|posted Oct-06-2007 04:35 PM
Today Jennifer along with one of our mutual running friends, Eric, and I made the 1 hour drive to Elkmont, AL to run the Rails to Trails 10K. This is a small race in a small town; however, the course is really fun. You run the first 3 miles on a hilly state highway. Then, you run the last 3.2 miles on a packed gravel trail through the forest along an old railroad line.
We've had another heat wave pass through the area so at 8am it was already in the seventies with 85% humidity, so I ran without my shirt. I feel cooler without my shirt plus I have this theory that a shirt soaked in sweat weighs about 1.5 pounds which slows me down.
The race starts with a long climb up a seemingly never ending hill. As we climbed this hill I compared the course to a roller coaster. You know the kind that starts with a slow climb to the top then shoots you rapidly down a series of hills before you climb again. You climb for about the first half mile, then for the next 2.5 miles you are mostly going downhill until turning onto the converted railroad bed trail. I ran these first 3 miles at 7:20, 7:14, and 7:42 dropping about 300 feet in elevation. You gradually regain that 300 feet over the next 3 miles on the trails. I ran these 3 miles in 7:55, 8:02, and 7:59 before attempting to sprint with what energy I had left the last .22 miles at a 7:18 pace for a 47:57. This was another PR for me (second straight weekend) and got 2nd place in my AG and 21st overall for the race. The results have not been posted yet so I still do not know how many actually ran in the race, but it wasn't a lot. I'd guess 80 or 90 overall and maybe 5 in my AG.
Eric pushed me the whole way. He led by a hundred feet or so most of the race. I caught up with him at the 4 mile mark when he walked while drinking water and I just skipped it and kept running. We ran side by side both afraid to slow down until the 6 mile mark, then he sprinted a little ways ahead of me. However, he couldn't maintain it and I was able to pass him back about 300 feet from the finish line. I saw the clock approaching 48 minutes up ahead and sprinted even harder to get under 48 by a whisker with Eric crossing just a second or two behind. I told Eric if he hadn't been pushing me that I'd have probably finished 20 or 30 seconds slower than I did. I also told him that the only reason I beat him was that he ran with his shirt on giving up 2 seconds per mile.
Jen still hasn't fully recovered from the pneumonia she had a month ago. She said she was having trouble getting enough oxygen the last 2 miles, finishing around 52:30. However, that was still fast enough to get 1st place in her AG on a fairly tough course.
Next weekend all 3 of us will be racing again in a 15K. The 15K is one of my favorite race distances. Should be fun.
[This message has been edited by tagcaver (edited Oct-07-2007).]