visited the park. But either at night or day light, I don't think the park has changed. It is still very dark at night. They are no street or parking lot lights. There is no cell phone coverage or internet access. If you need to call someone, they do have a pay phone. You know the ones that are coin operated. And if you need to use an ATM machine, it is about a 10 mile drive the nearest one.

So yes, visiting Twin Falls State Park takes you away of the evils of technology. It is kind of nice to know that are still places in the world where you can get away.

The 10k race started at 9am. The lodge was only 2 minutes from the starting area so I had time to drive around before registering for the race.

Seeing course in the daylight is certainly different than on the drive in last night. The hills look tough.

I got registered for the race - no chip timing and the cost was $12.00 to enter.

I wore my calf sleeves and compression tights. As all ways, I got some strange looks but after the race a I received a lot of questions about them.

I did see a few old face but just a few. But I made some new friends along the way.

The race started with the blowing of an air horn. A couple of recently graduated x-country runners took the pace out. I fell in line behind them so I could get a sense of the pace.

After about 1/2 mile, we were running 6 min pace so I moved around them and started picking up the pace. One of them stayed close for another mile but then I started to hear the foot steps and breathing fade. I pushed through the 5k turn around in 17:21.

On the way back is one of the steepest and longest hills around. The steep section is at the bottom, but then it is about 3-5% grade for another mile as it winds through twist and turns.
My legs had grown heavy by the time that I came over the top. After a couple of hundred yards my breathing finally caught up and I pushed toward the finish.
The finish lines comes into view early. This can be a little disconcerting because you still have about 1/2 mile to run. Checking my watch, I was a little worried. I didn't think I was going to break 36 minutes. But I put down the hammer anyway. I crossed the finish line in 35:45. The 2nd place runners was around 38 minutes and the 3rd pace runners was 41 minutes.

I remember running this race in the late 80's and runners from all over came to it. It is sad when a race falls on hard times. I don't know all of the reasons but I suspect it lacks the right leadership. I say this because there were only about 50 runners and it took over 2 hours for them to assemble the finish order for the awards. I been to a lot races and when you see people holding up a paper and everyone looking at one another for answer, you know you have a problem.

Overall, I still like the Bear Hole 10k. Like I said, it is a tough course but I have probably run the last of their races.

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