This past Saturday I had the pleasure of running in the Third Annual Rock Creek Nite Races. Originally it wasn't my intentions to run the race. Instead what I had planned for the night was to volunteer setting out glow sticks on part of the course. Then help my wife at the aide station she would be working. Mostly just a lot of siting in a lawn chair with an ice cold beer in my hand. Watching the rest of my friends who had entered the Marathon. Suffer in the stagnant muggy night air.
While marking the course. The beauty of the rugged rocky technical trail had drawn me in. Like the peer pressure from your high school friends. Mother Nature knew just exactly how to twist my arm. Making my way back up to the start/finish area completing my assignment. I told the RD to put me down for another 13 miles just like it.
Not really sure how my legs would feel. Seeing as how the Half Marathon was to be my third run for the day. I wasn't entertaining any thoughts of racing this one all the way to the finish. Deciding instead to just go out hard for the first seven or eight miles then shut it down and cruise the rest of the distance in.
The race got underway and I hit the trail head with the lead. Running along the appropriately named section of trail Copperhead, where I once actually saw the trails namesake on a training run three years ago. I let my mind drift. Taking in the amazing views of Lake Perry along her rock strewn and weather beaten shore. I had the easy feeling of being on one of my everyday training runs. No pressure, no stress, cruising along in my own little world.
It wasn't long and I came into the first manned aide station at mile 5.7ish. With a split time of 36:54. A lot faster than I felt like I was running. I had a bottle filled and chugged two glasses of water and a couple of E-Caps. Staying true to my pre-race plan I kept running until I was forced to have to turn on my headlamp.
With just about all the light gone from the sky now. I didn't see any point to try and maintain this Kamikaze pace. The section of trail I was on is a technical nightmare in the daytime. The only thing I could hope to accomplish running a seven flat pace would be the complete mutilation of my feet and ankles. So I backed off and started to settle into a nice comfortable pace for the remainder of the evening.
The rest of the run I tried as best I could to focus my eyes on the small illuminated spot a few yards in front of me. Listening to my breathing. The shifting rocks under my feet and the night critters. By critters I mostly mean the blood sucking mosquito's buzzing in my ear. Before I realized where I was on the course. I found myself crashing out of the woods and onto the 1/4 mile of dirt road that lead us back to the finish line. Just like that it was over.
I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:59:14? I think. I wasn't too concerned with where that ended up. Satisfied with that time for a somewhat, long Half Marathon or short 25km. No matter what the actual distance ended up being. I was just happy to be done and all in all. It wasn't a bad way to end your third run for the day.
Thanks again to everyone for everything. It's been a pretty crazy but successful month of July. Now however it's time for me to take a little break and recharge the batteries for the Fall season.
"A competitor will find a way to win. Competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves just that much harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up. It's all a matter of pride."