What was I thinking …

When I hear someone talk about a 5k or a 10k race I cringe, so why did I sign up for Fool’s Gold 10k Adventure Run … seemed like a good idea at the time 😉

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10k’s hurt !! There is no way to sugar coat it, running all out for 40+ minutes hurts. Maybe if I trained for this distance it would not hurt so bad, but I don’t, so it hurts !!

     Eddie, the RD of Fool’s Gold 100/50 Mile MTB Race, walked over to me with a lap top and told me to fill out the entry form, and with out question I did. He then tells me I’m entered in his foot race, Fools Gold Adventure Run, I replied “Cool” …  but then started thinking, what exactly did I get myself into !! Eddie tells me it a 10k, but it’s a 10k trail run with a lot of ups and downs.

     The setting was the picturesque Montiluce Winery and Estates, in the North Georgia Mountains. This was a first year event and Eddie hand cut most of the trails himself to make it happen. At 9am I, along with 92 of my closest friends, stood shoulder to shoulder waiting in nervous anticipation for Eddie to set us free. At 9:01 we were heading down a paved road and into the wilds of the winery !!

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     We started with a 3/4 mile paved stretch and I was pleasantly surprised to see that several runners were pushing the pace in the beginning. I went into this race with a solid game plan, use this race as a speed work out and maintain an 85% heart rate for the first 4.5 miles, then completely empty the fuel tank on the final 1.5 miles, but as in most of my races it was altered, slightly 😉 I was in 4th place on the road section, and moved into second place once we entered the first single track section. I felt confident that I could hold my own on the trails and steep climbs, but was nervous about the flat fast sections of pavement and gravel roads.

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     After a short stretch of trails we hit some gravel roads and I was passed by runner, this surprised me, but the race was still young. I wasn’t concerned about passing the front two, but I wanted to keep them in my sights at all costs. Usually I say a race doesn’t really start until 60 miles, but in a 10k this in not quite the case !! I would close in on the leaders every time there was a climb, but then they start to open up a gap every time we hit a short road section. Finally we got to the ‘big” climb of the day and I was only a few yards behind them and closing fast, this was my moment, they were walking the climb and I was running it, but Eddie had a surprise in store for me… pavement !!

     As soon as the climb ended we had a paved road section that was downhill, evil roads !! The leaders started to opened up a gap on me, this was not looking good for me. I hit the last aid station, 1.5 miles to go, it was now or never. I tried to make my legs go faster, but they weren’t cooperating. The trail was rolling with no real climbs and not helping me out. In the back of my mind I remember that it was an uphill finish, and I kept telling myself I still had a chance. Coming into a corner I lost sight to the leaders, and when I picked them up again they were already on the last climb to the finish.

     I was able to get a 3rd place finish and win my age group, but I was still a little disappointed. It was a fun little course that reaffirmed how much I enjoy running longer mountain races !! I did win a bottle of wine and  get to feel very awkward as I stood on a podium for the first time.

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The highlight of my day was when a friend talked me into doing a 15 mile trail run over Bull Mountain and back 6 hours after the race for a candy corn flavored oreo cookie !!

Life is good !!

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