Groundhog Gallop 21k Trail Race

Gibsonville, NC
February 14, 2009
1:24:51 (6:47 mpm pace)
4th Place Overall; 1st Male 45-50

This was a somewhat challenging race for a variety of reasons:
1. The 8k began 15 minutes prior to the start of the 21k, and the front group of runners (including yours truly) had to pass many 8k runners, many of whom were running while wearing headphones, didn’t give way, etc. In fact, I got elbowed in the chest while attempting to pass. It hurt.
2. It was a loop course; thus we ran the same course twice. I get bored when I know what’s coming ahead. 
3. The first mile of the loop was on pavement. I wore my new Inov-8s, and they were too much shoe for pavement. In fact, there were too much shoe for this course. I was expecting mud, but instead ran on frozen ground. I got a serious bruise on the little piggy on my right foot who didn’t have roast beef.
4. There was a river crossing; thus, we crossed the river two times in both directions for a total of four times. Very large boulders formed a makeshift bridge, but you had to be very careful when choosing your step. You could bound from one rock to the next or take two steps on each rock. I tried both ways, but nonetheless found that my pace slowed considerably. Given that there was a steep incline regardless of which direction you were crossing, you had to get your timing and footing just right. The second time I crossed, I had to wait for runners crossing the first time. Thus, I had to come to a complete stop. 

Some days you have it, and some days you don’t. I didn’t really have it on this particular day. I started the race strong, and in face led part of the first loop. There were a group of four of us, and I ended up being dropped, by one runner at a time, by the remaining three runners. Ouch. I had a pretty strong first loop, but then lost some of my zip. I can’t help but obsess over the upcoming Mt. Mitchell Challenge, and until that race is over, I’ve resolved myself to take whatever comes my way. Given that I’ve been running very long and somewhat slow, I’ve lost some of my speed. Yes, the course was challenging. No, I didn’t taper. Yes, I wore the wrong shoes. Nothing but excuses… I could have (and should have) run a much better race.

As with most races, I learned a valuable lesson. My lesson this race? Humility.

On the bright side, the folks at Off ‘n Running Sports, as always, did a great job! I also like the hat I won.

“We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” — George Bernard Shaw

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