Saturday, February 2, 2008

Runnin' the Rocks 10k

This is the tale of a race that went all wrong. A race on a day that just wasn't my day. But let's start at the beginning.

Runnin' the Rocks is a brand new trail race in Georgia and part of the (also new) xterra Trail Race Series. My girlfriend would run the race with me and we headed out to Conyers getting fired up with some Coldplay during the 45 minute drive. In all seriousness, we had a very mellow approach to the race. Trail races in Georgia are few and far between, which was one of the main reasons I had signed up for this event. However, I did want to do well and give it my all. I was a little concerned about a hard 11 miler (with 3,000+ elevation gain) I had run the previous afternoon. That workout would later come back to haunt me.

The race was held at the Georgia International Horse Park, which is also popular with local mountain bikers as those trails served as the site of the Olympic mountain bike races in 1996. It was a chilly morning with temperatures hovering around the freezing point. About 250 runners gathered to take on this course, which I imagine was new to most of us, since these trails are usually reserved for our mountain biking friends.

The t-shirts were surprisingly well-designed. Less race shirt and more SoCal hip. Maybe I can hang out with those cool kids from The Hills now!

I started the race out feeling good. My legs weren't sore at all and I passed the 2 mile mark at around 14:30. And then something happened. I still don't know what it was, but all of the sudden it felt like my legs were gone. I couldn't make it up any hills anymore and started the painful process of walking up every incline...and there were a lot. None of them major, but they just kept coming one after another...just as they should on a mountain bike course.

The continuous hills as captured by my Garmin.

Scores of people passed me. Young, old, skinny, not so skinny. There must have been about 100 of them. I never recovered. It took me over 40 minutes to cover the last 4.2 miles. Everything felt strange, sort of like I was running with somebody else's, much weaker, legs. It was hard to be frustrated, hard to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The only thing I am proud of is that I never felt sorry for myself (which was difficult). It was an off-day and I knew it. As a matter of fact, I had run the more challenging 11 miler the previous day at a faster overall pace than this race. Again, I still don't know what happened. My legs never fell sore, just weak. The 55:13 finish time was about 15+ mins off my normal 10k time.

Once I finished, I walked back to find my lady cheering on all the other runners passing me. They seemed to appreciate that. I guess, there isn't much crowd support during trail races.

I'm still trying to figure out what happened and a little worried about next week's Red Top Rumble.

My thanks go out to the race organizers and all the volunteers. The race was superbly organized. I have never seen trails so well marked and left the event very impressed! I would recommend to anyone to consider to run in any of the two upcoming xterra races.

These guys put on good races.

p.s. I forgot my camera. Maybe that resulted in some bad karma?


Addy said...

Dave, sorry that race wasn't your day!

of course, reading your 'painfully slow' 4.2 miles in 40 minutes, I had to smile just a bit, since I would be *thrilled* to be hitting that speed on a trail :D

in all seriousness, though, I know that we all have different paces and that that's a lot slower than you're used to. You still got two tough back to back runs though,and a snazzy t-shirt :)

Good job perservering and keeping positive!

Mike said...

So that's why my legs were so tired when I was out running this morning - you used em in Conyers yesterday!

We all have days that aren't ours. It'd be better if you knew why, but it's best not to dwell on it. You'll do great at Red Top Mtn.

My recommendation now would be to go to your nearest Fellini's, have a calzone and a couple of beers, and put yesterday behind ya.

Gotta Run said...

Yikes... I hate those days when there is just not enough gas in the legs. Back to back runs can do that. You arleady know this I am sure :)

Glad you were able to take part of the event. Many more will follow I am sure!!!

Sunshine Girl said...

Hi Dave,
Loved your "You Know You are a Trailrunner if..." silly and fun. I agree: flat = boring. I laughed at your perception of what is cold...mine is a little warped living where I do! Good for you for playing support crew/pacer for a complete stranger, I am always amazed when I meet Ultra runners who are so priorities at that age were more beer motivated! Remember them little short races are just training runs for the long ones to come...and we are all entitled to feel like crap some days!