With my first 100K looming in a week, I was only slightly excited about the GUTS Red Top Rumble 11.5 mile trail race on Saturday. My mind is focusing on a LOT of time on my feet next week and I hadn't been able to get jazzed about a trail race like I might normally.
Dave and I met up of Barrett Parkway to make the last bit of the drive up together. It was a cold morning so a coffee was in order. A cup of joe and interesting conversation with the mini-mart employee around 7 am livened up the day. We got there a good hour early after a bit of a slide on some black ice headed into the park. Was hoping the trails weren't as icy as the road!
As usual, the GUTS folks had everything well organized at the start. Dave and I got numbers and then headed back to the car to stay warm and have some in-depth discussions about what clothing to wear. He convinced me that a single thin shirt would be fine and that he was wearing the same.....more on that later.
Managed to pry myself out of the car around quarter till and socialized a bit. The GUTS group was well represented with lots of members running and helping with the race. With little fanfare, Dave and I lined up as instructions were given. Start was right in the parking area which was good since there were 350 people that would need to get sorted out a bit before we hit the trails. About this time I'm freezing and happen to notice Dave with a jacket one. Traitor! :)
.....and we are off. I'd decided to wear trail shoes but after the first three miles I was wondering if it was a smart choice. The first stretch was fairly flat, wide, and smooth trails and I was ticking off well under 7 minute miles.......and then the fun started. I saw a course arrow point left and look over and thought "where is the trail?". We turned onto what appeared to be a small stream! It was tight, wet, and hilly for a bit before we popped out on a fire road of sorts. A quick stretch on this and then a HUGE step up a bank back on to a nice single-track trail. The first hill had me a bit worried, as I got to the top and my legs felt like lead. Lots of miles the last month and I could feel every one of them. From this point it forward it was 8+ miles of up and down. Go up a bit, drop back down by the lake, repeat. The hills weren't too steep or too long, but they kept coming. I'd drop down by the lake and knew I'd be headed back up real soon. I got in to a groove and stayed fairly consistent with low 7 miles. I was 5-7th for the entire stretch..couple people passed me, I passed a couple people. But mostly I was alone and that is how I like it when I'm racing.
Plenty of aid on the course.....must have been 4 opportunities to get water/sports drinks/food but it was too cold to stop and I pressed on passed each on. Finished up strong and placed 5th OA in 1:18:19 for the 11.5 miles.
Can't say enough about the volunteers before, during, and after the race. First rate! Post race, Jaydene the RD pulled out all the stops with the food and giveaways! Tons of items raffled off. Barbecue, sides, bars, COOKIES, and a bunch of hot water and hot chocolate/coffee/soup mixes served up by cheerful volunteers. I mean......for a race of 350 it was out of this world!
Can't say enough good about the course.....absolutely beautiful trails. So many great views of the lake. All in all an excellent way to start the day.
Garmin Connect Profile: Watch showed 11 miles even but it tends to miss a bit on the twisty trails.