Saturday, June 22, 2013

Doubling Down (again for 2013)

 I had ran the Backside Trail Marathon last year and enjoyed it.  So I signed up again this year.  There was a new race director (Troy Shellhammer) and the course would be run backwards (Seneca then Cherokee Park).  After setting my PR at the Derby the day before, I was unsure of how well I would be able to do.  My only goal was to try to beat my time from last year's race (and my secret goal of breaking 6 hours).  I arrived at the start to cloudy skies and picked my packet up.  I had arrived about an hour early because I am not familiar with the park and wanted to make sure I got to park close to the start and would not have to drive around looking for a parking spot.  After getting my packet, I headed back to the bus as the first rain drops began to fall.  I made it inside before the deluge came.  I sat back in the bus and rested my eyes as the rain fell.
  The rain passed as the start time neared and I got my bib and everything else ready as I headed to the starting line.  Troy gave some instructions and we were off.  I settled in fairly close to the back as we circled around the ball field to thin the herd.  We headed down the road to the loop in Seneca and turned onto it.  It was pretty  muddy and on the first hill, I tried to pass a few slower runners but my feet just kept sliding.  I tried to control them but it was hopeless, down I went.  I caught myself before I did a full on face plant but my hands were covered in mud.  I laughed as I used a tree to scrape most of the mud off of my hands.  At least the first fall is out of the way.  Thankfully I wouldn't fall anymore during the race, just some sliding out of control at times.  Felt a little like ice skating at times.  The first loop was a little tough as everyone tried to find their own pace but was shut down due to a slower runner in front of them.  I hate to say it, but a lot of times it was a girl being careful in the mud.
  I came to the first aid station and saw a fellow runner, Heath, helping out.  I grabbed a drink and then headed on out.  I ran for a little while with a group of 3 or 4, listening to them as we ran/slipped along.  I chatted with another guy about my trail shoes (Montrail Masochists).  He loves them except in mud where they seem to collect a lot of mud.  I had to agree with him.
  Somewhere along the loop I came upon Molly and we chatted and ran the rest of the loop together coming in under 3 hours.  I was hopeful for under 6, but as we headed back out, I had to stop at the port o pot.  I re lubed and pottied, then headed back out.  Molly was way on ahead by now.  As I finished the Seneca loop and started to head to the Cherokee loop, the rain came back with a vengeance.  The trail turned to a creek in some spots.  I was running by myself and slowing down but still enjoying myself.  I decided I was happy that the trail forced me to be slow and careful- I didn't want to get hurt before next weekend's race.  I made the loop around and finished in 6:35:56.  Not great but still bested my time from the previous year.  I grabbed an ice cold yoo hoo out of my cooler and headed home.
  Troy and his volunteers were outstanding and I did not have any problems finding the trail (although I had heard others missed a turn when a flag had blown away).  I thought the course was well marked and a great event and I will probably do it again next year.

pic by Josh Couture


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