Maybe I want to back up a bit here. Running the 4th Season Races series was my introduction to trail racing and racing in general. My goal for 2012 was to run one race a month and I found a race in December of 2011 and signed up and as Mike can attest to I signed up for a couple all at once (I think the Resolution Beach and Ryan Park). Then there was this whole series thing and the race locations were so cool I did them all! I also started looking for more trail races and didn't find many.
I remembered seeing the Li'l Rhody Run Around last year (2012) and I had already committed to Mews Beers and Gear (my 5K PR of 27:27) well crap. The website had a map so I ventured out to run the course at some point in the fall of 2012. There was a biker with an NBX shirt noticing I looked rather perplexed, he said "Hi can I help you?" and I thanked him and asked about the trail and he said, just go down the dirt road, through a play ground and look for the yellow arrows. OK, and off he went and off I went. It was fun, bridges, rocks, roots, and then there was this wall of granite ledge to scale. Oh my, have I wandered off course? Up and over I went wondering how the heck did the mountain biker get through this, did he carry his bike? (later Dave showed me how to get around the granite ledge - ah ok, not sure which I prefer).
Anyhoodles I put a mental note I wanted to run this in 2013. As 2013 progressed I got to know several of the WTAC runners, and several other runners! I felt less and less conspicuous as a slow runner, and more and more and more like I just like to run in pretty places, and no one seems to mind if I come in last or when I finish but they were as curious about me as I was about them and some friendships have formed and some acquaintanceships have formed.
As races have progressed through the year, it has been so great to see so many familiar faces, put blogs together with people, get to know current and former co-workers with similar passions. This is my last racey race of the year, really, it is!! Ok, the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot is to get together with a friend and her daughter, not to race, plus they have a super cool t-shirt!! So this race felt a little like graduation of sorts. Maybe graduation isn't the right word...
The race itself is put on by WTAC, it benefits a scholarship fund. This race was the highest participant turn out ever. The day was perfect, low 50 F temps, slight breeze from time to time, cloud cover. The best part was after the last runner came through the chute and everyone gathered a light sprinkle started. Thank you weather gods for holding off! I understand it was pretty icky for those having to clean up the course, for the participants, or at least me, it seemed like the perfect end.
The race itself. It is hunting season in RI and the law requires 200 square inches of orange. I received a note from a friend (Phil, one of the former co-workers I had no idea was a runner until he saw me at Tarzan Brown a few weeks ago) he asked if the Tarzan Brown shirt would work. I really didn't think so. Growing up in farming and hunting country, we didn't leave the house with out our hunters orange from October till March. Besides shotguns at every door there were also orange hats and vests. And yes, bullets in every jacket my father owned - this possibly explains why I didn't have a second date until I moved out of the house. I assured Phil the Tarzan Brown shirt wasn't appropriate and there would be shirts available, and I would bring my stash of hunters orange shirts and hats. Not to worry. He did buy a shirt and hopefully left the tags on it to return it!!
|Middle, Eldest, Youngest - and Amile the Shih Tzu with her own orange vest (in the background)!! Thanksgiving 2012.|
I had my favorite new orange shirt on "What part of princess don't you understand?" so all I had to do was wait in line for the porta john and pin on my bib. Of course I remembered to bring along one of the bazillions sets of 4 pins I have pinned together and pin the bib to my shirt, #107, 7 is generally a good number for me. Either way it was going to be fun, beautiful day, perfect running weather. Ran into Buzz as he was scurrying down to get his bib and take care of all that pre-race business. Tom was in line and we discussed the map of Burlingame I shared with him earlier in the week and how to get to the Sammy C because it is such a beautiful section of trail with all the ledge. I didn't see Phil, huh...
Lining up I found Crutch and Amanda found us! I spied all the fast guys in the front. John Hammett asked which race this was for me for the week. Ha, thanks... And we were off. John's words of advice were don't get to far back or you'll be stuck. I managed to stay in the middle of the pack for the big bottle neck as we entered the single track and kept up a too fast pace for a few miles. Phil eventually caught up with me and eventually passed me assuring me I would pass him as I did in Tarzan Brown. HA! I doubted that was true. At the opportunities to pull off I did and let people get by. It sucks passing on single track and I was enjoying my run. Eventually I was where I wanted to be, alone, listening to the leaves crunching beneath my feet, reminding myself to step lightly and if you think you need two steps take three and just enjoy this time. A little walking up hills. Watch the damn rock gardens. I could remember every place I've stumbled or took a spill, and chuckle to myself. Well except for that rock garden before the ledge to scale, that spill was a little frightening. I just minded my Ps and Qs at that point and still managed to roll my ankle a bit but not fall!!!
I totally forgot how rocky and rooty it was after that ledge. I was a little tired, I'm sure the bike ride and all the hill climbs wore my legs out, and I was getting a little spacey.
Eventually there was the light, the end of the forest and the tarmac. Crutch was there waiting for me. OH crap was he going to make me actually run in this last mile? Oh HELL yes he was. My fastest mile of the race, I do believe. The tarmac helps, as does someone pushing me so I don't get lazy, because yeah I think my problem is I'm lazy! He chuckled when I said "You're pushing me." and he did back off a bit but picked it up a few seconds later. It was the though of a goose coming across the path that kept my pace up. Foul fowl they are.... And off to the finish line I sprinted. Thank you for that, means a lot.
I was surprised to see Seth out there waiting for Amanda, I couldn't imagine she would finish after me, even though she claimed she would be slow.
All in all a great race and a great run for an awesome organization and cause!
Beth, looking forward to just running for fun for a while till training for something starts depending on what happens on December 15th.