The race didn't start until 9am, so I got to sleep in until the very reasonable race morning hour of 6:40. I enjoyed about 30 minutes in the porto-potty line, then continued my JFK tradition of sprinting to the race start.
We didn't get bibs, but I did get this:
|Nothing like starting a race with an emergency|
phone number to inspire confidence
The race was on gorgeous trails, and there were some leaves covering up rocks and roots, and a lot of mud, but overall the course was really runable. I was having one of those "11 minute miles feels like sprinting" days and by mile 5 I was exhausted. The race didn't have many big climbs but it was nonstop rolling hills.
|Near the top of one of the hills|
|There was also a lot of running through fields and random grassy areas|
During the race, I ate:
- a delicious oatmeal craisin bar some talented runner made
- an orange slice
- a piece of chocolate donut
- pretzel M&Ms
- a few sips of orange Gatorade
I like my races on the wild side. In addition to eating home baked goodies, here are some other fun trail aspects that you just don't get from road racing.
- At one point I entered a "managed hunting area" and couldn't see a single other person or sign of human life, but I did hear gunshots.
- The race was extremely well marked and yet somehow I ended up lost with a random group of runners. Since I wanted to add on miles and they had maps and seemingly a sense of direction I wasn't too concerned. I just pretended I was one of them and after all sorts of backtracking we followed the trail we were on until it intersected with the course.
- There were a ton of stream crossings and they slowed me down like crazy. Usually I don't worry about it and just splash through, but the temperature was 23 at the start and not predicted to get above freezing. I wasn't trying to lose any toes to frostbite.
Other than running the first mile or so with my JFK buddy and coworker Matt, and chatting with a few ladies around mile 15, I pretty much ran the whole thing in silence. My upcoming marathon doesn't allow headphones, and even though I made it 50 miles without music I still love rocking out to Ke$ha from time to time. I had headphones in my hydration pack and wanted to bust out my iPhone so bad but I forced myself not to, to build up mental stamina or something. I've never run that far without music or company and I certainly haven't run nearly that long (3 hours and 36 minutes) without it!
|Proof that some of the race was, in fact, in the woods.|
|No trail race is complete without battle wounds.|
Usually I'm not hungry until a few hours after I run but after this race I couldn't get a hot dog in my mouth fast enough.
|It's hard to tell, but half that dog is gone.|
Since I left the race nice and full, I was actually able to stop at Wegmans on the way home and grocery shop without putting my entire life savings at risk. I had leftover homemade hot fudge and heavy cream from my peanut butter stuffed hot fudge cupcakes, so clearly buying ice cream and making an epic sundae was my only choice.
|Sundae and fuzzy blanket - Saturday night of champions|
The game was the Baltimore Ravens vs. the Colts, my sister's favorite team, and since I live in Baltimore and am technically a Ravens fan, she'd been laying down some twitter trash talk. I don't know what happened but I guess the family rivalry got me revved up and watching the game turned out to be fun, especially since the Ravens won. Eric even said he liked watching it with me and didn't mind that I asked him stupid questions every 10 seconds.
I am adding an item to my 2013 resolutions: I will become a true Ravens fan and enjoy football. I'm about 97% positive that adding meat to my diet helped immensely so by next fall I should be ready to embrace the sport whole heartedly.
Believe it or not, my nasty runners feet helped too.
Anyone else ever done a free race? Would you want to?