After today's Whitewater Labor Day 15k trail race, I found myself a comfortable spot along the finish wall. As the seconds continue to click off, I saw numerous runners cross the finish line. Some had smiles their faces to illustrate their feeling of accomplishment. Others slowed to walk with a grimace on their faces. Mud covered their legs, arms, and/or shoulders. Blood flowed from their knees, elbows, hands, and few had busted lips. These were the core members of the Blood and Guts crew to finish. More than few times, I have left the Whitewater Center humbled by their trails so I could truly empathize with their pain.
Personally, I pretty much had an uneventful day. I chatted for a few minutes with Marcus, and I could nothelp but laugh at his predicament. He and Chad were grabbing a little extra warm up miles only to have the race start before he and Chad made it back to the starting line. We were heading out from the beer garden while he and Chad to go all the way back to the starting line so they cross the mat. He and Chad made up for it as they both came sprinting back up to the front.
We entered North Main trail by the Figure 8 entrance. Marcus, Chad, and another guy were running strong. I was following 4th place guy until we hit the steep hill by the river. I made the pass and pulled away from him. Along the ridgeline, the lead woman and different guy closed in behind me. But they made no effort to pass and by the time we were back running along the river, I was opening some distance on them. I was loosing just over a minute per 5k to the leaders but I was running by myself and could set my own pace though the tougher sections. I wasn't going to catch them but neither was I in too much danger of getting caught from behind.
By the time that I turned on the Lake Loop, the leaders were completely out of sight. With nothing to gain or lose, I focused on setting solid pace for the rest of the race. I exited the Lake Loop, and then, they had us running the short section behind the Whitewater Center. Thinking back to last year's race, I thought we went up the hill and down the gravel path to the finish. Taking the trail section doesn't really add much in the way of distance, but the difficulty level is amped up.
My time was 71:13 and I finished 4th overall and first in my group. The age group winners received these nice hot/cold thermos with the Whitewater name and logo.
I was hoping to run sub 70 minutes today but with the heat in the mid 80s and 100% humidity, my body just couldn't do it. I could feel my legs grow heavy doing the last 4 miles. I ended up 3:30 behind the leaders so the weather seem to be affecting us all.
Even with the rain storms popping up all week, the trails were in really good shape. I didn't notice any place where the ground was muddy.
All in all, I walked away happy with my effort.
The Cool Down Runner