Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Make mine a double...

Happy Veterans Day! Thanks to all the veterans for your sacrifice, past and future!

My double header was quite the adventure. The adventure being more in terms of logistics than anything else. Race number one was about 45 minutes from home, race number two was a two hour drive. All in all it was a great day. The weather could not have been more perfect and I had a couple of fun races.

My day started out incredibly early as I headed to Lake Spivey for the 15k. For whatever reason I had it in my head that the race course was flat. Luckily, I noticed in a pre-race email from the director that the course was "challenging" so was mentally prepared for something other than a pancake flat race. I wasn't sure what exactly but they don't throw out words like "challenging" in an advertisement unless they mean it.

The race was very low-key. You could park right next to the number distribution and start line. One of the requirements of a perfect race allows you to park within 50 feet of the start/finish, don't you agree? About 10 minutes before the start, everyone starts making their way to the start. I am guessing *maybe* 250 runners are braving the 40-degree weather this Saturday morning with me.

The start is a long sloping uphill, at the time I thought that was kind of cruel but quickly came to realize that was the least of the hills on this course. I can honestly say it was the hilliest race I have ever run. It was constant rollers as we made our way through the neighborhoods and around the lake. I loved the scenery and actually loved the course as well. The director was correct, it was challenging. I ran every hill and loved every minute of it. The participation was so minimal that there were stretches were I could not see another runner. It was like being on a training run.

At the end, they had Chik-fil-a biscuits for the post-race offering. I believe it was the best biscuit I ever had. Isn't it funny how they can give you stale toast at the end of a race and you would still think it was the best food ever? (not that the biscuit was the equivalent of stale toast...) One of my friends told me once they were given some kind of lukewarm ramen noodles at race end and they could not enough of them. At any other time, I am certain anyone would think that they were disgusting. (Not that ramen noodles don't have a warm place in my heart - how can you not love food that is 6 packs for $1?). The results have not been posted yet. I believe my time was somewhere around 1:29. I didn't set the course on fire but kept a steady pace throughout. Do I get points for consistency?

Upon arriving back home, I grabbed a quick nap, shower and then fueled up for the second race. As I mentioned, Callaway Gardens is close to two hours from home so I had to hit the road in order to get there for the "twilight" start of 4:00. (I had wondered why they started at 4:00 since you might not be able to see the Christmas lights all that well. As it turned out, they have to be wrapped up by 6:00. Now we know.). I got to Callaway Gardens around 3:15. Another drive up to the registration kind of race. Cha-ching. Two in a row!

I had not been to Callaway Gardens since August of 1977. I remember the date because while we there, Elvis died. No, he did not die there but I remember my aunt gasping as she heard the news on the TV that night. I have a weird memory for random things. It may not make me rich but I can come in handy in a trivia game. Surprisingly, the beach area where the registration was being held had not changed at all since 1977.

I picked up my number, tossed my t-shirt and goody bag in the car and grabbed a last minute granola bar before the race. The start was a 1/3 mile walk from the parking area. I thought that a little odd at the time but in retrospect it is probably the only way they could mark off 6.2 miles and end up somewhere near a large building for the pre and post race gatherings.

A view from the right of the start

and the left of the start

Did I mention it was pet friendly? His legs don't seem long enough to go 6.2...

I enjoyed this race as well. I just kind of went on cruise control and enjoyed the run. Despite the 4:00 start, the lights were visible throughout so there were plenty of photo ops. My only regret was around mile 4 I felt like I hit a wall for a second. Just incredibly hungry. I am not sure I fueled up enough for the race and had not brought any jelly beans or gel with me thinking it was a 6 miler and I should not need them. Luckily, there were water stops every 1.5 miles and they were heavy handed with the gatorade mix so I grabbed 2 cups at each of the last two water stops and no longer had an issue. When I got to the end, there was not a lot in the way of food so I grabbed an apple and a banana for the ride home. Yes, that apple was the best I had ever tasted. Ironically, it happened to be my new favorite variety that I just discovered a couple weeks back, Jazz. Yum.

My race time was right around 59 minutes. I am pretty sure I am destined to be a pace leader as my comfort pace is 9:30 to 9:45 and I could run it consistently mile after mile without the aid of a watch to keep me on pace. I should just start bringing my own pace sign to the races and see how many people I can get to run with me.

The race was lovely. Perfect fall weather and the temperature of 70 degrees was quite a contrast from the morning's race of 40 degrees. Enjoy the pics and have a great week!


Unknown said...

You were the little traveling runner! Nice job! I love the pictures and it sounds like you had a consistent couple of races, cruise control =good! Love the comment about the biscuit...anything edible tastes the best right after a race!

Teamarcia said...

I just found your blog! Congrats on your races-the pics are gorgeous!

Kevin said...

Sounds like it was a great day. I have done the sprint tri at callaway, but never this run. It sounds like a fun run, though the drive down there is so annoying

AZ said...

I was wondering how your two races went. Now I know, they went well. I'm glad you enjoyed them; pretty hardcore, two in one day. Great pics too.

RunToTheFinish said...

wheeew you are hard core! way to go and really does sound like a fun albeit exhausting day

Calyx Meredith said...

A twofer! Yay you! I don't know that I could do that but you make it sound easy peasy. Love all the pics from Callaway.

Lindsay said...

wow one being 2 hours away - that is dedication! to me local is like - within 1/2 an hour, does that make me lazy? :)

nicely done on your double header of racing! they sound like two excellent, low-key races. too funny about the post-race food comments (mmm ramen noodles) and your self-proclaimed pace groups coming in future races.

ShirleyPerly said...

Congrats on your double header!!

I've never heard of a race in the afternoon like that. Wish there were more in my area. What a lovely venue that Callaway Gardens place is. Thanks for the lovely photos!

Jennifer said...

Wow, some of those lake pictures are real stunning. Seems like we run a similar 10K! Next time I head to Georgia we need to do a run together!

Pining for Pinterest said...

Such great pictures! It looks like it was a great race!