Sunday, June 21, 2009

Skip Matthews Memorial 4mile run

Skip Matthews Memorial 4mile run
Hanover NH
Time: 44:46

My Dad and I wait for the race to start in the light misty rain. I’m running on my own this year. I know I can do 40 minutes but with out someone there to push me on it will be hard. I get a hug from Dad and head to start line. The rain has let up for the most part.

The single is giving and we start down the streets of Hanover and head onto to the rails to trails path. It’s a crowded race. I plug along trying to maintain a good pace. I weave around the slower runners for the first half mile. Now I am mostly getting passed and it’s a little frustrating. Then around one and half miles I noticed the runners have spread out and I’m slowly catching people. I cross over two wooden bridges and enjoy the view and sound of the rushing water.

I get to the two mile mark and turn onto the paved road. I keep pushing on and soon come to the wooden covered bridge were a band is playing Susa music. I try to use the beat of the music to move me a bit faster. Right after the bridge the big hill of race starts. I see people ahead of me. I want to catch them. I begin to jog up the hill, but my prey keeps ahead of me. I’m pleased that I just ran the hill. Now it’s time for some good downhill running. Again I try to pick up the pace on the down hill but I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. Eventfully I do catch a few runners before the course turns back on to the rail trail.

I can feel my energy waning. I know the end is near but I can’t see it yet and it’s bringing me down. After what feels like many mile I finally see the end of trail and roads leading back to the finish line. When I get on the road I feel some energy coming back. As I near the last corner I begin to kick it a bit. I start to catch an older gentleman ahead me. I kick it in more and pass him around the last corner and home stretch to the finish line. I almost hesitated passing him when I saw his hat. It was exactly like mine. A 2009 VA Beach ½ marathon hat!

As soon as I run across the finish line and go threw the finish shoot I turn around to look for him. But he is gone back out on the course to meet up with some one that was behind him. I go and find Dad. He gives me a hug for a job well done and we head over to post race BBQ to enjoy some food together on another great Fathers Day run.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Peak 10mile Hell Run

Peak 10mile Hell Run
Pittsfield VT
Time: 2:24:10

We gather at the start. It’s small group of us trying the 10 mile Hell Run. A lot of us seem a little nervous. I’m not afraid of distances or the climbs, I know I can get to the finish line. What my worry is, is my injury from last fall. This race is going to be a test to see how my leg holds up. I haven’t had any issues recently so I have high hopes that it will hold up and not relapse. If it does goes well this will be a great training run to start the season with. I see other run unsure if they want to bother carrying water or not. I’m surprised by the amount of people that choose not to. I have my water belt and I know I will use it. It’s a warm day and its only going to get hotter, especially with all the hill climbing.

The RD gives the signal to go and we head quickly across the open grassy field. Why do we always have to start so fast? I try to keep up with the main pack the best I can. We head into the woods and onto the snowmobile trails and start to head up the hill. I’m still trying to run and finally start to walk and instead of killing myself. It’s early in the race, no point in using all the gas in the first half mile.

The trail gets steeper and steeper and always up. No downs or flats. I trudge on and refuse to stop moving forward up the hills. I will not stop to rest on the uphill. I keep telling my self this, its almost like a mantra. I pass a gentleman in cargo pants huffy and puffy and having a drink from his Poland’s spring water bottle. Up some more and I am slowly catching a girl ahead of me with no water. I offer her some water as I pass her and she smiles and says no thanks.

Finally the trail levels out a bit. The top is near. Then there is large tree across the trail. …Really? I actually come to a stop to look at the tree for a minute. What makes this tree difficult is the fact that you have to crawl under it or climb over it. Not to hard for me right now but I think of the tired 54 miler racers coming up to tree, pausing and swearing. But it’s not unexpected to find strange challenges at this race.

I crawl under the tree and continue on to the top of Joes Mnt. I feel great seeing the view and breeze. I run off of Joe’s and into an amazing labyrinth of evergreens and tight switch backs. I’m riding on a great runner high now. I’m loving the down hill grade threw this maze of dense trees. But all to soon the evergreens fall away and give way to larger snowmobile trails of switch backs still leading mostly down. I hear voices and eventually see some people on the trail below me on the trail. I’m I going to catch them? I few turns later I realize they are way ahead of me.

The trail dumps me out onto a dirt road and starts to climb to the only aid station. I head into the aid station and I’m greeted by a lack luster group of people. I could tell they had too many beers already. No one offered any aid or encouragement. I fill my water bottle. Have some water and take some chips and headed out. I head up the dirt road and the girl that I past a while back jogs by me. Drat these people the run the hills...

I head back into labyrinth of snowmobile trails go up more hills. Following switchbacks threw over grown bramble bushes. I can hear and or see people but I can’t tell exactly were they are on the course. The bushes give way to woods and the trail levels off. I begin to run again as the trail is mostly down with steep up hills thrown in. Threw this section I’m leap frogging with a girl. I keep catching her on the uphill climbs when I refuse to stop and she catches me on the flats and down hills. This goes on for awhile. The end must be getting close. As I run the steep downhills, I wonder how the 50milers manage to runs theses downs with their tired quads.

I have lost sight of the girl have been leap frogging with, she is some where ahead of me. I look at the time, I must be close to the bottom and the end. Then F*, there it is. I was warned there was a big steep long up hill just when you thought were close to being done. I put my head down and slowly trudge up the hill. I catch a glimpse of my frog girl up near the top. By the time I get to the top she is gone. I start to run again down the trails and finally see the river then the bridge that leads to the finish.

I happily run across the bridge and plug up the last knolls and finally around the barn and across the finish line. I get my own unique Peak award, a black-smithed nail spike welded to a metal base. I’m very happy because my leg didn’t act up all! Now to move onto the next best thing… Post race BBQ foody goodness.