Sunday, September 30, 2012

White Tail Trail Half

This race is a keeper. The race is very well organized, a large crowd of runners and supporters, and a really cool course that snakes around Caesars Creek Lake. The first half of the course is pretty flat with great scenery and a mix of surfaces. I suspect this is what attracted a larger than normal group of people that looked like road runners looking for a new challenge. The number of runners that carefully fold their bib's into postage stamp size artwork then pin them to their shorts, numbered less than 20%. (a trail runner thing) It looked like a really young crowd compared to other trail races I have done which is great!

A few buses took turns shuttling runners from the eventual finish area to the start line. Wow, do kids really inhale those "bus fumes" every day? No wonder our math scores are low.  

Although a chip timed race, the start is w/o a mat so everybody gets the same start time. So I started up front (again) to preserve precious seconds and I frankly enjoy feeling like an elite runner for a few minutes. The first mile or so is uphill on a road and I averaged under a 6 pace with a 5:35 max, whee! Into the woods we go and I'm still in the top 30 or so. The drama begins.

The first decent was a bit technical and with the front runners, pretty fast. I caught a toe, went flying, rolled and popped back up not even loosing a place. It must have looked like I practiced this but those around me kept asking if I was ok. hmmmm Then I noticed my hand felt wet and started to hurt a bit like a typical fall.
5 stitches and a tetanus shot

Turns out I landed on a rock or something that poked a hole and opened up the fleshy part of my hand. looks a bit sketchy but it really did not bother me except for the wet feeling as it continued to bleed throughout the race. That was probably a good thing as it washed away the forest creatures I disrupted from their nap.

At the half way point I was at a 9m/m pace, so I am thinking the coffee cup to the first 3 (in each age group) is in the bag. Unfortunately, the second half was more difficult and my legs were giving up. At about mile 9 or so, I fell again, on a flat section and landed on guess what? Yep, the hand gets another hit but the real problem was a hamstring lock up. I lost a few minutes to stretching until I could start running again. 

By now, my singlet was looking like I had been shot by a hunter. It felt good to my hand putting it on my cool and wet shirt but it was staining it red. This probably explains why the kids were reluctant to hand me water at the aid stations : ) 

A guy was snapping pictures at random places thoughout the course. He started by asking if I was ok, and then he would ask if I was still ok at a later point. At mile 10 or so, he told me I looked like a BAMF, a highlight : )

I was able to "sprint" (maybe a 7 pace) for the last hundred yards without cramping a calf or the hamstring. After the finish I took a look at my hand and decided this would require professional treatment.  I stopped at the ambulance for a disinfectant wash and maybe an opinion and he offered me alcohol wipes and did not even bother to get out of the truck. Really?

I decided a stop at the ER was wise so enter phase two of my adventure.
to the ER I go

The ER was not busy and I went directly to the area where they work on you. As is turns out most of the staff (all ladies) were runners and were curious about trail running. I really had fun talking with them and sharing my enthusiasm for running on trails versus the road. Perhaps a difficult "sell" when I looked (and probably smelled) like I wrestled with a bear.

I hope to see some of them on the trails in the future. 

Next up..Stone Steps!
All better


dculv11 said...

So hard core. I'm not surprised one bit that you finished as strong as you did after that tumble, but I sure am impressed!

Cindy Durall Gulden said...

I am an old classmate of Susie's and a beginning runner at age 54. I am amazed and inspired by your fitness and dedication to the sport! Happy birthday and happy trails ahead!!!

Much respect!!!
Cindy Gulden

Steve said...

thanks baby D. Way to go Cindy, keep it up and it will get easier!