Tuesday, March 31, 2009

RunTerra 8 km Race

At the start, notice the bus that is stuck in the mud. Since it rained 2 days straight in Gaithersburg, the ground was pretty soaked.

The front runners and runners ahead of me in an out and back section by mile 2 (for me, 4 for the front runners) This course is very pretty and several times you get to see other runners during out and back sections.
Runners finishing the quarter mile loop by mile 3. In this picture, I have not started the loop yet, but clearly I am in no hurry.

Along the course by Clopper Lake (this is a pretty lake when it is sunny). On a gloomy day, it is perhaps less so (although luckily during the race I got warmer and warmer...at the start I thought I would freeze to death and had all sorts of layers including two black plastic bags as well as a jacket, a thermal half zip, a light half zip, a long sleeve shirt, t-shirt and tank...as for bottoms, I had two pairs of pants and it was about 50 degrees for the start and the finish of the race. I am a pathetic cold sissy!

Taking a moment to take a self-portrait while approaching the finish. I was pretty pleased when I saw the finish time of just over 50 minutes. I think this time might be a PR for a 8 km distance for me (on a hilly course no less). I have run the Rockville Twilighter 8 km several times, but I think I always finished in over an hour.

This past Sunday I ran the inaguaral RunTerra 8km race. This was my final race before the Umstead 100 mile run. It was a local race that initially was going to be just 2 miles from my house (at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds). It was relocated to Seneca Creek State Park a different local park. Because of this move, runners had the opportunity to take buses to and from the race venue. I did not take the bus there, but I did take the bus back to the fairground (then later ran home). It seems the buses did have some snafu's including one bus that went on an expedition around Montgomery County before getting to the race and another bus that got stuck in some mud and needed a backhoe to tug it out while the runners were on the course.

Regardless of these glitches and moderately nasty weather, I think the race was well run and alot of fun. During packet pick up I ran into my friend Jenn G (my co-chauffer to the National Marathon), who was exhibiting for "Girls on the Run" but she was not going to run the race. In fact I knew only about 3 other runners and in fact I did not know their names (just recognized their faces). During the race I chatted briefly with a bunch of runners and enjoyed myself immensely.

The RunTerra 8km travels along a variety of roads in Seneca Creek State Park by Clopper Lake. The course does several out and backs, which gives all runners the opportunity to see the front runners as well as the stragglers. In fact early on I was that last place person. The course is not closed to traffic however there were no cars on the course. The lack of cars was probably caused by the constant drizzle during the majority of the race.

I felt really good during the race and was really pleased with my ~50 minute 8km race. I started off slow, but then slowly picked up the pace. Hopefully this little bit of speedwork does not come back to haunt me next week during the Umstead 100 miler.

After the race, I took the bus back to the Fairgrounds went through the Green EXPO briefly and then hung out and chatted with other runners. During the award ceremony and raffles I ended up chatting with a fellow Fleet Feet runner, Michelle and her friend Jordan (who had finished second in the men's division). I ended up winning a raffle for some iron on reflective gear that says:"See Me Run", which I will put on one of my jackets.

I then ran home. One of the "swag" items for this race was a sapling planted in honor of each runner. This and the fact that the race organizers had utilized carbon offsets for energy used in this race attracted me to this race. In the evening, I finally decided where my sapling should be planted (Vermont) and went online to do this. I am unsure exactly where my plant will be (or even what kind it will be) but hope someday I will be able to visit her.

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