Rocky Hill Ranch is not very rocky at all but I'd forgotten how many rollers it had. I also had forgotten how pretty this place is. Before this past Saturday the last time I ran at this east central Texas locale was about five years ago. Most of the place is single track sandy loam terrain through piney woods.
I arrived early enough to see some of my buddies start their 50k. After that I walked over to my truck to try to catch a few Z's. I didn't sleep much the night before the race. Does anyone?
The 25K started promptly at 7 AM. The start began on a slight incline and for the first mile or so the trail was hard dried mud full of holes and ruts of all sizes. We'd been warned. There had been a mountain bike race the weekend before with 600 riders tearing up the exposed trail. Luckily most of the trails are under a canopy of tall pine trees and covered with pine needles and leaves. There were some very small pockets of dried up hard mud and running water from springs we had to jump over but for the most part the trails were smooth. My plan was to walk every uphill no matter how short.
My buddy Mike and I leaped frogged throughout the race. It was nice having him around. We talked and pushed each other to run harder.
My left leg has been bothering me. I think it's my IT band and I know I should use my foam roller to massage my legs, but I don't. Favoring this leg led to me pulling my left calf muscle at about mile five. It hurt so bad. The next ten miles I hobbled as I ran trying to ignore the pain. It would hurt more if I walked too long. I'd find a rhythm now and then. My stomach started to turn at about mile 12 and I had to find a place far off the trail to lay some fertilizer. Thank God for Leaves.
Peering through the woods to find my way back to the trail, I see Tanya running at a brisk pace. She sees me and waves. Right behind her is Mike. I fall in and soon pass Mike. Later mike said he wondered, "how did Tony get behind me?"
I caught up with Tanya and hooked on to her pace. It's amazing how one can find energy feeding off of another runner. I don't know what the pace was but we were moving at a swift clip.
At about mile 13 the rollers get longer leading up to "The Wall", A short 20 yard Very steep climb.
Coming out of the woods at mile 14 Tanya pauses and asks if I want to pass. "No." I reply, "I'm using you."
Tanya takes off and I am hot on her heels. I keep up until about 150 yards from the finish. I couldn't hang anymore. I crossed the finish line at 2:30:10. Mike was about five minutes back.
I hung out with the gang at "Rockhopper Central." Our groups canopy/tent/refreshment post at the start finish.
My left calf has ached for two days. Feeling better though. I broke out the foam roller.