..oh that's not a smart idea? Oh well! I had the season pass long before the long run was planned, and I felt funny skipping a race! My plan was to walk/run and not push it today, because I managed to run much faster than I'd meant to (it didn't feel that fast, but I was sore when I woke up today!).
Of course, I didn't count on how challenging the 'MERICA run would be. It was hard to tell from the pictures if it was going to be harder or easier than the Wholly Hell from last month.
The race started off pretty promptly at 10 with - instead of a horn - someone chugging a beer. Hey, it's MERICA! We were off with a start in the grass; this part should have been the easiest but in the first 1/2 mile I managed to step wrong and land a foot strike on the extreme edge of my foot. Ouch! It hurt for a few minutes and then faded, but it's been sore today. Blech!
Soon after the grass we ended up on some single-track trail in the forest; this part really got congested and made me wish I'd started further up in the pack. It would eventually thin out, but the first mile came in at 12:40 because we single filed it for a lot. The second mile involved some muddy single trail with verrrry slick mud (but I didn't fall!), a small creek crossing, and a large creek crossing that the first time through I managed to do without getting wet (don't worry - since it was an out and back, I was not so lucky the second time and ended up super muddy and wet!).
Slippery mud! Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.
It also involved single track edging over a river, with what seemed like a pretty sheer vertical slide into the river if you mis-stepped...and to this inexperienced cliff diver it looked like a good 10 foot drop. Kind of scary actually, especially since to get out once you'd gone along the edge you had to go up a pretty steep incline!
Shoe aftermath...they're normally bright black and bright purple..
The third mile was on some paved trail, which should be easy - and time wise I did it in about 9 1/2 minutes - but it was in the sun. Yuck! Put me back in the shady forest, please, even with the scary climb and slower pace with all the roots and climbing and slippery mud. But I did manage to pass a lot of people in this mile.
Miles 4 and 5 were just miles 1 and 2 on repeat, although this time I managed to dunk my feet in the creek mud for the bigger of the creek crossings. It made a heroic attempt to steal a shoe, too, although I did manage to retain my footwear.
Muddy creek crossing. Sheer banks! Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.
The scenery for the race was beautiful and I mostly stuck to my walk/run plan to give my legs a break. I finished in "official" time of 58:09, just 1 second shy of a PR, and if I have a bummer from this race, it's that the lovely time official told me I'd done it in under 58, which would have been a PR despite walk/running it to take it easy after my long run. To find out I'd come 2 seconds shy is just...ouch! Oh well! EDIT: I got a response from Muddy Monk that they actually hit enter late on my time and forgot to fix it at the moment. Official time - 57:58, 10 second PR!
PR excitement at the finish line! Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk FB.
Ah well. Next up in the series is the Nearly Sane Half, which is in my backyard. I'll be running it as part of a 17 miler so I figure I will warm up for 2 miles before the race and cool down for 2 after. Whoo! (I am scared guys.)
And then there were 7 holders of various liquids!