The party got started Friday night. Packet pickup was uneventful, there was a Moe's nearby and I've had good luck with their rice bowls before the last few big races. Tofu and veg in there gives me lots of healthy protein and carbs. Afterwards I came home and got my race outfit together, and of course Evil Genius had to do the same.
|Ready for her own race|
|Snapped a quick shot before heading to the start|
Once I got parked and made my way to the Camp Lapihio headquarters, first stop was the port-a-let. After lightening myself a bit I got checked in and found a nice spot in front of the fireplace to thaw out a bit. See, it only got up to about 34* that day. A cold day to run in the woods that could have been rainy, they were even calling for snow at one point.
I found my old friend Tammy hanging out! She came down from DC, and the last time I saw her was pacing her for 2 laps of the Umstead 100 a couple of years ago. We got to talking with some others as well. The people you meet at trail races are a completely different kind of nice than you can find anywhere else.
I had to pee one more time before the start, and by that time there was quite a line already formed. I got out of there with about 4 minutes to spare before the race start, so we just hung out around the starting line ready to rock and roll.
At about 9:01 they said go so we took off. About a mile and half in I finally got the feeling back in my fingers. They got all swollen and discolored from the cold. The first mile was uneventful, and by the second mile we were onto the single track. Most of the first 8 miles were single track, actually. Really it was the coolest part of the course.
While on the single track I started talking to a guy named Chris, and we hung out until about mile 19. He was from Boston, ran the Boston Marathon last year, and did not finish before the bombings. To keep awareness of this, he ran a marathon every month until this years Boston where he will finally get his finish line. It was very cool getting to run with this guy. This was his 42nd marathon, plenty of them finished around 3 hours. He hosts the RunRunLive podcast, give it a listen.
Mile 20 was mostly downhill, we came back around to the lake at Reedy Creek trail, which is why that mile was faster than the rest of the second half miles. The rest of it was straight uphill to the finish. In fact, there was a sign that said "Enjoy Cemetary Hill" right at the end of mile 24.
You don't have to be a Rhodes scholar or know exactly what Cemetery Hill is to get my drift here. What kind of sadist puts the Mile 25 sign marker at the top of something called Cemetery Hill? Actually to the right of the top of the hill there is a really old cemetery, that's what it's named after. But by the time you get there, you're ready to be buried. This is the last of 3 giant hills that they put in the last 3 miles. My mile 24 was 14:22, whereas in Myrtle Beach mile 24 was only 9 minutes.
If you survived that, it was an easy death crawl to the finish line. I was incredibly grateful to see that finish line. They give out pint glasses instead of medals, so after sitting and getting a few pints of water in me, Chris finished. We talked some more, then went inside the HQ where they were serving giant burritos and chips. Ah, salty goodness. That may have been the best burrito I've ever scarfed down.
After we warmed up by the fire some I made it back to the car and snapped an "after" shot on my way home.
|gross, I know.|
So I'm glad to have this one in the books. It was a great race, and very well organized. But I don't know that I will be doing this one again. I run in Umstead a lot and love to take the kids hiking there. but about 15 or 20 miles is really the most I'm good for out there. That last 10k switched it from "fun" to "don't die" mentally. If you're looking for a real challenge and a very interesting race, come on down. I might just volunteer next year.