February 1, 2014
Decided to try a Big Baz race. I have heard so much about his events and a bunch of my friends in AREC have run some (or ALL) of them. Additionally, I am doing Way Too Cool (I’m back) but I need a baseline to determine if I will be ready and decide what kind of pace I will be able to do.
Part of my decision whether I’ll go or not was if other people were going. Not that I can’t run on my own (I am usually running by myself any way.), but it is a bit of a haul and if I don’t go, I will just find the AREC trail folks and run with them. Fortunately, Art and Tiffany are going and let me drive out with them.
The course is mostly the Candy Store loop, which I have done before… but not all 21 miles of it. I know it will be tough, but at least it will be in the light of day. Oh, no, it will be in the light of day… it could be hot.
However, at the start line, it is pretty darned cold. It reminds me of a Charlie Alewine or a Robert Gilcrest race, where they are organized, but freewheeling, too. The pre-race announcements are folksy and most everyone here is a regular. I don’t feel left out, though… until the race starts and I immediately fall behind most everyone.
The first hill is paved and I don’t want to run it and sap all of my energy. Also, my left knee and lower back are bugging me (I think I didn’t do my stretches this morning (at 4am).).
Once I clear the hill and begin running on the trail, I am going a lot better, though the trail is technical. The plus for me on this section is that I am not traversing this in the dark, as I did at Old Goats 50 in 2012.
I didn’t get too far before a tree “stole” my hat. This happens every once in a while where my hat hooks up on a branch and gets pulled right off. This doesn’t happen too often, but it IS annoying to get it unhooked when I am running downhill.
My favorite section is where the trail gets less technical and you can see the surrounding environs. If I was running a little faster, I would be able to see lots of runners off in the distance on another section of the trail, but I don’t really see much of anyone.
The second half of the trail is almost all uphill. Onthe last technical section of the trail (near to where my hat was poached), I stumbled and fell… but since I was going uphill, I didn’t actually hit the ground.
Finally, I got to the top of the hill, which meant I would be running down the same hill I came up at the beginning. I get a lot of cheers from people who have long since finished and are changing their clothes at their cars.
When I do finish, in 2:36:48 (about 10th to last), they are just about to do the awards… nearly everyone in our group gets an award, since the race is relatively small. I got a special “award” from “Big Baz” (not as big as me) – a hat (that I honestly will not wear), but the guy is friendly. I manage to chug down a large can of Guinness (I didn’t have as much time as everyone else, since they finished so much before me).
I think this was a good test to get ready for Way Too Cool. My 2-1/2 hour time translates to a 7:20 for 50K, which would put me under the maximum finishing time with a bunch of time to spare.