Sunday was my last official race of the season and I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Beautiful, crisp, fall weather greeted us at Seventh Mountain Resort – the location of the start and finish of the race. Besides the half, there was also a 10K which a few friends showed up for as well. Cory and I tried our best to stay warm prior to the race – temperatures dipped into the 30’s and the sun just wasn’t rising fast enough.
Finally, with 10 minutes to go, we hopped out of the comfort of the warm car and made our way to the start. Being a local trail race, we ran into quite a few friends and fellow running buddies which made for a great pre-race vibe. After few quick announcements from Super Dave, including the fact that the mile markers were not quite accurate, we were off. A quick route around the resort and we headed out onto the trails. The first few miles included wide trails and dirt roads – enough to handle both the half marathoners and 10Kers, who quickly turned back after three miles. Half marathoners continued on and up. After about two more miles, I was still feeling great – no problems with breathing or keeping pace. Only then did we hit a long gradual hill that kept climbing for a good two and half miles. There was a runner far ahead of me – and every time he hit a hill, he would put both arms up, elbows sticking straight out with his hands on his head. That’s how I knew there was another hill awaiting me. This seemed to continue until we finally hit a spot in the trees where I could finally see we were reaching the very top. Once we arrived, we found aide station #2, and our friend Glenn cheering us on.
Closed eyes, but happy to be on top of that hill.
This is Cory’s happy face at the top of a hill.
And then it was down, down, down. Windy, rocky single track awaited our descent, and we all flew. It felt good to pick up speed. Winding around and down, we made our way back to the resort in negative splits (I didn’t time myself, but I am absolutely positive of this fact).
One steep crapper of a hill awaited us at the very end and I just didn’t have it in me to charge it. But I think a lot of people lost their motivation, as well. Luckily, the finish was near and a little weave through the resort popped us onto the grassy lawn down to the finish line. My time was 1:57, which isn’t a PR for me, but I was happy with it. Being that this was my first Down & Dirty, I have nothing to compare it too. Got a mug as a finisher’s prize (my favorite), and an awesome burrito buffet. A warm sun greeted us on the lawn as Cory, Lisa, Glenn and I recapped the race. A perfect way to finish up the season.