Tuesday, July 14, 2015

RACE REPORT : Bare Bones 10 Miler 2015

My friend from the UK was going to be in town, and he had found this local race in Asheville, NC, so I figured that I joined him.  It helped that I had only managed one run that week, so I already tapered for the race!  It was a bare-bones trail run.  No pressure, and something different.  He ended up not being able to make it due to a flight re-direct due to weather.  I made the drive up, overshot the race location by a few miles because of a questionable address on the website (someone else had done the same thing, so I wasn’t the only one).  Parking was right next to the road, so others who came along afterwards could probably tell where to stop more easily.  As I waited for the race start, I even found a geocache right at the entrance to the park, like 20 feet away from where I parked!  Score!  My first one in NC.

It was a small race that had gotten some news coverage, so their turnout was higher than expected, at around 55.  The course was two x 5-mile figure-8s, with an aid station in the middle of the 8 that you’d pass 4 times.  The race start was a long and steep uphill, and I’m typically slow on uphills.  There was a 5-miler going on at the same time.  Everyone was tentative about starting at the front, because it was nearly single-track, and you didn’t want to be the one holding everyone up.  I tried to stay way to the side, even though I was at the front.

As we headed out, the hard uphill began.  I got passed, as expected… fortunately, this part was wide enough to pass.  The path got narrow.  At some points, the single track was waaay narrow, with a big dropoff on the side – tedious!  It’s a great trail to have accessible for locals, but they must be rolling the dice on not tripping and falling off the side, each time they go on a run here.  

I passed another person back, then was behind two other people for a good chunk of the 2nd 8th of the race.  At first, it was good to have them keep my pace reasonable so that I didn’t overdo it.  I had exerted myself way too much during the 1st 8th of the race trying to not hold up those behind me too much.  After a while, though, especially on the dowhills where I had to brake a lot to not run into them, I asked to pass – freedom!  From there, I caught up to another person.  

I was wearing my Salomon S-Lab trail racing shoes.  I had raced a large-gravel trail 10K in them before, and they stayed on well.  I was careful to try to keep the pull-down laces well tucked.  I had snagged the lace on a root in an early section of the race, though, so it was flopping a bit.  In the 4th 8th of the race, on a thankfully slightly wider (maybe 1.5 shoulder widths) and flat portion of the trail, I stepped on the loose lace and totally ate it.  My right knee and my palms got cut up, with a couple of scrapes on my belly, too.  Good thing I fell forward, and not to the side!  I hoped that I hadn’t done my knee any permanent damage.  I was in shock and in pain for the first couple of minutes, and I stood by the side of the trail and recovered.  One of the guys that I had passed, passed me back.  I started jogging again, slowly.  It may be like that for the rest of the race…

I finished the first loop, and back up the big hill.  I was doing a more normal running motion again.  Back around the previously encountered trails, checking out my wounds as I ran.  Lots of dirt in the wounds.  My motivation for keeping going during the 2nd 5-mi loop was finishing quickly so that I could get the race done and get the wounds cleaned up.

It was hard to tell how I was doing, position-wise, since you didn’t know how many were doing the 5er, and how many were doing the 10er.  The finish was as steep down as it was up, but it was a good feeling to finish.  Not the best-paced race, and the fall certainly added a few minutes, but I finished 1st for the women!  I was happy to grab some water and try to clean up the wounds a bit.  No antibiotics, though… I want to minimize the chance of drug resistance.  

The race had a fun, casual atmosphere.  Instead of medals, they had cute/unique pirate figurines with black ribbons on them.  That fit the theme of the race, and it’s cool to have something fun other than a medal every now and then.  The prize was a big pirate flag, which was also creative.

After the race, I went into downtown Asheville and did a quick geocache grab.  I would’ve explored a bit more, but parking is so expensive there!  5 cents = 3 minutes…. I know it’s not much, but mentally, it doesn’t seem right… a money-eating machine.  I ran to the cache, in order to make it back to the car in time.  I had found a couple of coins on the ground at the race, which made me feel better.  I actually found an Arizona flag keychain trackable at the cache and took it with me to the car.  But when I looked up its mission, I saw that it was racing similar-looking flags back to Arizona, and I figured that Asheville got more traffic than where I’m from, so I left it there.  Fun idea, though.

After that, I did a few more caches, before going to Highland Brewing Co for a tour. 

RACE RESULT: 1:33:22, 9:20 ave.

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