Anyway... since I started running... I've managed to only participate in one of these races per season. In the 06-07 season I ran their Frostbite Half Marathon and in the 07-08 season, I ran the Hill and Dale 8-miler. (April also ran both of these races, as well). It's important to know the backstory, before I get into this race report... so... to briefly fill you in...
Frostbite Half Marathon: First off... important to note that I got lost on the way to the park and had to turn around twice before I found the entrance. Also... it snowed during this race.
Hill and Dale 8-miler: On the way to the race... we mistakenly follow Garmin instead of April's intuition and end up having to turn around a couple of times before we were in the right direction. And... it rained before this race and continued for the first mile or so.
So, I shouldn't be surprised that Vandy Montana and I missed the exit for the race (which, I would like to point out, wasn't my fault, because I wasn't driving and was not in charge of navigating).
But, we got there with plenty of time and I spent about 15 minutes debating on whether or not to wear headphones for the race. When, what I should have been debating on... was whether or not to wear the baseball cap and leggings that I brought. In the end... my bare head and legs and I opt for the headphones.
As we stood around waiting for the dude to say... "Go!" (Seriously, that's how these low tech races start. It's awesome), I distinctly remember discussing with Vandy Montana how the phrase... "the parks 3rd hardest course" on the course description was probably just an overstatement. And in better ironic foreshadowing than Shakespeare... the Race Director first says... "Well, at least we've got great running weather." (It was overcast and cool mid-40s) and then he follows it up with a... "And this course is a little hilly... miles 2 and 4, particularly" and then we're off.
Almost immediately... we head up a hill and in my head I'm thinking... Crap. This is going to totally suck balls. And by the time I get to about the half mile point... the sky opens up and it starts to pour rain. And at this point, I'm thinking... Holy crap. I have to run 6.3 more miles in a freaking monsoon.
Hilly and wet are the two words that I would use to describe this race. Like seriously... it rained hard. And it was just hill after hill after hill. I mean, I couldn't differentiate between the hills at miles 2 and 4 that the race director was talking about from the 100 other hills that we were constantly climbing. By about mile 3, I just decided to just enjoy the race. These park races are small and intimate and the surroundings are beautiful. These are the races that make you feel like a runner. Maybe even more so than a marathon (debatable).They even had a freaking photographer standing at the finish line in the rain to take pics! (And yes, they had mile markers at every mile)...
Here I am sludging my way to the finish line. I think my official finish time was like 1:05:40 or something.
In the end... It was a fun race. Sure it was challenging and the weather didn't help, but honestly.. I was so concerned about the rain, that I probably noticed the hills less than I normally would! From now on, I'm going to expect two things from parks races: 1. To get lost/miss an exit/have to turn around to get there and 2. That it's going to precipitate during the race.
And even though the weather gods weren't smiling on me... the running gods were... Check out what I came home with:
If you live in TN, you should check these races out. They are awesome... (unless you're a female in the 25-29 age range and run faster than 9:30ish minute miles... then stay away, they suck).