I headed down to
for the third consecutive year to act as the USATF liaison for the 10km trail championships. This would be the second year that I’d also be competing over the very tough up/down course in North Carolina straddling the Eastern Continental Divide. Laurel Springs
I flew down very early on Friday and meandered around the
North West part of NC bagging five points. I arrived at the race site in the afternoon and had a big spaghetti dinner before settling in for a (rough) sleep. I was up at 5:30 seeking out coffee and once I found some race day prep began. County High
I found the flattest loop I could and did 5 loops to get 3 miles warm-up, then changed into my race flats and did another mile with some strides. I felt pretty lousy and very nervous, both are good signs. My hope was to run at least a minute faster than last year with a stretch goal of 1:30 faster than my 48:58 in 2011. TiVo and I jogged around a bit waiting for the start and listened to the introductions of the big guns who were running. There were a couple of sub-14 5k guys and I heard a 28 minute 10k runner and a sub-4 miler. The field sounded like it was pretty deep.
It seemed like all 150 guys sprinted off the line for the first ½ mile of downhill. I just wanted to stay on my feet and keep race director Jason Bryant in sight. I was around 30th place at the end of the first downhill (300’ in ½ mile) and started to move up during the next ½ mile climb back up to the start area. I’m not very good at descending but I held my position as we dropped another 300’. I worked hard on the next climb (the longest in the race and during the nearly 400’ of uphill I moved up into the top 20. I checked my watch as we passed the start/finish, knowing we were approximately halfway through. I had run low 24 through this point last year and was happy to be running just over 23 minutes this year. I was recovering on the descents because I just couldn’t run hard enough without running right off the narrow trail. I looked ahead and could see 4 or 5 guys I thought would be catch-able with two climbs left. It was surprising to see TiVo was one of those guys. He was having a rough day.
The 200’ climb from 4 miles to 4.5 took a lot of concentration. I was trying to run as hard as possible but also trying to save something in the tank for the final climb. I passed Tim on this climb and closed on a couple of other guys. The switchbacks on the next drop really slowed me down but I kept the four guys in front of me in sight. I was really looking forward to the final climb! I don’t think I climbed all that fast but I was consistent and the guys slowly came back. It wasn’t easy getting around them on the narrow trail but a few calls of “on your right” and a couple of well placed elbows got me by. Knowing the course and being able to pay out the effort evenly was definitely helpful. I rolled into the finish line in 14th place running 2:15 faster than last year (but getting the same place). The big surprise was taking first in the 45-49 getting a gold medal for my efforts and also taking second place in the master’s category (40-49) to earn $200.
I’m finally starting to feel like I’m fully recovered from the calf injury and rounding into shape. I’ll be aiming for a master’s personal best for 10 Km next month, just need to stay healthy.
1 Joe Moore 27 0:41:37
2 Ryan Woods 32 Appalachian Mtn Goat 0:41:46
3 Bobby Mack 26 0:42:05
4 Jared Scott 28 0:42:36
5 Alex Varner 26 Bull City TC 0:42:58
6 David Roche 23 0:43:40
25 0:43:54 Mendoza
8 Matthew Grey 23 Rosemont RC 0:44:05
9 Chris Wiley 42
TC 0:44:33 Atlanta
10 Tim Sykes 30 0:45:12
11 David Bell 27 0:45:32
12 Justin TeBockhorst 26 0:45:48
13 John Kenworthy 23 0:45:53
14 Dave Dunham 47
Central MA Striders 0:46:44
Mader 27 0:46:49 Brandon
16 Andy Highlander 24
TC 0:47:18 Chattanooga
17 Duncan Hoge 23 Bull City TC 0:47:24
18 Brian Lang 25 Rosemont RC 0:47:28
|about 3.5 miles in...photo by Tad Davis|