I finished a 5K this morning. I hadn't done one since January of 2008 so I was pretty due to do another. As I posted previously, I got an email about the "Cedar Hall School Trail Run 5K" about a month or so ago and decided to give it a try. It rained all day yesterday and was raining slightly this morning so I knew it was going to be a mess. I told Susan and the boys they didn't have to go with the rain, but they were persistent and I was glad. We all packed into the van at 7:45AM and headed to Christiana, TN.
This race was out in the boonies. It was actually beyond the boonies. We passed the boonies on the way there. We drove to Murfreesboro but then went another 10-15 miles on back roads. The flyer had said there was a 200 person limit but we all knew there wouldn't be that many people there. With the weather and being in boonie-ville, we knew it would be less. There was probably around 70 that ran. We got there around 8:30 and there were only a handful of people there. It was on a farm with a ton of land. They had a fire going and a tent to register. I registered and got my t-shirt. Pretty nice. Long sleeve. White. That's half the reason to do these races anyways, right? I could tell it was going to be a muddy course, just by how the field was where we registered, but I had no idea what was to come.
They started us at 9:00 and told us there would be some mud and water. That was the biggest understatement I've ever heard. When we started, "Mr. No Shirt" got out in front. He was the only one without a shirt. It was too cold for that, even if you're a great runner. Hey, I was cold with my shorts and t-shirt. Most had on pants and long-sleeves. I decided to get out quick and not get caught in the crowd so I got right behind no-shirt. I figured someone would eventually pass me, but nobody ever did.
The course was awful. Now don't get me wrong - on a dry day, it would be a great course, but today, not so much. The first half mile was probably the toughest part. See, I was trying to avoid the mud and puddles. Note to self - just run through them. It's so much easier. The ground was very soft and extremely lumpy all over even on the course. I know the guy behind me (which was actually a boy - who stayed in 3rd the whole time) thought I looked drunk. I was stumbling all over the place. How I didn't twist and ankle I'll never know. This was by far the most "cross country" course I've ever run even all through high school. It went through woods, on trails, over rocks, through streams, rivers, puddles, lakes, whatever. It was extremely twisty and bumpy and unbelievably wet and muddy. There were many many times I ran through water that was shin deep and I'm not exaggerating. But like I said, it was much easier to just run through it than try to avoid it. I stared at my feet through 90% of it. You had to.
It was pretty well marked, I will say. I only questioned myself once if I was on the course of not. I tried to keep no-shirt in my sight and did for most of it. My ipod was acting up. I think it got wet. It was too loud or too soft or was repeating the same song. I should've just gone without but I usually run better with it. I listened to it for most of the time but eventually turned it off when I knew I didn't have much left. The miles weren't marked except for the first one so I had no idea how much I had left. I didn't like that. I knew around mile 2 that I was going to get second. I was shocked. Granted there were only 70 people or so running but I would've never put myself in 2nd. I came out of the woods and saw the finish line. That's a beautiful sight. I saw my wife and boys cheering. Even more beautiful. I high-fived the boys before I crossed the line in 20:28. Wow. Not to toot my own horn but that was so much better than I was hoping for. I was hoping to beat 22 minutes. And with the conditions, I was especially surprised. I'll take it. New PR for me. 2nd overall and 2nd in my age bracket. By the way my age bracket was 19-35. What's up with that? That's huge. The guy that won was 20. I'm 34. I guess once everyone registered, that's what they had to do to make the brackets fairly even b/c I think there were only 5-6 in my age bracket.
Oh well. I got a medal. I had a great time. I got 2nd overall. I got very dirty, wet, and tired. But it was a blast. I loved it. I need to do more of these. How often do you get to run through water, not care about how dirty and wet you are getting, and get rewarded for it. It was worth every penny of my $20 registration.
Carter and Max asked if they could run it next year. Why not?
20 miles tomorrow morning. Thank you daylight savings!!!
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