Saturday, March 13, 2010

Prickly Pear Trail run


7 AM, picked up my packet. I'm running the 10 miler. Chris R. and Lisa H. were working the runner check in. Lisa and I are "almost" related. Lisa said Chris talks too much, Naw, really? No Way! Chris tried to convince Lisa to run trails with us. She said, no, her ankles couldn’t take it. A roadie’s response for sure. Maybe Lisa will relent and join us soon. Back to the truck to warm up. It was cold. 40 degrees in the shade, but warm in the sun. A trip to the bathroom, and back to the truck again to warm up. Second trip to the bathroom and the sun was warming things up. 8 A.M. back at the start and Annabelle is struggling to put on her chip. I help her and find out she’s been suffering from the flu all week. At the start line Annabelle and I wish each other well. Start! Running on the pavement for the first mile the pace was fast. Quickly I knew I had to slow down. Hitting the nature trails I was more at ease. This is what I like. As the trail crossed the main road I saw Marissa! “Catch Kelli” she yelled. Yeah, it’ll be a cold day in hell when I can do that. I was feeling well and my pace felt great, but can I keep it up? Over the dam, and down the chute. I caught on to a girl running a good even pace. Keeping her just in front of me, I was feeding off her energy. We were passing people and “grooving “ down the trail. Hitting probably the most technical part of the course my “pacer” freaked! She was a roadie for sure. The trail zigzagged down to the creek bed and soon we were on smooth trail again. I was having flashbacks of my mountain biking days. Almost 20 years ago I biked here at least 2 times a week. The foliage was much thicker then, but I knew these trails. Heck, I came to this park as a teenager when it was a hippie and biker hangout. Back then; in the 70’s, it was named “North East Preserve.” The trails have smoothed out considerably since then. Still feeling good I sucked down a gel. Keeping an even pace I was surprised I was doing so well, by my standards. At about mile 6, approaching an aid station, I looked up, caught a glimpse of Edgar, and “PLOP” I bit it! Edgar said, “I marked it just for you Tony” OUCH! It hurt. I hobbled through the aid station and slowed to survey the damage to my leg. Just some scratches, and a little blood. I’ll live. But, damn it hurts! Hobbling a little more I slowly got back into my rhythm. At mile 7 I “HEARD” a runner gaining on me. Soon she was on me asking for room with “On your Left.” That’s proper trail etiquette, don’t you know? Again I hung on to this runner! Boy was she moving fluidly! I sucked on her energy and hung on for the next 2 and one half miles until she came upon a guy who would not move over after she asked for space a couple of times. As she finally passed him going off the trail, she nearly fell. I passed this guy too but could not catch up to “my pacer” again. After the race I thanked her for the ride. She was aware of the fact I was behind her and said she saw me running well and had set her sights on passing me. Crossing the line at 1:23:49 I was happy! But Chris reminded me that I had not beaten his time on last years run.

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