The day started out very early as we made the 100 mile drive to Sloppy Floyd State Park. Upon entry into the park we stopped by the park ranger, paid the $5 park entry fee, had no trouble finding a parking spot, and had plenty of time before the race started.
As usual the race director, Becky (remember her name, you'll see why in a bit) called us all together just prior to the start to go over things to be aware of. Becky does a wonderful job putting this race together, she is one of the best.
|Becky giving last minute instructions|
We were off. First mile was around the lake, the second mile was through the camping area. In the camping area, smelling the bacon & eggs, I thought - this is borderline cruel and unusual punishment : ) Next we were off into the forest.
At around mile 3 we passed the old Marble Mine, a dip in the reflection pool would have felt pretty good at that point.
|Marble Mine on the trail|
Mile 1 12:15
Mile 2 13:15
Mile 3 13:45
Mile 4 28:38
There were a few foothills leading up to this elevation gain and your brain starts thinking "oh this must be it", only to discover it's not Becky's Bluff yet. However, there is no doubt in your mind when you ARE there.
At the top of Becky's Bluff we started an out and back rolling elevation changing ridge line. The inclines were tough but nowhere near as tough as what we just did. Following are a few shots from on the ridge line:
|Seeing the blue ribbon was comforting|
I think it was about mile 8 or so, my legs did not want to go anymore. They were just tired. The elevation gain really took a lot out of me. You really start questioning why you're doing this. Pretty much by this point, mile splits, finishing time, mean nothing. You simply just want to finish.
One of the really nice parts of this race was on the out and back on the ridge line. It made me think of a really old advertisement pitch by Honda (I think this was from the 1960s). Their ad saying was "You meet the nicest people on a Honda". Well during that out and back I thought "you meet the nicest people in a trail race". As I was still on the "out" part, many were on the "back" part. The amount of "good job", "looking good", "doing great", thumbs up,... from the folks as we crossed on the trail was amazing.
I was very happy to finish this race and the pizza & coke afterwards were delicious! But in hindsight, what I liked the most about this race was the t-shirt we got:
|What a great t-shirt!|