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Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hell, thy name is Comus!

OK, that's not exactly fair. Comus looked like a wonderful place to live. I would look into the possibility if not for already knowing that Dori would have absolutely no interest in being so far out of town and having so much land to take care of.

What I should really say is Hell, thy name is the Comus 5K. You know how I grumbled about last weekends cross country race at Landon? This was worse and not just by the additional .1 miles. This course had a ton of hills. Nearly all of it was run on either grass (which scares me-can't see the holes) or on trails in woods with lots of roots and things to trip you up. We crossed a couple of creeks and we had to jump over a fallen tree. Perhaps the toughest part of the course for me were the sidehill runs. That placed a lot of stress on my bad ankle.

Just getting their was difficult. My GPS in my car couldn't find Comus so I turned off of 270 where I thought the turn should be. That was a mistake that cost me about 6 minutes. I found an address on the website while stopped at a light and was able to plug that into the GPS. It showed I would arrive right at 5:30...the scheduled starting time. Oh boy. This is when its nice to have a psuedo sports car. I did 60 on the winding country roads leading to the farm that served as the base for the course. I signed up with 2 minutes to spare. No time to stretch. Oh well. The "G" word was said and were off.

We started by running around an excercise area for horses. Then we ran down a pretty big hill beside a fence holding back a couple of horses. One came over to the fence to see what we were doing. I gasped a hello. We then started climbing another hill and I took my first walk break. I looked at my watch and weren't even 2 minutes into the race! Not a good sign at all. The good news was I had a lot of people still behind me at this point.

I started running again but I was having trouble with my footing on the grassy surface. There were sections of the course that I could have run faster if on pavement but I had to slow down. Thus, the little cushion that I built up for when I walked the uphills just wasnt happening this day. To prove it. I was passed by a group of about 8 runners at about the 3/4 mile mark as I walked up a short steep hill. Included in this pack was Mark Zimmerman, who has to be about the happiest (and chattiest) runner I know.

We emerged from the trees and ran back by the horses we saw earlier. We were told at the start that this was about the 1 mile mark. OK, only 2.1 more Back by the start line I was able to grab a big cup of water. That helped quite abit but I decided to walk for a minute or two here. We ran through a pretty large field and I was able to see some of the runners behind me. A few passed me while still in the field but I was able to keep some women behind me as we entered another set of woods. We did a kind of sideways "M", racing through the woods in one direction before racing back towards where we came from on a parallel path. Then we did it again. Each leg of this "M" was on a higher elevation so I could see and hear some of the runners ahead of me, particularly Mark. I would guess he was about 3 minutes ahead of me at this point. I was also able to see 2 women behind me in the woods. My new and last goal for the day was to keep them behind me.

We exited the woods and ran beside a fence in a field for a few hundred yards before entering more woods. This was the toughest section of the course for me with the previously mentioned sidehills and some very steep sections. I was able to keep the woman in front of me in sight through these woods but I certainly didnt make up any ground.

When I exited from the woods I was whipped. We kind of ran a big U in large field. I had to walk a lot of this. I started running again when I saw the first woman behind me exit from the woods. Not far in fromt of me was the woman and now also a child runner. Unfortunately, we then hit a steep hill and I immediately lost touch with them.

My left calf started to cramp up on me at this point. Oh great, I thought, as if I wasn't having enough fun already. I hobbled by a volunteer who said I had about 1/4 mile left. Apon hearing this I immediately stepped in a hole hidden by the grass and wrenched my back. I mostly walked the rest of the way until I could see the clock. Then I picked up my pace until I crossed the finish line in an amazingly bad 42:25. I did beat 3 women but I came in last among the men(110th). 159 runners completed the course.

Perhaps (no, certainly) the best part of the race was the post race party. There were bottles of cold beer on ice (I had a Yeungling) and there was also a Good Humor truck that was giving everyone whatever they wanted (I had a snow cone. I didn't want ice cream with my beer).

This race marked my 33rd race of the year and according to my Franklin Planner, it took place during the 33rd week of the year. So...I am back on pace for 50+ races...assuming nothing crazy happens like falling down and breaking my foot and ankle. But that could never happen...right?

1 comment:

zhurnaly said...

re "Included in this pack was Mark Zimmerman, who has to be about the happiest (and chattiest) runner I know." --- thank you --- I'll take that as a compliment (^_^) ... see for my report on that run ... ^z