There were a few things that I left out about the race.
Guess My Time
I’ll admit, when Susan posted the time of 2:33, I was taken a back and thought to myself “Well, maybe.” But I found myself on the course thinking, “I might be able to pull off a 2:33 or something in that neighborhood”. The winner of the Big South Fork Guess My Time contest was Missionary Man, David Peach, of the excellent blog My Thought Spot and podcast Missionary Talks. David guessed a 2:55 and my official time was 2:56:26. So, that was closest. As promised, David gets some linky-dinks and here’s a picture of him. I was going to use the football helmet picture of him (he’ll know which one) but I went with this one instead.
Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones: “It’s all in your perception”
Trail running can be dangerous. Insects (if you are allergic), Cliffs, ledges, rocks, roots, wild animals… are all things that can make running off road a little more hectic than running on roads. However, the gains are worth it… softer footing, beautiful views, in essence an instant porta potty everywhere (beware of poison ivy) and the fun of running though the woods. For the runner that runs primarily on the roads, you don’t want to just dive into a long trail run, you need to get to familiar with running on uneven trails, ups and downs of the hills, running on different surfaces, etc. But no matter what, the longer the run, the more fatigue plays more of a factor in your safety.
During the race, I stumbled once and fell twice. You want to hear about them? Early in the race, I had though to myself that “Man, I’ve been running pretty well” and sure enough shortly afterwards, I slipped and stumbled. I was able to use my cat like reflexes to stay up on two feet and “save” myself from a crash on the ground. I think I only saw 2 people take a nose dive in front of me, but I know that 2-3 people behind me me fell.
A couple things were working for us which was different from past times I ran the race, but this just led to different dangers. As I mentioned in the previous race report, there was not a lot of rain NOR were the leaves turning (or falling off), this helped us because we could easily see the trail. In years past, the trail was harder to see because the trail was covered over with leaves, and some tree roots and rocks were hidden. Combine that with wet weather and you have slippery stones underneath leaves, nature’s own booby trap. However, this year the path was easy to see and for the most part, you could see what was ahead. However, because it was so dry, the dirt and dust had covered some of the rocks and roots and, in essence, camouflaged them to the point that you couldn’t see them. Trade in your dollar bill for 4 quarters.
Both times that I fell, I was able to put my hands down to brace my fall (perfect set up for broken wrists) and neither time did my knee touch the ground. However, I think I would have liked to have taken the fall because, trying to contort your body to stay upright can lead to muscle strains and pulls, especially late in the race as when my falls happened. One of the falls was almost too classic for a sketch comedy. Around the 14-15 mile range, there was group of 4 of us, spread out with maybe 30-50 feet in between. I was in the 3rd position and the guy in front of me hits a rock or stump and totally crashes. He did a ballet roll and gymnastic tumble, and he was okay. I am thinking to myself, “I better be careful and watch where I am going.” No sooner did I think that when I hit the exact same root and place. *sigh* Funny is, as funny does. Had I not been as tired, I would have expressed more humor to the guy behind me.
Here’s a few pictures (courtesy of My Lovely and Talented Wife) from the race: