Over the last two months, I have slowly ramped up my training to the highest level this spring. Today, this 10 miler was my last big effort before my spring ½ marathon in April. Every training plan needs a hurt me race several weeks out to prepare both the mind and body for the coming effort.
I chose the Kings Mt. Gateway Trail 10 miler for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it gave me a decent test race at nearly the full goal race distance before my half. I can train as hard as I want but nothing test my resolve as a race does. Second, it was the cost. At $25 for a 10 miler, this is hard to beat.
Plus, the Kings Mt. Gateway Trail has gotten lots good press. So I definitely wanted to check it out.
Their 10 mile course is out and back along the Foote path. The first 3 miles are rolling hills with some really tough accents and descents. How tough? Well, anytime they have to put rail road ties on the hills (they put these in to control erosion), it has to be pretty steep. Miles 4 and 5 are relatively flat with only a couple small inclines.
A couple of minutes after 9 AM, we were off and running. The race quickly stretched out. I wore my Hoka Clayton because of the rocks on the course. There is nothing worse than stepping on a sharp rock. My Hoka's took good care of my feet.
About a mile and half in to the race, I was running along when I heard what sounded like the leaves rustling behind me. My first thought was another runner was coming up behind me, but when I turned back to look, it wasn’t a runner. A Pit Bull Terrier was tearing down the trail toward me. I could not see this ending well for me. But he/she don’t know, came up and started running beside me. We ran together to the next water stop. He started after me again, but “sh” him back. I am the first to admit; seeing a Pit Bull tearing at me is an unsettling feeling. My heart rate if it wasn’t spiking it was then.
It took a couple of miles to settle back down after this experience.
Then, after rocketing up and down (mostly down) the hills, I crossed the foot bridge over I-85. Miles 4, 5, 6, and 7 were uneventful. As I passed the turnaround, I snatched a peek at my Garmin, and then again when the second place runner and I passed each other. I had roughly a minute and half lead.
Back down the hill, and up the steep side, my legs were feeling it. Miles 8 and 9 were my slowest of the entire race. Miles 2 and 3 had been tough, but going on in the opposite direction, miles 8 and 9 were even tougher.
But I bounced back with a nice 10th mile – finishing in 69 minutes and 13 seconds for 10.25 miles.
They gave the race winners a rail road spike which was shaped like a runner. It was real unique award and one that I will display proudly.
Overall, these guys did a nice job with this race (Pit Bull incident aside). Not knowing the course, it was well marked which I greatly appreciated. They had 3 water stops. They had nice awards and a small sampling of bananas, bagels, and water at the end. The shirt was actually a rather nice. Given, they only charged $25 for this race; they had to be just breaking even.
For those who are headed out the Gastonia way stop by the Kings Mt. Gateway Trail. It is a good place to get in a nice 10 mile run.
The Cool Down Runner