Tuesday, November 1, 2016

More Single Track Please

No! I meant No more single track please. This past Saturday was the 2016 Triple Lakes Trail Race, a full marathon (and a half marathon and 40 miler) in Greensboro, NC. I got up at 5:15 am, drove over from Raleigh, race started at 8, finished in 4:57 and drove home in time to take the kids to a Halloween party that night. The best part of the experience was taking a shit in a gas station about 5 minutes before getting to the park. This is a short race report.

That sounds harsh. It was a beautiful day to be running in the woods. The trail was absolutely gorgeous. The race was very well organized, plenty of parking, packet pickup was a breeze, the medal and shirt are incredibly cool, and the post race party was hopping.

Packet pickup, small crowd

Happy trail runner at the start
This is a small race, even by trail standards - only 60 finishers. It was advertised as mostly flat, wide trails, a boston qualifier course on trails. It was actually a series of trails connected by roads so you got some of both, but at least 18 miles of it was my dreaded single track. I didn't expect the trail sections to be so technical. Pretty much all of it was very rooty. I had to pay attention, and that means I didn't get very many pictures.

The half marathoners started first at 8:00, then we took off uphill on a road at 8:05. It was about 55* at the start, so I layered up. By mile 2 I was heating up and it was time to take off that long sleeve shirt. The day ended up getting up to about 81*, which is way to hot for marathoning. I was sweating so hard that by mile 8 the tank top hand turned into sandpaper and filed my nipples away. So I ended up running shirtless for the last 2/3 of the race even though I'm way too fat to get away with it and it's the end of October. smh.

Beautiful trail

half dead trail runner
I took those sometime in the second half of the race when I realized I hadn't taken any pictures on the trail at all.

The problem with heavy roots like that is that it alters my cadence. Well, there are lots of problems. It's easy to twist an ankle, trip and fall down, or tweak out a knee. I managed to avoid falling this time, but my knees don't exactly let me barrel down the steep hills like I could 5 years ago. I was not prepared for the trail to be this technical, and it really slowed me down.

I finished in 4:57:43, good enough for 34/60 overall and 5/9 in the men 40-49 age group. If they would have gone with a 5 year age group, I would have been 3/5 and snagged an award. Eventually if you make the field small enough it looks like I did well. It's also worth noting that the Garmin didn't maintain satellite reception the entire time, I think. When I saw the 24 mile sign the garmin said 23.4 miles. Then we rounded two more corners and saw the finish line so apparently the marathon was only about 24.25 miles long. Or 23.47 miles long, if you believe the Garmin. And that's really the best metaphor I can make about the entire day.

Glad to be done!

The medal has a sparkly pirate face
Overall I'm very glad I did this race, it's #2 in my 12 marathons in 8 months streak this season. My 23rd marathon is in the books. But I don't think I'll go back again. It's just too much single track for me.

Coolest part is that the race photos are all free for download, so I'll wrap up with some official photography from the start & finish.

Middle, yellow long sleeve shirt. I should not have started in the front row.

Did I mention an uphill start?

Out with the leaders
They did get one good shot on the trail - down to the tank top made from sandpaper
fat man finishes happy

Glad to be done

also me


Abby said...

Wow. I am crazy impressed that you managed to run a sub 5 on a route like that. Rooty/technical trails always slow me down 2/3 minutes a mile because I am such a klutzy runner and have had more ankle rolls/sprains than I care to mention. Fabulous job, but sorry it was not a wonderful race minus your epic pre-race dump.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Dang, that's a good time for a marathon on technical trails. I don't know how you can pitch that as a BQ qualifier on trails - sounds like a tough course w/ the technicality and all the single tracks. Way to go, dude!