Notice the overuse and emphasis of the word just. People use the word all the time when running a shorter race if a longer one is available. I may need to expunge that word from my own vocabulary, since I am finding myself using it so much lately.
|About half-way through, and making that face again. Photo by John McCarroll|
And even just finishing appeared to be somewhat in doubt as we started off. The footing, especially at during the first mile or two, was very bad. There was:
- uneven ruts of frozen mud
- the usual steep hills
No, this was not going to be an easy day. I considered simply turning around and walking back, but I somehow managed to keep running forward. I eventually got used to the conditions, and just rolled with them. Did I mention that it was also quite cold? Temperatures were in the low 20s at the start, but during the run probably got up to the low 30s. The sunshine helped. But even that, combined with a couple hundred thousand footfalls, presented some problems. At some point some of the ice and frozen mud became transformed into ice and shoe-sucking mud.
How did the run go for me, you ask? Actually not too bad. I'd like to say that I exceeded expectations, but that wouldn't be quite right since I didn't have any. I ran the two 7.85 mile (or whatever) loops in about even splits to finish in 2:35. That's really okay. I'm fine with it. Really. I won't even mention that it's yet another Personal Worst time, or that my last 25K run was in the neighborhood of an hour faster with a time of 1:42.
It was wonderful to run in those Hinckley woods; they truly are beautiful. I'll never take them for granted. It was also wonderful to see so many of my club and otherwise ultra friends out there running and/or organizing the race. I had a blast.