52° 21' North, 4° 52' East
As most of you know, today I got to run in the Salem Lake 10K Trail Lake out in Winston-Salem, NC. There is a 30K race that happens there every year at the same time as well, and though I haven't had a chance to look at the numbers, my impression was that there were more hearty-souls 30K racers than 10K. We had maybe 200 runners in our race.
The weather was very nice. Elsewhere across the country people were suffering thunderstorms and tornadoes... we had some scattered clouds and temps probably around 70 - 75. The park around Salem lake is mostly woods.
The "trail" was a 10 foot wide packed dirt swath that had been "scraped" the day before. It looks like a bulldozer just dropped its blade and drove around the lake. You could have driven a car on this "trail" without much difficulty, and indeed I saw a golf-cart drive on it to rescue a runner who had somehow injured her knee... I think she tripped on a root.
When I was getting ready for this "trail" race, I was picturing the types of trails that I knew - the kind criss-crossing Umstead Park here in Raleigh - narrow, rocky, root-y, trecherous, and extremely hilly. You can't take two steps without going over or around either a root or a rock. By comparison, this trail might as well have been a road! There were hardly any hills, and the ground, though a bit uneven in spots, was almost completely clear of obstacles. And it was the same almost the entire 6.2 miles.
Not that I really minded! It certainly made for a pleasant race!
I started out in my customary spot for races - the very back. Which turns out to have been a very good thing, for either I've gotten much slower or the runners who participate in 10K's are faster than the group who participate in 5K's. I know one person finished after me. I know one other person besides her who was behind me but I don't know if she finished. For most of the race, I ran with Sylvia, a 65 year old woman I met there who had been running for 5 years. She would walk more than I would, but then she'd run and boy she could run fast! We stuck together and pushed eachother for most of the way, and I found it made the time pass much quicker to have someone to be running with.
I was a little sick on race day. Yesterday I'd been running a low grade fever, had a slight headache, and was tired. This morning I felt somewhat better but was having some GI problems. So I skipped breakfast (had a granola bar but that's it), went to the porta-johns 3 times right before the race, and prayed I'd be alright. I was. But I'm sure I was a little dehydrated as well! Oy! That makes for some tough running! But I'd been waiting for this race for months, so I HAD to run in it! I just HAD to!
1:23:45 later found Sylvia and me at the finish line, being asked if there was anyone behind us. I think they wanted to take down the time clock. I'd forgotten all about the walker behind us - a woman in a pink tank-top who I'd passed right before I'd caught up to Sylvia. But she showed up before they took anything down. I don't know when or if that last lady finished, though I did see her later so she isn't stuck out there somewhere.
I have decided that I like the 10K distance. When we'd passed the 3 mile marker, I noticed how quickly it had seemed to come up. I would have been disappointed if that had been the end of the race! I was having fun - I didn't want to stop! The fifth mile seemed reeeeeaaaallly long... it just kept going and going and going! I don't think their sinage was off, though, I think it was just me. But I'm reminded of how long a 5K race seemed earlier in the year. I had the same feeling then, too, that it was just going and going and going and was never going to end! So I suspect that I'll be able to get used to the 10K distance without too much trouble.
I'm still planning on running in a half-marathon next month (Oct 22), but I enjoyed this race and distance so much I think I'm going to plan on running more 10K's in the future. A half-marathon would be like running this whole race twice and then tacking on an extra mile for fun... hmm... You know, I realized today that I will be doing an awful lot of walking next month during the race!!! Because I found the amount of time I walked compared to time I ran kept increasing during this 6.2 mile race... and increasing... and increasing... if I'd had to do another 7 miles I think that there would have been more walking than running going on by the end! Oh boy!
I guess that's why we train, right? To build up endurance? I'm thinking that next year will be even better than this year, but I am very glad I went ahead and am running in these more challenging races this year. When I look back, I will be able to see how far I've come. I've come so far this year - and next year should be even better.
Roads were made for journeys...