Saturday, November 26, 2016

Li'l Rhody 2016

Charlestown, RI
Sunday, November 20, 2016

This was the silver 25th anniversary of the Li'l Rhody Runaround 8-Mile Trail Race.  Personally, I have "only" run the last 13 of the 25 years.  This was my first ever trail race, and indeed for many years the only trail run of any kind that I would run. I am honored at this point to be an officer of the fine club that puts on this race, and to serve as Race Director.  Onto the race ...

The temperature was only in the mid-30s as I departed the house at 7:45 to get setup, and while it warmed all the way up to 47 degrees by race time, there was a brisk wind across the pond right into the registration area that just kept it feeling quite cold.  My warm-up consisted of shuffling around from registration to the SNERRO van, moving parking marshals from the lower DEM lot to the upper YMCA lot, etc.  Before I knew it, it was time to give a 2-minute overview to the crowd and line up.
Start of the 2016 race

Front half:  Ran out in a conservative 5:58 first mile, following behind Jonny and Tom.  By the time we got into the campground, I could no longer see Tom anymore.  A tall guy went by me and then also went by Jonny, and surprisingly I caught up to and passed Jonny on the final asphalt stretch of the campground before re-entering the woods.  I guess he was not having a great day.  Maybe still feeling the effects of his marathon?  The tall guy was pulling away from us, and I could hear Jonny behind me.
Making our way out to the covered bridge, I sensed my left shoe was really loose.  So much so that I wanted to stop and tie it.  No time for that.  Soldiered on, but it was bothering me.  Unfortunately, after the right turn right near Klondike, I noticed my shoelace was now completely untied and annoyingly hitting my other leg when I ran.  Damn.  This was a first for me.  Why didn't I check and tighten them pre-race?  Now I had to stop.  I lost a good 20 seconds, and Jonny re-passed me.  I resumed running with one tight shoe and one looser shoe.  Let's hope it holds.  Followed pretty closely behind Jonny all the way out to Buckeye Brook Road.

Through one of the few technical sections on the back half.
Pics by Scott Mason

Back half:  No change in position for the rest of the race.  Jonny gradually pulled away, but I could still see him on longer stretches for the rest of the race.  At switchbacks, I glanced back but never saw anyone.  It would actually help to have someone behind push me.  Scott Mason was at one of the rock gardens snapping pics.  I slid a little on wet rocks, but nothing major.  Coming out of the trail section, I felt my watch vibrate at a mile split and looked down to see I was running 5:02 pace?  Yeah, right! OK, maybe not that fast, but I did feel I was running fast.  Now I could see Tom again, as he wasn't that far ahead of Jonny.  My watch beeped "GPS signal lost".  Dang.  Pushed it home, knowing I was not having a PR, but was surprised and disappointed to finish in 51:07.
Finishing up.  Pic by Jana.

Final results:  51:07, 9th overall, 1st in age group.  Full results here.
The numbers were down a bit this year, but we still had a great WTAC showing and a good day on the trails.  Congrats to all the WTAC runners and volunteers, from Matthew and teammates at pre-reg, Jana and Beth handing out shirts, Joe on post-reg, Polly making hot vegetable soup, Jeff Vuono, Tommy, and Schane as parking marshals, Mike B bringing wood, Chris behind the scenes with Fall Race Series scoring, and I'm sure I'm inadvertently leaving a few out.


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