Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blast from the past

Looking through archives I found an old race report from the first Turkey and TATURs race. This was back before I did the bloggy thing. I suppose it's worth posting.

(2006 Turkey and TATURS 10k/25k/50k)

I’ll have the turkey, a side of taturs, and extra gravy

Sunday was the long awaited day. My great friends, Brian, Mike, Kathy, had put in hours putting this race together, and Dana, Earl, Randy, Brian, Mike, Marvin, Morgan, Austen, and Doug (have I forgot anyone?) had spent a very hot 97 degree day the day before marking miles and miles of the rugged dusty trails. I wondered if the extreme heat would hang around another day. What would Dan Threlkeld say? (It does help to have our own personal weatherman in our club!!) Well, at 5:00, it was a balmy clammy (Oh heck, it was HOT) 82 degrees. BUT, there was thunder in the distance, and did I see lightning on the horizon? Hmmm, rain = cooler temps. A short shower might be just the ticket.

Dana and I arrived at the race, and as always, I headed for the potty line. Looking at my watch and realizing that just in a few minutes, I would be on my journey usually makes me queasy, but today, I felt ready to run. Some of us Taturs had debated as to how hard this course was, and it is hard, but I kept telling myself that there were enough nice flat smooth trails mixed in here and there that some time could be made up. None-the-less, after Brain the RD yelled GO, I thought to myself, “what am I doing?!?!” A sea of runners rumbled down a hill and around a pond to the first of many miles of single track trail. After a short climb, the runners spread out enough that there was never really any congestion. Such exhilaration running fast on the down hills jumping over roots and rocks, the wind hitting me in the face….all was well with my world. I trotted along, trying to not lag too bad, but not push myself so hard so as to bonk early. If I was to bonk, I wanted it to be 100 yards from the finish.

It started raining fairly steady and little by little, the dusty trails turned to sticky goo, then just slop. After a mile of so of tiptoeing around the puddles, I finally started plowing right through them. How often do grown men get to play in mud puddles? Each aid station was a welcome sight. I capped my water bottle off at every other one of them, and took a gulp of Gatorade at about ½ of them. The PBJs and boiled potatoes were the perfect fuel to get me to the next aid stop. I did not think of the race as 31 miles, but as running from one end of the mountain to the other, just a short section here, and then a nice jaunt back, and I was able to lie to myself enough to get myself to the finish without being too overwhelmed.

I finished the 1st half in 3:28ish, grabbed a cookie, and headed out. The start/finish area was buzzing with activity at this time. A lot of 25Kers were finished, and most of the 10Kers were hanging around getting their prizes, eating and celebrating. One of my nephews, Jeff, had run his 1st 10K. His longest race up to this day was a 5K, and he doubled that, finishing 8th overall. I jokingly asked if he wanted to run the next loop with me, and he said sure! I cautioned him that it was 15.5 miles and he said he was good for it. I thought surely he would have to bail out, and since I know the trails at Turkey, I could show him shortcuts back to the YMCA. I asked him several times if he needed to cut it short, but he kept with me and actually helped me run a little quicker than I would have normally run.

The east mountain has 3 passes south to north, and 3 north to south. The runs northward were gradually downhill and I pounded them trying to shave off a few minutes. Little by little, the finish line was getting closer. After a second trip up Lip Buster, fatigue set in. Instead of cranking out 12ish minute miles (on the average), I slowed down about a minute per mile. I was still moving but my legs were hitting the ground a little harder, and the rocks were taking their toll on my quads and feet. But, the last 3 miles passed by. I wound through the series of switchbacks that everyone has commented on, nearing the finish line and then turning away for a bit, but finally I was at the point in the trail where the next turn was the last turn and then it was all downhill some 150 yards to the finish line.

There was a big puddle in the trail, and I made sure to stomp right through the middle of it. Loads of applause awaited me at the finish line. For a second, I was treated like a super-star!! I had to turn and bow, given the hearty welcome home. I finished in 7:13 and some seconds. It was about an hour better than I thought would be possible for me. I was pleased with the time. I agree, the course markings were good. Nothing like pink ribbons in a green wilderness.

The post food was good, even for back-of-the-packers like me. My burger was hot, the 2 or 3 hot dogs were juicy, and life was good! It’s amazing how I can burn 300 calories running and then in a single feeding put them all back into my belly!!!

I was proud of Dana for finishing a grueling 25k, Jeff for his 22 miles, his twin brother John for his 1st 10k and several more extra miles after the race, and Kody, another nephew for his 1st 10k.

I look forward to next year, more friends, more miles, more fun.

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