Last weekend Mark and I went to Douthat State Park in VA for a race. It was put on by Odyssey Adventure Racing. It was called Odyssey Trail Running Rampage http://http//www.oarevents.com/events/2010/Trail_Running_Rampage_2010.shtml
The plan was, I would take my wife's car to Alta and meet Mark on race morning, then I would ride with Mark to the race. Well that plan fell apart rather quickly, because Friday evening before the race, my wife said her car was making a "new" funny noise. I checked it out and found that the left front wheel bearing had gone bad. I had to order the part that evening and the parts store said it would be in Sat. morning.
I got up at 5:00 Sat. morning and have to drive my service truck to Alta to meet Mark. We had agreed to meet at 6:30. I got there at 6:40 and we continue our journey. We had figured it would take us an hour to get there from Alta, well it took a little longer, so by the time we got there and checked in there was just enough time to make final preperations before the race.
There were 4 different races that day. The 40 mile, 26 mile and 13 mile all used the same 13 mile loop around the park. The 5 mile used the begining and end of the same loop. We were told to follow pink ribbons.
Mark started near the front and I started where I always start. In the back. What Mark didn't know was, that I really figured on catching him later. He tends to slow down in the later stages of a long race. I am just slow from the start and stay that way. Most of the 1st 3 miles is uphill. In places it is pretty steep. I picked off several people going up that 1st hill. One of them was a girl that was hurling beside the trail 1.5 miles from the start. I had never seen anybody hurl that soon in a race before. She said she was ok, so I continued. There were some really awesome views going up the mountain. There was a check point at the top at an overlook. The view was breath taking that morning. The next 3-4 miles is down the other side of the mountain. It was all very runable. I was making good time going off there, but I was feeling like I needed to make a deposit ( if you know what I mean ). I really wanted to wait till I got to the start-finish line where there were porta-potties, but no. I had to pull over and take care of business. No body passed me while I was there, but a couple of guys did catch up to me. I tried to stay ahead of them, but they passed me just before the start-finish.
I finished that loop in 2:36. I refilled my camel-bak and away I went. I had gone 500 yards or so around the hill when I came to a 3 way intersection. I knew the trail to the right was not the correct way. Straight ahead looked correct, but there were no pink streamers. The trail to the left had pink streamers so I went that way. I thought all along it didn’t look right, but I was following pink streamers. I came to a 1 mile sign and then shortly I popped out on a road. Now I knew that I had made a HUGH MISTAKE. I must have taken the route for the 5 mile race course.
I stood there a few minutes trying to figure out what to do. I thought about quitting. Then I said “NO I AM NOT GOING TO QUIT”, so I turned and headed back the way that I had come. I made it back to the intersection where I had gone wrong and without hesitation started the hike up the mountain. Now I knew this was going to be tough, it was the hottest part of the day and I knew that it was about 7 miles till the next aid station that had water and I would definitely run out of water. So I started rationing it. Over the next 13 miles I experienced the worst cramps that I have ever had while running. The up hills produced cramps in my right hamstring and glute. I finally made it to the top of the mountain. I came upon a young fellow named Jon. He was having a severe cramp. I stopped to see if he needed anything and talked to him for a minute while he stretched. He said he was better, so we started down the hill. I was happy to be going down until I realized that the down hills caused cramps in my left arch (yep the arch, crazy huh) and the left hip flexor. So the up hills and down hills hurt about equally. GREAT. Jon and I ran together for the next few miles. I enjoyed the company, but when we got to more level ground, Jon took off.
I finished the loop without any more drama for a total time of 6:34. I was not happy with the time, but I was really proud of finishing. I had a lot of firsts in the race. 1st time I had done a multiple loop race. 1st time I have had to crap during a race. Absolutely the worst cramps and the most lost I have ever been.
Mark and I were not in a hurry to get back, so we sat around enjoying the really good food and fellowship. We met Mike and Mike, the 2 guys that caught up to me on the first loop while I was taking care of business and several other people.
We finally did leave, but hadn’t gone far when I suggested that we stop for ice cream. It was really good too.
My wife had picked up the part for her car, so after I got home and ate supper, I still had to work on her car. I finally finished it up at 11:00. That made for a long day.