Monday, May 28, 2012

Bobcat trail Marathon - 2011

Bobcat trail Marathon – Burr Oaks State Park - Nov 6, 2011

We left home around 1 pm on Saturday for Athens, Ohio, where our son is in his 2nd year at Ohio University. We had a nice visit with him, and went out for Chinese (his choice, not ours :)).

We then drove about half hour north to the BurrOaks State Park and Lodge, the race HQ, where we had a room reserved.

Before going to bed I set my cell-phone alarm for 6:00 am. The race was starting at 7:00 from outside the Lodge, so one hour was enough to get ready. I knew that there was a change in time but the cell phone adjusts automatically. Well, my silly phone rang at 5:00 am! So I was up an hour early. I took my time showering, getting dressed and eating (1 boiled egg, almond butter, nuts, cheese - low-carb breakfast I had brought with me).

Here are a picture of the runners at the Lodge lobby and getting outside, ready to race:

Race director Vince Rucci, gives the last instructions:

The race started promptly at 7:00 am. The temperature in the morning was 31F, but it was sunny, and by the afternoon it was up to 62F. They told us that because of the heavy rains, parts of the course were under water just a week ago. But after a few days of sun, the course was rather dry, minus some very wet spots. It was bad, but nothing like the mud of the last marathon (“Run With Scissors”).

The first mile was up the road and down again, I guess to round the distance to 26 miles. Well, those crazy carbo-loaded runners were running up and down the road like it was a 5K! I like to start slow. So when I entered the trail, I counted about 40-50 runners ahead. WHAT A MISTAKE! For the first 3 miles I was stuck behind a long line (like a train) of slow-moving runners. I wanted to pass but it was nearly impossible so I was stuck running slow and walking where I should not be walking.

Now, someone might say, "good, you started slow, preserved your energy, and you will be strong later". No, that's not how it works. I wasted a lot of energy trying to pass runners from the side (dangerous because everything was covered with leaves and stepping out of the trail is not a good idea). By the time I was done passing all the runners, there was a huge gap ahead and I started running faster, to recover my lost time, thus wasting more energy.

I managed to catch and pass runner after runner. By about the mid-point, a volunteer was counting every runner and told me I was 10th overall. That was good news. A guy was right behind me so I felt the pressure to run faster to "get rid of him", which I did. I also caught and passed another runner ahead. Miles and miles followed of running alone.

Finally, I reached the last aid station, 5 miles from the finish. I was told that I was 9th overall. There was no one behind me that I could see. In these last 5 miles at first I was going slow. I was feeling a bit tired, cursing myself for running two trail marathons in two weeks. What was I thinking??? But, gradually, I felt better. I saw a runner ahead of me and passed him. Then, with 1 mile left, I passed another runner. And with ½ mile left I passed another one. I was amazed that I was able to run the uphills, steep hills that I would have walked earlier. That's how I passed these runners.

I cruised to the finish. I asked for my placement and was told that I was 10th overall, and first over 50, so I got the Grandmasters award (good hand-held water bottle). I can not understand how I was 10th, when I was told I was 9th at the last aid station and then passed 3 runners?  Something must have been wrong in the counting.

Here is a picture of me (taken by Liz) as I am about to exit the trails and to straight to the finish:

The beautiful lake that we circled:

And a picture of me with my award on hand, and the sign of victory :)  See the sign "Bobcat Trail Marathon".  The race course is permanently marked.

Closing Thoughts:  After the forced slow start, in this race I did my best. I worked much harder than the previous race. The fact that I finished 13 minutes slower (4:20 vs. 4:07 last week) tells me that this course was much harder. When I finished, all the agony and suffering was instantly forgotten. The only reason I remember that I struggled is because I remember thinking that running 2 marathons in two weeks is crazy and I should not do it again!  Well guess what?  I think I will do it again next year!

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