Saturday dawned cold and clear as I stepped out of my car just after 7 am. I had driven just about 2 hours to run a trail race in Burlington, NC called Run the Rock. I had never done this race but from other runner's comments Run the Rock was pretty tough.
Racing in December is difficult for me because I usually like to slow things down and spend some quality family time. However, I was forced to change things up due to the fact that I am planning to run the Uwharrie 20 miler in Feb. If you are familiar with the Uwharrie runs, you will know the race is tough to get into and even tougher to run. And knowing that my trail skills really stink, I felt I needed a little extra trail work. Plus, from talking with other runners, Run the Rock would be a nice lead in to Uwharrie.
The race crew did a good job with the race. As I said, I arrived just after 7 am. The sun hadn't come up but these individuals were out there braving the cold and handing the race packets to the runners. Not many times due you see a fully enclosed tents, but that was what they had and it was decently warm inside. The warmth almost matched the warmth in my car, but not quite.
Every race has their most interesting apects and this race is no different. Most races have the out door pota potties. Run the Rock has porta potty trails complete with lighting and heaters. I give them major bonus points for this race attribute.
Because of the cold, I have very slow getting out my car. And, I swaped out my shoes and extra clothes for the stuff that I thought that I would wear during race while still in the car.
I pulled on my garmin and did almost 2 miles just before the race. The legs felt good and I thought this could be a good race for me.
Everyone gathered at the starting and we were offically started my the firing of a cannon. Yes, that is right. They started this race with the firing of a cannon. I had seen them pulling in the cannon while I was warming up and had made a mental note to my self - check out the cannon later. That is just not something that you see every day.
With the cannon shot, we were off. There is some pavement during the first 1/2 mile then it turns in to a field. This is followed by the trail section.
By the time that I hit the trail section, I knew that I was in trouble. I wasn't feeling it in my legs and people were passing me on both sides. Oh, happy days.
Next, came the mud and manure . This was followed by a stream crossing which soaked my shoes. At this point, I was only about 3 miles into the trail. There was some nice open sections to run but most of the trail was true single track. With some sections being so steep, they had steps. I could have literially just crawled up the hill. There was one other section where the they had steps which later turned in to roots that I still treated them as steps.
After just on lap, I could feel the buzzards cycling over head and they had pretty much picked my bones clean by the time that I came around for the 2nd and final loop. Then somewhere along 12 to 14 miles, I forgot to pick up my feet and just kind of rolled forward through the dirt. I didn't injure anything other than my pride. But it just goes to show the kind of race that I had.
Overall, I would give the guys organizing the Run the Rock race a thumbs up.
For my performance, I give my self a thumbs down.