Friday, September 24, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

I have decided to write about my race experiences along with training advice in this blog and what follows is one such story.  Last Saturday I ran The Redwood Park trail run put on by PC Trail Runs.  They are a great outfit that puts on races frequently here in the bay area.  I ran the 10K.  I have been running POSE for a few months now so I was excited to see how my form held up in a race.  With a little over 1,000 feet of elevation there were some brutal hills involved.  I was wearing my Asics Hyperspeed II which provided little traction and made me more than a bit weary on a couple downhills.  It was a crisp morning, perfect for running.  Mist in the air and the scent of redwoods made the smell fresh and feel rejuvinating.  One siren from a bullhorn later and about 50 of us darted off and I quickly settled into 4th place.  Somehow the trail was double booked and bout 2 miles in we had some traffic. . . HORSES.  About 8 horses were galavanting down the trail opposite us and we had to step to the side to make room.  My head was a bit flustered after this and I was following a bald man.  We came to a split in the trail.  We could go left or straight.  To go straight was to cross a thick white chalk line, to go left was to avoid said line.  We took a left and bolted down the hill.  After 3 or 4 minutes I felt alone.  no longer did I hear the trampling footsteps behind me or hear the labored breaths of my running commrades.  There were 4 of us spread out and I bolted up to the 2 men ahead of me and asked "Are we lost?" "There was a big chalk line, didn't you see it?" the bald man said in an answer of sorts.  Followig this man we bolted back up the hill following the alleged course.  Looking at my watch the time read 38 minutes.  "We're almost done" I though to myself and thought about picking up the pace.  2 minutes later and I see the asphalt leading back to the finish line.  I drop it down a gear and kick home for a strong finish.  Along the last 800 meters a I pass my pals and the finish line comes into site.  It is a ghost town, unadulterated, untouched and no one is in the chute.  Elated, girlfriend screaming, I cross the finish line and dry heave for a few seconds, head between my knees, Kali congratulating me on my first place finish.  The race director comes by and gives me my medal.  I smile and take Kali aside.  "I think we cut the course" I say der my breath not knowing if I am a low life cheater or not.  I converse with the bald man who is posistive we ran the right way.  One minute later a man that passed me earlier in the race finishes with a lack luster response.  I think to myself, "Hey wait, how did he pass and I still get 1st place?" Turns out he ran the course the day before and new exactly where he was going.  The chalk line was actually for the horse riders, not the racers, and we accidentally cut the course.  Bald man led us astray.  Luckily only four of us were lemmings and the others figured out the right course.  So that is how I was disqualified for getting first place.

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