|Waiting for the start on a beautiful sunny spring morning.|
I had originally planned on doing the six hour version of this race but my Dad was in town visiting and so that gave me a good excuse to drop down. Boy was I glad that I did. Three hours was plenty of running on this twisty, snaky, muddy mess of a trail. Plus, I would have been killed in the six hour race by Troy Albright who ran pretty much the same pace as I did except that he did it for six hours instead of three.
My friends Tim and Nico Hall and Chris Montgomery went with me. Tim and Nico cheered us on while Chris ran an excellent race gathering nearly twenty miles. He should be ready for Poconos.
My expectations were to just have a fun race and to take it easy. I would run hard if I needed to but hoped to cruise to a victory and in this way, test out my sciatic nerve to see how well it stood up.
As it turned out, the race was anything but easy and my sciatic did not hold up (although it was better than at Little Rock). When the race started I expected a nice easy pace to begin with. Instead three other guys took off! I think they thought it was a 5K. Normally I would have let them go but since it was just a three hour race, I thought I better keep them close.
I really do not like these kind of starts. Lots of testosterone as guys jockey for position and try to test one another. It's really a pain in the rear. With so much running ahead of us, there is no reason to start like this. We can race after two hours, not after two minutes. We were going so fast that I lost my footing in the mud four times and went down. One time actually landing my face in the mud. I would look up and those other guys would be thirty yards up the trail already. Very discouraging.
|This was one of the smaller mud puddles but I probably went down in this one too.|
On top of this, the course was very muddy especially after the first 4.1 mile loop. (The race consists of a 4.1 mile loop. Do as many as you can in three or six hours, finish on a half mile loop with any remaining time and that's all that is to it.)
After two loops, the field finally began to thin out and was just Troy and I. On the third loop, I started feeling a little better and passed Troy. I kept thinking that I am just doing the three hour so I should surely beat him. But then on the fourth lap, my sciatic really acted up. My splits were 29, 31, 33, 36, and 35 minutes for each of the loops.
After that terrible fourth loop, I contemplated just ending it right there. 16 plus miles was good enough and my sciatic really hurt. But I looked at my watch and had 50 minutes to get in another loop. I could nearly walk that so I went ahead and did one more and started to feel a little better.
After completing that fifth loop, I did three additional mini half mile loops which was good enough for the win though not by much because second place Nick Seymour was just a half mile back and he is one solidly built fellow. As skinny as I am, I often put distance on those big guys so he is really one heck of runner that should not be underestimated.
The race was a lot of fun as always when TATUR does a race and very well organized. The weather was nearly perfect. Chris and I were so caked with mud that afterward we cleaned up at a dirty pond. I actually swam in it just to get the mud off.
Now I will take some time off. Perhaps as much as a week without running to try to heal. I haven't taken a week off in many years so I am sure it will do me some good.
|Time to jump in the pond.|