It's a trail run. That in and of itself adds a level of difficulty. I was warned the first 5 miles or so were a significant climb and then the fact that we were on the artillery range, I was also admonished to not pick up anything shiny. HAH! Sounds fun right?!
Totes excited about this race!! The fact that it's just the street meant that I could sleep to a decent hour. 4:45am is decent for a race day. Yes, it is. I got ready, quietly left the house and after a quick stop at the sev for my monster and donut, headed south to the gate entrance to Camp Williams.
I met up with my WRC girls and after a potty stop, some warm up and a little chitchat, it was time. They fired the cannon and away we went!
Millie, me and Gibby
Wouldn't you know it that within the first tenth of a mile, my right shoelace came untied. DRAT! I pull off to the side and tie it. Pick up again, and try to get back in the crowd where I was before. Just as I do that, I feel my left shoe lace slapping at my ankle and realize it also came untied. Double drat! I pull off again, to tie that one and think to myself "how does this happen? I tie shoelaces all freakin day long?"
I was able to pick back up in the crowd and hit a comfortable stride. Yes, we were climbing but it wasn't too steep and I really thought maybe I had overestimated how steep I was told it was going to be. I even got cocky.
Then. We turned a corner and it was now light enough for me to see ahead. Holy HANNAH!! Are you freaking kidding me? The steepness of the hill cannot be adequately described. I told myself I would run it. If nothing else, I would at least run it, no matter how slow.
Yeah. Like THAT could happen. It was literally so steep that NO ONE was running it. It was more of a steep hike. The kind where you lean forward and press on your quads for strength. The kind where if you stand upright, you could likely tip backwards.
We climbed and climbed and then appeared to have hit the summit. Whew. Only to look ahead and see that while we crept down a bit, we then turned and climbed AGAIN. Just as steep if not steeper. At this point, all I could do was laugh. It was unreal. I could hear some guys talking behind me so I listened to their convo for a little while discovering that it was the one kids first trail run ever. SNORT! This is a beast of a one to start out on. I didn't dare turn around to look at them or talk because I would have fallen down. Instead, it was eyes down, lean forward and climb. At one point I snuck a look at my garmin and noted that I was on a 20 minute mile pace. GAH!
Finally at about the 5 mile mark, I reached the last and final summit. Had to stop and look backwards to see what I had accomplished and to check out the sunrise.
seriously, how beautiful is this?
As I turned to move forward and continue on I noticed the sun hitting the mountains on the west and had to snap another picture.
looking to the west and the morning light hits the mountains
I started fueling, and drinking water and began the descend. How wonderful it was to go downhill. Of course it was steep (not as steep as the climb up) but it was enough that I could pick up some speed. I leap frogged with another guy for a mile or so and through the aid station, but for the rest of the race, I was pretty much solo. Not until the final mile did I start to catch some other runners that had gassed right out.
For me though, it was like I was just getting started. I felt strong, I felt fast, and I felt like I could keep going. My ankles were sore from the shifting ground and my shins were beginning to ache, but overall, I felt fantastic! The trail was beautiful, the sun shining and the perfect summer morning!
I made my way back and under the bridge back on base. I passed two National Guard soldiers who cheered me on as I turned the final corner and headed towards the finish. Just seeing the cannons and sign got me fired up and I found a little more in me to sprint.
As I crossed there were my WRC girls cheering me on, and as I hit my garmin to record my time, I was certainly pleased. Yes, I had hoped for 2 hours or less, but after surviving such a brutal first half, and having the energy that I did the last half, I was certainly more than a little happy.
Another post race picture, some stretching, chatting with customers from the store, an ice run, and watching some of the 30k runners come in and then it was time to go home.
Congrats Millie!! Second woman overall!
What a stellar race! So well organized, fun and absolutely beautiful. Who knew that Camp Williams could be pretty? Once we got on the back trails, it was gorgeous. Nothing like enjoying a run, on a summer morning, with the sunrise and some trail.
The finisher medals and shirts are pretty cool too.
Why these loaded sideways, I have no idea....
Definitely this is going on to my "must do again next year list". Maybe I'll even get braver and do the 30k. For now, this year was perfect. Loved it. Happy with my results and 3rd in my age group is not too shabby. I'll take it!
Thanks D, his wife, and all the others who made the race possible - it's a new mCat favorite!!