Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Li'l Rhody Runaround

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Our signature club event. If the pre-registration tallies were any indicator (a record 215, which is 50 more than last year), this was going to be a big event.  Little did I know we would eclipse 400, with 439 entrants and 414 finishers!  (our previous record was just about 300)

50:14.  11th of 414 runners, 3rd place age group.  PR!  Full results here.
We're off.  A sea of orange, with Greg leading the way.
(photo by Jana)

Mile 1:  5:42.  No time for a warm-up with various RD duties, so it was fast off the block at the start.  I always try to get out fast the first mile of this race, in order to get a good position going into the single-track.  This time I think I overdid it with a pace too fast.  I caught up to Tom (that should have been a clue!) and passed the age-grouper always ahead of me, Brian McNeiece from the NRA.  3/4 of a mile in, the pack had settled quite a bit, as I entered the trails just ahead of Tom and Brian, and a few places behind Jonny and Jackman.

Mile 2:  5:58.  Yeah, Mile 2 was no slouch either.  Got passed by teen Dan Linkinhoker in the campground, who had some very polite words for me.  The guy is fast, and was ahead of me at Shad Bloom.  This section of trail out of the campground is pretty fast.

Mile 3:  6:38.  This is the section starting from where the trail meets Klondike Road and through the covered bridge.  Between my overly aggressive pace the past two miles and now hitting the rock gardens, I was already feeling the effects and had to slow a bit.  Jonny and Jackman were about 100 yards ahead of me, but this was to be the last time I'd see them.

Mile 4:  6:37.  I could no longer see anyone in front of me, but heard footsteps pretty close behind me.  

Mile 5:  6:38.  On Buckeye Brook Road now, just after the water stop.  I can hear someone coming right up on me now, and I fear it's Brian overtaking me.  No, it's Tom!  What a welcome sight!  We're both feeling beat,  run together on the pavement, and although I ask him to go ahead of me going back into the trails, he insists that I go first.  Tom, Brian, and I are in a tight pack here.
Buckeye Brook Road:  with Tom, and Brian just footsteps behind
Heading back into the woods ...
(above photos by Beth Eckel)

Mile 6:  7:05.  There are about 50' of climbs in here.  My pace slows and I'm getting tired.  Someone comes up on me pretty fast from behind, so I politely move to the side on a wider section of trail and mention that if he wants to pass me, now's the time.  He does, and it is not Tom or Brian, but rather someone I don't recognize. (strange post-race story:  the guy passing me is age 25, but his sloppily scrawled age is picked up as "75" and he unintentionally steals the 70+ 1st-place age group from John H, whom we'll make amends to)

Mile 7:  7:03.  Final rock gardens.  I'm feeling slow, but at a switchback, I'm surprised to see I put some distance on Tom and Brian.

Mile 8:  5:41.  Exit on to the road.  I expect Tom to pass me, and that's fine, but I up the pace as I really want to hold Brian off and I know he's a faster road runner than me.  I want to just stop as my legs and lungs are asking me to, but just keep the faith a little longer.  When I finally reach Sanctuary Road, I sprint it home.  Finished just 10 seconds ahead of Tom, and ending up holding off Brian by 29 seconds to place in my age group.  This was my 10th consecutive year of running Li'l Rhody, and I'm thrilled to take another PR here, if only by 11 seconds.
About 100 yards to go to the finish.  Tom is behind me,
 as he's just turning off of Prosser Trail onto Sanctuary
(photo by Jana)
"Flying" into the finish.  Just a few feet to go now!
(photo by Beth Eckel)

Just an awesome day.  Tom made his Li'l Rhody debut.  Matthew and Jonny Eckel took 3 minutes off their already fast time from last year, and there were so many runners from WTAC out there.  Many many thanks to all my WTAC board brethen who helped organize and make this a success.

Thoughts for next year:  1) new age group - will try to go for a win; 2) sub-50 at age 50, or am I dreaming?


  1. Great race and great job putting on Lil Rhody! That last shot of you hovering near the finish line is pretty cool.

  2. Great job Jeff!!! I'm exhausted reading this and wonderful photos by Jana!

  3. Great recap! Such a fun event to be a part of, and the turnout was off the charts. sub-50 at 50? Totally do-able. Great job, and congrats on the PR!