My first trail race. I have seen first hand the good work that this camp has done. I believe in the cause of this race, so naturally, I wanted to run it, even though I know nothing about trail racing, and I am not really race ready for anything. My boys ran the 5k. I ran the 10k. They start the 15k and the 10k together at 8 am. Then wait a bit, then start the 5kers. We live an hour from the camp, so we had to get up pretty early for this. We got there, got our bibs, and took the tractor pulled trailer to the start. We wandered about checking out what we could of the camp, did some strides, and looked at the lake. The course goes around this lake to start, on dirt and grass, then into some single track on shell that was not very well compacted, over a couple of small narrow bridges, and then moving out between all of those; dirt, grass, pine straw, shell, sand, narrow, wide, and so on. It was a real mixed bag. Scenic as all get out. Fog through the pines. Running through the oak hammock. Pretty stellar stuff. Anyhow, the first chunk of shell running slowed me down quite a bit. I had to work super hard to get through it. I got turned around and had to double back a couple of times. not really long distances, but enough to annoy me, and get in my head. Then just before mile 3, I had this woman come up behind me and say "I'm pacing myself off of you." (I had a very similar experience in a previous marathon, and it kind of ticked me off.) I said, "you know, I've gone off course a couple of times already". Then she told me that if we got lost it wouldn't be her fault. Is that funny? She should be a comedian! Then we hit a big grass patch, and I left her. It was really great cruising in the grass. But in the next shell zone, she caught back up to me, and I could hear her crunching away behind me. We went around a really tight turn, and my left foot caught a ditch all wrong and I mildly rolled my ankle. I stopped running long enough at this point for her to pass me. I said "just go". I decided to just jog it in, to save my ankle. Then it was just me, making hard turns through the pine trees like I was skiing. A few good long straight grass patches, and my ankle started to feel decent again. Then back to the lake. Big wide areas for running until about a half mile to go, near the POPs, they turn you onto single track stuff. After getting off course at least 7 times, this was the worst part of the race. If you get behind some super slow 5kers here, you're done for. There is no "out of the way" for them to get to. I may have yelled a bit here. So then the course gets wide again, and I cruised through the finish. As it turns out, I won my age group. This is the coolest race award I have ever received. It is a routed, emblazened hunk of a log, cut into a disc segment to look like a race medal. There was an enormous food spread after the race. Shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, bacon on a stick, tons of food. They had some healthy stuff too. I tried the acai (is that how you spell it?) berry smoothie. Even though a ton of stuff went wrong in the race, I still had a really good time and plan on going again next year. Like I said, I believe in the cause. The boys did decent in their 5k as well. They were too busy jumping off a dock and swinging off a rope swing into the lake to hang around for me getting my award though.
This race reinforced a couple of things I already knew. 1. "Racing" isn't "running". I forget that sometimes because I go so long between races. The mentality in a race is different, and you just can't get there running solo miles. I need more frequent, shorter, races in my life. 2. I could also add some longer tempos to the running plans. But we already knew that they can't all be easy runs.
The real story of this weekend was the brutal schedule. This is the last soccer touranament of the season. So Friday night - game in Sarasota. Saturday morning - races in Charlotte County. Saturday noontime - game in Sarasota. Saturday evening - beach for sunset. Sunday morning - game in Sarasota. Sunday noontime - Avengers End Game. Sunday evening - Church childrens program. (I have been involved with the 5th and 6th graders small group for a couple of years, and I do not like to miss it for something like soccer.) This weekend has left me incredibly thirsty. It's crazy. I can't drink enough water.
....What a weird ending to a race report.....