Saturday, March 17, 2018

Kings Mt. Gateway Race Recap

Sorry about the delay in writing this post. Work has been super busy lately so I haven't had the time to set down at my keyboard.

10 PM on a Saturday night, it is either now or never.

So a couple weeks ago, I headed out to Kings Mt. for the Gateway 10 mile race. The race is held on along the foot path and the section we run is mostly a gravel road.

Last year, I ran just under 70 minutes for the course so I was hoping for something close to it.

We start on a side road and quickly enter the foot path. I grabbed the lead. The first mile or so has some night rollers. Then, I hit a nice climb which is followed by a wicked decent. This is then follow by another nasty climb which forced me in to my lowest gear as drag my body over the top. From there to the turn around is pretty much flat.

At the turn around, I was a shade under the 33 minutes.

Heading back, I thought the monster hills were attacking me because my legs were wasted and my lungs were burning. The climb seemed to go on forever, and then, with a right hand turn, I was on a hard decent. This was followed by yet another nasty climb which left me with my slowest mile of the race. I swear I ran the next ½ mile before my legs felt right again.

I got myself over those final rollers and crossed the finish line in 65:42. Roughly, I was about 4 minutes faster than last year. Not sure where it came from. I wasn't feeling exceptionally good and those hills felt just a tough as last year.

I will give the race props for some nice awards even if they did have some strange age groups. Most of you are familiar with the standard award break down in 5 year age brackets. For this race, they had 39 and under, 40-44, 45-49, and 50 and over. In addition, they gave overall and masters awards. Talk about tailoring your awards to a specific audience.

I will sign off by saying that I am not sure if I will be back next year. After the race, they were telling us that they were considering making it a ½ marathon next year. It was hard for me to not cringe at this announcement. 10 miles/15K are my favorite race distances these days. I can find a ½ marathon pretty much any where in the spring. 10 mile races, however, are few and far between.

See you on the trails,

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Tales from the Trail

Sorry, I have been busy for the last several weeks so I just hadn't had a chance to set down and do some typing.

With a few minutes on hands this Sunday afternoon, I thought I would recount some of the experiences from the trail in recent weeks.

Let's go back about 3 weeks, I was out doing a 20 miler. The weather was unseasonably warm, and I found myself wanting some water. Wintertime runs, I typically don't carry much in the way water. I sweat but not enough to really feel thirsty during a long run. On this day, I found myself circling by the water fountains at the Whitewater center on multiple occasions. After the run, I made a mental to add water bottles and Gatorade Chews to my runs. Since then, my runs have been a lot better. 

Last Sunday, I was finishing up a 10 miler along the north main trail. With less than a mile left, I was letting my mind drift to what I was planning to do for the rest of the day. As I was running down the trails, I was gazing ahead. My eyes are constantly on the lookout for any objects that my might pose a danger.

So as I was cruising down the trail, my eyes took note of a stick laying across the trail, and then they gazed further down the trail. Who hasn't seen a stick a stick laying across the trail at one time or another. Seemed like it took several seconds but suddenly it registered in my brain; the stick was moving. Oops, sticks don't move. My brain was suddenly sending out all kinds of signals to put on the brakes. Crossing the trail in front of me was a 4 ft black snake. Heck, I didn't think snakes were out yet. I patiently waited while it moved across and continued on my run. And, I am glad that I didn't have much further to run because every stick that I saw looked like a snake. Funny, how this does happen.

Yesterday's long run was tough in all kinds of ways. My plan was to do 2 x 13 mile loops. I was managing my pace pretty well until two guys came by me. I couldn't helping picking it up just a bit to stay with them. Bad I idea. I didn't need to be running with them and finally let them go. I made it through the first lap, and started the second lap. Somewhere about 17 miles, I was coming down the trail and crossing through a rock garden. For some unknown reason, my legs got tangled up, and down I went. This wasn't a easy fall. This one hurt. I could feel it all the way through my shoulder, neck, and head.

I stood up and brushed off the dirt and leaves. Nothing seemed to be broken, but darn, did my palm sting. About a ¼ mile later my palm was still stinging. I reached down and slowly peeled back my glove. Oh, I could see now why it was hurting. There was a huge gash across it. My glove was soaking up the blood so I hadn't noticed.

I still had another 9 miles to run. My glove seemed to be doing a good job bandaiding the blood so I kept running. I made a point to be a little more careful. There was no point in tempting fate with another fall. Once back at my car, I cleaned and bandaged it.

Today, I am a little sore on my left side, and my palm is sporting a nice bandage, but nothing to stop me from another 10 miler this morning.

Anyone who is runs on the trails is likely to take a fall. As the miles stack up, the chances increase big time. The mind is tired and so are the legs. This presents the perfect conditions for fall.

I know that this will not be my last unless I decide to quite running on the trails. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Happy Trails.

The Cool Down Runner