Wednesday, June 13, 2012

French Countryside on Sunday Morning

Another trail race in the Dirt Day Series last weekend at French Park. (my first one was Mount Airy - May 20 blog). I was at the park last year for an outdoor wedding and it's really pretty. So, I'm thinking a 3.4 mile run in the “French countryside” will be an easy training run on a pretty Sunday morning. The race site mentioned the interesting features of the course are a few creek crossings which with little rain should be easy as well. Typical for a trail race, the folks, about 150 people, were laid back, mostly young and fit. I'm a fairly shy person, however I find myself striking up conversations with almost anyone at these events because it feels easy and they can be pretty interesting people.

There's a fellow at work who started running again to spend quality time with his three sons. His twin boys are competitive high school track and cross country runners, and the younger boy is in middle school also starting to run on his school’s team. I suggested they should try out this race as it may be a little different than their typical cross country meets. No pressure, just run for fun, and if you smoke the older people, cool. They all showed up, and were especially excited to run through the creek. 

At the start, I lined up near the front and asked a guy about his tat of chainrings on his shoulder. He said he noticed my leg tat (Jan 2012 blog) and then asked the girl in front of us, who was a friend of his, to show me hers. She had a shoulder chainrings tat as well but with flowers, vines and such. She was also wearing bun huggers, unruly red hair, bb ring and various other tats. (clearly supports my comment on interesting people at trail races). She also had noticed my tat and told me she thought it may have been real. She then pointed out her real one, which was 70% healed.

The start was a long downhill in grass so we all took off at a fast pace. I stayed with the "tat group" at a 6 pace while the leaders were flying at something close to 5. At the "bottom" of the hill my heart rate was humming but I figured I could cruise on a flat section to reel it back in. After turning the corner at the bottom, the decent continued as far as I could see which shocked me. I reluctantly fell off the pace, which is a shame, as I did not want to waste a smooth downhill but I had no choice. I thought "this course has larger elevation changes than expected" and that would be an understatement. So back to the top, back to the bottom, back to the top, etc. Throw in some rocks, roots, creek running, and creek crossing, and the short 3.4 mile course was exhausting. I am proud I was able to run hard to the finish, a 200 meter + uphill through a field. I almost lost whatever I ate that morning, but managed to hold on to avoid embarrassment. 

Turns out "bun hugger" had the fastest women's time out of 56 women! When they called her name as the winner, I thought, hey, I know her, she showed me her tattoo! One of the twins ran with the top three for a while and then finished 14th overall. I asked the younger brother what he thought and he just said, “that was really hard”. Haha, he’s hooked.
Somebody's Pup at French Park


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