Very pretty course through open woods, the trail twisted and turned over gently rolling terrain. I had my camera tucked into my Nathan vest and was hoping to get some pictures of peak fall colors, but we were about a week too late. Lots of leaves on the ground which covered the roots - I saw more people take diggers during this race than any other all season! Someone must have gotten dinged up because a 4 wheeler pulling a rescue cart passed us on the trail.
I felt like I was making good progress for about the first 6 miles, then was starting to feel a little crampy. My hands were also swelling, so I took some Endurolytes. I had decided that since it was cool (and I'd had all summer to get acclimated to heat, which also results in more efficient sodium retention), Endurolytes would be sufficient rather than S caps. Big mistake! I was also noticing a blister forming on the ball of my right foot even though I've been wearing the same shoe/sock combo for more than a year. WTF? Wayne passed me around this time, and I had to start slowing to a walk for most of the uphills - even the gentle ones - to avoid cramping. More meandering through the twisting trail, then up one of the noteworthy hills with the "cheer leader of the year" shouting encouragement to all of the runners.
Popped out onto a gravel road where we had to do a little loop up and around a cone before trotting back for another short section in the woods. Finally we returned to the paved road for the last mile back to the church. There was a pretty stiff headwind by now - I hadn't noticed the wind at all in the woods. The ol' feet and legs were feeling a little crampy, so my progress was way slower than it should have been and I was getting passed by several people. I kept thinking that I am in big trouble with a 50K on the schedule in just 2 weeks and I'm limping in for a half marathon!
Finally got to the finish and met up with the usual cast of characters for the post race chat. We had a sit down lunch with soup, bread, cookies, bananas and oranges at the church - tomato vegetable soup never tasted so good!
Special thanks and congrats to RD Mark Bongers and ALL of the many, many, cheerful volunteers that helped to put on a great race!