Date: Saturday, January 10
Distance: 10 miles
Pace: 7:02 mpm
Place: 4th Overall, 1st Master
Little River Park is in Hillsborough, just north of Durham. The race is held by the Trailheads, a local trail running group. I’ve run this race for the third consecutive year, and I do indeed look forward to it. I know many of the Trailheads, and George, AKA “Monk” is becoming a good running friend.
In past years the race was nine miles, and I was pleased that they extended the distance to an even 10. This is a very challenging course, with many switchbacks, exposed roots and rocks (many of them covered with leaves), quite a few steep uphills, and many blazing downhills. There were also quite a few muddy patches, and I slid on more than one occasion.
The race started a little past 9, and eventual winner (Russell), second place (Monk) and third place (Geoff) finishers, along with yours truly, took off. We ran together for the first mile, and then I was dropped like a bag of dirt. I kept them in my sights for a couple of miles, but never caught up with them. No one caught up with me either, so I ran solo from about mile two until the end.
I’d much rather be chased than chase. Thus, there’s not much to report. I was somewhat disappointed in my performance, as my goal was to run the course in 67 minutes. I never got into a rhythm, and I kept thinking that my legs could go faster — if only I wasn’t sliding, slipping, turning, and twisting. There were many times during that last two miles when turns came upon me suddenly, and I had to come to almost a complete stop in order to make the turns.
I wore a Mizuno sleeveless V-neck shirt, Mizuno gloves, Brooks running shorts, Suguoi cap, Mizuno sleeves (arms and calves) and Innov-8 305 trail shoes. I was pleased with everything but the shoes. The 305s didn’t provide nearly enough traction, and I developed a blister on my right foot.
One positive note: I did have a negative split. My time at mile 5 (if the ForeRunner was correct) was 36 and some change. Granted, I didn’t pick up that much time, but I did at least pick up the pace a little.
I promised my good friend, Ronnie, that I would run him in, and that I did! He finished about five minutes behind me, so I had time to prepare the photographer stationed about 200 meters from the finish. As Ronnie and I were approaching him, I reached out to pull him to me, and he grabbed my hand. I can’t wait to see the picture! (No need to be jealous, Karen, as he’s all yours.)
I won a new pair of Innov-8s. Just gotta go to Fleet Feet and select. 305s? Doubtful…