Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rough going at RUTS 2013

  One of my favorite races of the year- Run Under the Stars (RUTS).  I don't know if it is because it is the only race that Pat makes sure is on his calendar or all of the extended family I get to see throughout the weekend.  Whatever the reason, I love this race!
OHC reunion!
  Pat and I made the drive down, picked up our packet, set up our tent, went to eat at O Chuck's, and then to the hotel to rest before the start of the race.  I never really have a goal at this race other than try to beat my previous year's total mileage.  Pat was hoping for 26 miles this year.  As he gets more miles, the harder it is for me to maintain or better my miles.  This is Pat's race and I want for him to enjoy it.  So we run/walk together until he has had enough, then I try to pile on some extra miles.
  We got back to the track and met up with Tim and Kathey and prepared to start.  Steve, the RD, gave pre race instructions and then we were off.  Pat, Kathey, and I started around the track.  As we got back around close to the starting line, we heard phrases of re start.  We came up to the starting line and sure enough, they had to do a restart since the timing equipment did not work.  It didn't take long before they had us off again.  We headed around again, chatting happily, the three of us.  We had three laps in when the timing equipment malfunctioned again.  (poor Steve- after RDing races this past year, I felt really bad for him and his crew)  They told us that we would start again at 9.  So we headed back over to our cars to wait for the appointed time.  It looked like it would be a 9 hour run, instead of 10 hours.
  At 9, we headed back to the starting line for our third start.  Three times is a charm, right?  And it more timing snafus the rest of the evening.  Kudos to Steve and John for getting the problem resolved and ensuring that everyone still had a great time/run!
  Pat has been having some issues with his knee recently and his new carpet business wasn't helping.  We'd been doing some hill training and wearing a brace had helped, but I wasn't sure how he felt.  I knew he was excited about having Hokas this year (anniversary gift in September) but I didn't try to push him to run.  I figured he was fine.  Finally though, he looked at me and asked to run.  Said the walking was beating his feet up pretty good and he needed to change up his pace.  So we did, but it was a little too late.  His feet were already beat up.  Five hours into it and 14.5 miles (16.5 with restarts) he was done.  I felt so bad for him because I knew he was looking forward to beating his goal, but I also knew he was trying to be smart and stay healthy for his two jobs.
  I was a little bummed to look into my bag to see I had brought my ipod but no earbuds.  Bummer....  No zoning with music for me.  I started jogging around the track but not really pushing too hard.  I knew I had a race coming up next weekend and I didn't want to beat myself up too bad.  If I saw Stu or laz, then I would stop and chat with them.  Of course, I couldn't keep up with Stu's long legs, so it was always just a brief chat with him.  I do remember coming through the starting line with Stu and I told him I was going to see which lap I was on and he told me I was on lap 36 and he was on 42.  I checked the monitor and he was spot on!  He knew his laps and mine!  Amazing! 
  Laz was pretty fun to stop and chat with because of his adventures just to make it to the race were  astounding (dental surgery, wrecks, flat tires).  
  I would say my only real beef the whole night was as the evening wore on and more people began walking, they would hug the corners.  Now when I was walking earlier in the evening with Pat, we stayed on the outer edges and made sure to leave plenty of room for the runners.  So we were actually covering more distance, but it was the right thing to do.  Now that I was trying to run, people were walking , hugging the corners, and not leaving a running lane open.  It was pretty freaking frustrating to be courteous early on for others and not have the same respect given to you.  It was also disheartening to see people cutting the corners.  Just because they felt that the grass may have been softer on their feet, that was not a reason to cut the course.  And no running lane and walking 3 and 4 deep caused me to cut the course a couple of times or run way out around them.  I told laz I was gonna start throwing some elbows, but I just mumbled under my breath instead.  
As time wound down, I really tried to catch Stu.  He was 6 laps ahead of me and I dwindled it down to 1 lap before time ran out.  31.5 miles (33.5 unofficial miles)  Not my best, but certainly not my worst.  The best thing is I felt fine.  No blisters, legs felt fine, and no breathing issues.  We collected our medals, said bye, and headed to the hotel for a shower and nap before heading home.  Another great family reunion in Paducah!

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