Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2013 Mile Run Trail Challenge

The start of the race with Marshall and the two
Waughen brothers in front.

The first local trail race of the season took place March 30 near Lewisburg. The Mile Run Trail Challenge is a half marathon with some good vertical and plenty of rocks. I like the course and the half marathon distance. For some reason I was really nervous before this one. I had been fourth last year and I knew I had a shot to win it so I guess that had me excited. The temperature was good this year, about 40 degrees, but there was snow on the north side of the mountains, up to 3" in spots, which made footing slippery in spots.

The race starts at 10am, which I appreciate, because it takes me about an hour to get there and I don't have to wake up so early. The gun went off and the Waughen brothers and Eric Marshall went right to the front. I was behind them, followed closely by David Lister, John Johnson and Adam Russell. Eric and the brothers began to pull away and I let them go. I felt like I was expending too much effort and worried it would come back to haunt me. I figured I'd let them go and maybe I would get lucky and be able to catch them at the end. 

Running into the first aid station.
At the first aid station, I stopped and David and John passed me. I settled into an effort and eventually Adam passed me as well. It was a good day for running, although the snow made it a little more difficult. I was able to pass one Waughen brother, Derek, about halfway in. The next three in front of me missed a turn at one point and I was able to tag onto the back of them. During the biggest climb around mile 9, David let me past as he was having traction issues. I didn't really want to pass, because then I knew I was going to have to run scared the rest of the race, but I went for it anyway. Shortly after the top of the climb, I was able to get past John as he was having major leg cramps.

With four miles to go I just started cranking as hard as I could, knowing I was being chased by really good runners. The descent after the last aid station goes over the same ground as the original ascent and it is rocky and about three miles long. There was no snow here so I could really press, in spite of the rocks. I finally got down to the tunnel and couldn't see anyone behind me or in front of me.

I thought my foot was going to hit bottom right here.
This year the race went under both lanes of Route 80, which was new. In prior years it just went under the westbound lane. The tunnels have creek water in them about 4-6 inches deep but are concrete so you can take them fast. I hit the end of the second tunnel and expected to put my foot in 6 inches of water and exit to my left but my foot kept going. There was a four foot hole that I just stepped in! I went into my neck and scraped up my knees good on the rocks. I floundered for a bit in the icy water and finally found my footing and got out onto dry (well, muddy) ground.

Nope, it didn't.
The last half mile was tough, as always, because it it uphill on road and I just trashed my legs with three miles of furious downhill. I made it to the finish in a time of 1:52:12, good for fourth place, and looked down and both legs were bleeding and I was soaked with cold water. What more could you want after a trail race?

Brock Waughen had ran a gutsy race and was able to hold on for the win in 1:48:48 over a hard-finishing Eric Marshall. Adam Russell finished just three seconds behind Eric. In the women's race, Ashley Moyer was able to take this first race from Meira Minard. That is going to be a fun competition to watch as Ashley is running really well and Meira is super-competitive.

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