Monday, March 16, 2009

New Running Acronym?

(Picture at left courtesy of Louie & his Blackberry phone.) I've had a few disappointing runs lately and have accumulated several running acronyms I didn't particularly want (DFL, DNF, DNS). After the Land Between the Lakes run I have a new one...DD ("Drop Down"). I was registered for the 60K trail run, but ended up "dropping down" to the trail marathon. Steve Durbin, the race director, makes it way too easy to drop from the longer distances to the shorter versions: 50 miler to the 60K, 60K to the marathon, and marathon to the 23K. Even driving down the day before, I was pretty sure I was going to do the marathon instead of the 60K. My heart wasn't into anything longer and my training had been lackluster. When it started to rain on Friday night before the race (and race morning) the deal was done and I was dropping down to a shorter race distance.

I ran the whole way with a fellow buffalo (thanks Wes!). It made the day go quicker and we got caught up on all sorts of life, running, family, politics, etc. Wes set a nice pace for the whole 26+ miles. Even when he fell in the mud, he would pop right back up and keep going. We finished hand-in-hand (OK, side-by-side) in a time of 5:34:01. We anticipated a 5:30 or so finish...not a bad guess considering the muddy conditions. After a nice post-race meal (including veggie lasagna and veggie soup), we showered and had a tasty, well-deserved, beer while we waited for fellow buffalo to finish. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and there were no injuries in our group (except some blisters from the slipping and sliding). I'll be back next year. I'll register for the marathon. Wonder if the RD let's you "Move Up" to a longer race? No need for that--if I feel good I'll just run a fast trail marathon.

A big thank you to Steve and his race crew. They did a marvelous job of getting the course ready for us runners. A massive ice storm devastated the area in February. Trees were down everywhere. Even those that remained upright had ice damage. (Photo from fellow buffalo Rob and his blog). Fortunately, the local runners, bikers, and hikers teamed up and cleared the trails. It was sad seeing all the cut trees and debris in the forest (and along all the roads too), but the actual course was in fine shape for us...except for the water and mud! Race directors can't control the weather. It got sloppier as we ran. This is a big race (almost 400 runners) and each 11-mile loop got plenty of foot traffic (there was even a guy hiking the course in reverse with walking sticks and a couple mountain bikers too). The town of Grand Rivers is a nice venue for a race. It welcomes the tourist business and has just the right amount of lodging, community centers/public spaces, and restaurants. I wish Clinton Lake had more buildings and shelters. Heck, even running water would be nice. Oh well, you play the hand you are dealt. Being in the middle of nowhere has it's advantages too. I'm not quite sure what those advantages are, but I'm sure they are there.


Ragfield said...

Great job finishing the marathon, Chris! It may not have been your original goal, but it's still an impressive feat.

Chris Ⓥ said...

Thanks Rob. It felt great running easy with Wes. No pressure, no injuries, and a quick recovery. Plus, it was nice "catching up" with a fellow buffalo. I need a few more marathons to even up my marathon/ultra ratio (currently 14/43).

Good job on your race. That was a fast time for the conditions!