Thursday, January 29, 2009
The Florida Challenge
Last Sunday I competed in my favorite race since leaving Vermont. The Florida Challenge Trail Half Marathon was mainly a single track technical course. Going into this race, comparing times with previous years, I was confident. Alas, I made several rookie mistakes. My major mistake, two minutes before the race began, I opted out of wearing socks. On a road half, where the path is long and straight. My feet can handle the pounding with no problem. This was a different beast. Six or seven miles into the race. The loose beach like sand had worked its way into my shoes and the quick turns and acceleration were turning the balls of my feet into hamburger. I spent the remainder of the race thinking about my feet rather then racing. Number two, I started way to slow. I went into the woods placed in the 30's or 40's. Single track prevents easy passing. I know I am getting stronger because I had no problem running down groups of 3's and 4's. But I ran out of trail. I finished 7th, 3.5 minutes off the leader. Had I run smarter I could have won. Live and learn. I met an interesting triathlete on the trails. Heather Gollnick is a five time Ironman winner. She is a full time professional athlete. I caught her shortly after my feet started to go and we ran together for several miles. We had a conversation midrace. Its not often I do that on the roads. But for some reason, trails invite that sort of thing. I think I may have found my calling. XC. It was always my favorite.