This morning I ran the Run at the Rock 14 miler in Burlington, NC. Before I get into details – it was AWESOME. I decided to run this race pretty last minute (last weekend at dinner at Nana Taco in Durham, NC…after watching the UNC/DOOK football game). I had never heard of it before, but had some friends & co-workers who were going to run the 7 mile. I decided to run the 14, that was the ideal distance for my long run this weekend, and running an organized, supported 14 mile on soft trails sounded soooooo much better than waking up early and running 14 miles around Raleigh on concrete, alone, in the cold.
I upped my mileage this week to 44mi and definitely did not sleep as well as I should have. The result is that I was so sleepy when I woke up at 6am that the sound of the rain was enough to make me consider just staying in bed. But, I did not. I brought along my favorite race crew member, my mom, and headed to Burlington! 🙂 Before the race, I ate a Picky Bar (All-In Almond), 1/2 a nanner, and about 12oz coffee. That is not what I typically eat before goal races (think GF Waffles, almond butter & honey)…but I LOVE picky bars and eat at least 4 a week pre or post workout. When I do a race “just for fun” I typically try out new nutrition combos to see what works/what doesn’t. I was feeling pretty good, but just planned to run it at long run pace (moderate) and not push too hard. It was chilly at the start, about 42, but the 40s (in my opinion) are the perfect race temp. The race started at 9am, so there was lots of time for porter potties and chatting before the start.
The course was a 7 mile loop that we did 2 times. It was, in my opinion, pretty tame single track. There were no ridiculous hills or crazy obstacles. The challenge on this day was the mud…it was rough! People were slipping and sliding all over. See the picture below of my shoes/legs. I do not do much single track trail running so in the past it has been a huge challenge for me to navigate and I can’t ever pick up speed. But, I have been doing a lot more cross training than I have in past seasons and I could really tell the difference when I was bracing myself to avoid busting my ass in the mud. After our first 7 miles, we ran through the finish (that was hard) and did it AGAIN! It ended up being very pleasant, because the second lap we were not as congested and I knew what to expect. The race was awesome. I ran great…and the kicker, I wasn’t trying to race AND….I DID NOT EVEN BRING MY GARMIN…OR WEAR ANY WATCH. It was crazy. Even more crazy…I ran the second 7 mile loop about a minute faster than the first. I NEVER run negative splits (something I need to work on). I was thrilled to find out if I take off my Garmin (I rarely do), I actually run a better, more consistent pace than if I have it on. It’s so funny how the races you run with no expectations and no time goals end up being some of your most successful runs. Note to self: run more, with less. It was reassuring to know that I can hold a consistent pace when I am not even trying to.
Your race times:
2:10:29 – Your overall finish time.
1:05:38 – lap 1 Time
1:04:51 – lap 2 Time
1 – Age Group Finish Place (F 20-29)
10 – Gender Finish Place
And I got this SUPER sweet large mug that I will most definitely be drinking my coffee out of in the AM, and eating chili out of tomorrow for dinner. PUMPED. Anyways, I will definitely be on the lookout for more races in the Cedar Rock park, it was really well supported, and well organized, the results were posted in a timely fashion and they had hot chocolate and cool mugs as awards. I am a huge fan.
Oh! And the back of the race shirts said “Road Running is for Wimps.” Whoever came up with that has never run Grandfather Mountain Marathon, or tried to run ALL of their weekly miles on the road.