I arrived to my destinaton after a fifty mintues drive. The weather was cool and no sign of rain. I did a very easy and short warm up followed by some drills. At 8AM we took off. I did not know what to expect from this race. I have never ran this course before. But I knew one thing: it was hilly.
I was surprised by the rolling hills at the start. The first three miles were on the pavement. I was running right behind a group of eight runners. It did not take long for the group to be reduced to six runners. We passed the first aid station at the 2.6 miles mark in 15:36, a very conservative pace.
As we started to hit the trails, things started to change. The trails were very muddy and slippery. And there was no breaks with the hills. Up and down we go. I was lucky enough to have another runner to pace me. This college kid was doing the race, but not officially. It means he did no pay to get in. We ran together sharing the front, pushing each other. We hit the second aid station in 33:49. It was around mile five. There were only two runners at front of us. We dropped the other runners. This is the last time spit that I registered in my watch.
After five miles of rolling hills we hit the big one. This hill was the hardest one in the race. It is about 1.5 miles long and starts at 230ft and goes up to 800ft. I was lucky enough to have another runner to share the pace going up this hill. The muddy was sticking to our shoes making things a little more fun.
It was around thirty seven minutes into the race that my last race's ghosts decided to show up again. We increased the pace after we passed the long steep hill. Then all the sudden my cramps show up. I was able to hang with the other runner for a few more minutes before I told him to take off. At this time I brought with some thermotabs sodium pills. I took one before the race and when the cramps showed up I took another. It did not help much. I would keep biting my upper lip, breathing deep and punching my calves. It would go away but it would return after a few minutes. This would be the story to the end of the race.
I was unofficially in fourth place by the time the cramps started to bother me. I saw four runners going by. By the mile 11 I was able to get close to the last runner that passed me. But every time I would try to increase the pace going uphill, the cramps would come back. I took another thermotab sodium pill. But it was slow to show any benefits. The section where I should be running fast to make up time, I was being slowed down by the cramps.
I felt a little revival in my legs about two miles to the finish. But it was too late. I finished in 1hour 37 minutes and 27 seconds. Good for seven overall and second at my age group. I was happy with the results and after a really tough week dealing with so many aches and pains, I have not complains.