Monday, May 11, 2009
(real) Rock Creek race report!
(I realized while typing it that most of my race reports start out with the phrase "I got up early....", this one is no different!)
I got up early after a few too short hours of sleep.. damn those friends of mine scheduling rock shows the night before races! Seriously, everyone needs to check my schedule before booking shows! (kidding, only, kidding!) I drove to Lawrence and met up with Christy, Nick and Renee at the River Trails trail head and we all 4 carpooled to Perry Lake. Less emissions and the chatter kept me from falling asleep. When we got to the park, there was much greeting of friends and hugs while waiting in line to check in. Willie and Karen Lambert put on a great race and they really know how to take care of the runners but their races are also laid back affairs which I really appreciate. I checked out my goodie bag and tried to decide what to wear... it was a pretty brisk morning (Gary was wearing tights!) but I knew it was going to be in the 70's later.. but the questions was.. how much later?? I chose to wear my short sleeve Atayne shirt and giraffe print Moeben sleeves, (it turned out to be the right choice.. when it got too warm I pushed the sleeves down and kept on going) grabbed my handheld bottle and I was good to go.
Willie gave us some instructions "1/2 marathon runners follow PINK ribbons" blah, blah, blah "Did I mention 1/2 marathon runners follow the pink ribbons?" Then we all walked down the road a ways to a suitable crack in the pavement where we all lined up. Willie gave us a last minute instruction "1/2 marathon follow the PINK ribbon!!!" and we were off. I appreciated the constant reminder that I was to follow the pink ribbons since I had earned my first DNF out here last year by getting lost! Whoops! (for a recap click here ) The speedy guys took off down the pavement and up the hill and then turned onto the single track and the rest of us mortals ran the short pavement section at a more sedate pace. I really like how the pavement and the hill breaks everyone up before hitting the single track.. no dead stop bottlenecking!
It was a gorgeous morning to be running the trails with friends. Even though we had gotten a ton of rain recently, the trails were in great condition... a few small mud bogs here and there but mostly dry, gorgeous trail! The sun was out and peeking through the trees and I warmed up enough to push my Moeben sleeves down. My legs were feeling a bit heavy but I tried to keep a steady pace and got a chance to chat with a number of different people as the usual ebb and flow of the trails happened. I ran with Deb Johnson for awhile and she was trying to decide if she was ready to run her first 100 at Kettle Moraine in June, I did all I could to talk her into it. She's running so strong and has an amazing base she'd be silly not to! I just know she'd rock that bitch and rock it hard! She dropped me hard on the downhills (I need to take some lessons from her!) and after that I was by myself for the rest of the race.
My stomach got grumpier as the run went on... I really should know better then to drink beer on tap the night before a race. Most bars don't clean their lines often enough so draft beer can be contaminated with all sorts of nastiness. Maybe my next tattoo should read "bottles only!" to remind me.... or I suppose I could just not drink before a race! I kept eyeballing the bushes but lack of TP kept me from heading off trail.... there was no way I was going to use one of my beloved Drymax socks and I'm always forgetting what poison ivy looks like so I figured I'd better just deal with the stomach cramps instead. Other then the stomach, I was feeling pretty good after I warmed up. The course was very well marked..even to the point of wrapping pink tape on logs that were lying on the ground.. but of course I tripped on a well marked log anyway.. actually let's just say I tripped on the pink tape instead of the log. All I got were dirty knees and a sore shoulder though... phew! Perry Lake is much hillier then I remembered so it made it a very good training run! I'm going to be spending a LOT more time out there... the trails aren't blaze marked like Clinton Lake so I'll just have to go out and get lost a few times until I figure it out.... either that or try and hook up with some of the Topeka trail folks and let them lead me around!
The aid stations were great but I was going light.. just water refills and 1 orange slice... in retrospect I probably should have eaten a bit more but I was afraid for my wobbly guts so the last 2 miles were slower then they should have been. Each of the aid stations was very well staffed by an adult and also a plethora of kids.. it brought back memories of hanging out at races as a child and running around like a crazy person. I got a chance to wish Lee good luck at the last aid station, as he is running the Berryman 50 next weekend... so send all sorts of good wishes his way! I finished up in 2:36:03 (unofficial)... a bit slower then I wanted but not awful. The awards were going on as I finished which meant that everyone was still around and I got to hear all the stories... and we hung out till the end to help cheer everyone home. A truly enjoyable spring Saturday! Something I have to note: last year at this series I picked up a lot of trash on the trails during the race (empty gu & gel packets and cups), this year there was nothing on the trails for me to pick up! I was so very happy to notice it.. of course there is always the possibility that there was someone running in front of me that is just as cranky about seeing race generated trash on the trails and was picking it up before I got there.. but somehow I doubt it. I hope it's a sign that people are being more aware that it's NOT appropriate to throw their trash on the trails.
*photo by Rick Mayo who stomped all over most of the field as per usual and in addition to being a super, super fast runner is a really nice, encouraging guy to boot! He'll be kicking some ass Kansas style at Western States this year!