Okay... before I get started... I must say this is NOT my distance race, but I absolutely LOVE this course and simply couldn't stay away! http://www.rockcreek.com/rivergorge/
Trey and I drove up the mountain that morning and it was just plain COLD outside. The thermometer on my car was reading 33 degrees. Really?! I thought it was officially spring?! This always makes wardrobe decisions for running tough too. You know that you will warm-up at some point, but how long will it take?.. and will you get cold again out there? This is why I opted for my Rock/Creek Race Team Patagonia shirt and some arm warmers along with my trusty running Capri's. Sure enough... this was the right choice.
The race starts on gravel forest service roads to give ample time for folks to settle into a pace and find their way in the group before being dumped onto the beautiful single track trail. Trey and I thought we had seeded ourselves nicely and we proceeded to run our pace. We really didn't pass but one or two folks before the Indian Rock House and held our pace the same until Snooper's Rock. Just before Snooper's Rock... I was passed by fellow teammate Natalie Sims. She effortlessly passed and was running smooth. GO NATALIE! After this we may have slowed a bit, but still running along nicely. Moments later we were surprisingly joined by a good friend and client Dan Martin. Wow... had I really trained him well enough to run this fast?! What a nice surprise! : ) He held onto to us the rest of the way!
Once we hit the rock garden I knew I'd have to dance across those stupid rocks to keep up with Trey (that's his strong point). I had paced us to here, but knew he'd serve us better to get in front on these drenched things! It was work to stay up with him, but I did... and Dan was trailing closely. When we hit the top of the climb I knew we were close and kept telling myself to maintain the same speed. Trey was able to surpass that speed and finished up a minute ahead. I came across the finish line with a 3 minute improvement over last year and not far behind me was Dan! What a great day! I felt victorious for two reasons right then and there.
After the race I learned that another good friend and client Nik Meeks had also beaten his time on the course by 14 minutes! WOW! That made me feel great to know that all we have been doing during training sessions is paying off! Congrats to Nik and Dan!
The race field was stacked this year.. not only were there more people, but there were some REALLY good folks racing too. My finish time a few years ago would have put me on the podium... not the case now.... it ranked me as the 10th overall female. Still... a fun race that pushed me to run hard!