Friday, April 8, 2011

Mountains-to-Sea Trail 12-Mile Challenge : My Prologue

MtS Trail Challenge logoThe Mountains-to-Sea Trail 12-Mile Challenge is scheduled for tomorrow morning. And, as of right now, there are only 15 spots remaining according to the event web page.

Given its location and the relatively robust running community in the Raleigh area, I'm a bit surprised the race hasn't sold out already. But, then, the Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon is taking place tomorrow, too. I mean, how can you compete with that?

I'm writing a little prologue to this race, because the trail at Falls Lake has a special significance to me: It was somewhere on section eight of the trail where I experienced my first bonked run.

This discouraging experience took place one morning last July in the steaming heat of summer. I was planning to run an easy seven or eight miles from the section ten trail head at Hwy 50 to the end of section eight at Hwy 98 and back.

Unfortunately, the awesome Falls Lake trail map that I used for planning didn't account for my lazy math skills. So, when I hastily added the sum of sections ten, nine, and eight; I must have done it incorrectly. I actually covered 12.6 miles instead of eight-ish miles that day.

Couple that unplanned distance with the myriad stops to brush spider webs out of my face, swatting at deer flies, sprinting up one too many hills, and improperly hydrating; and you've pretty much got the perfect recipe for a bonk. It was a humiliating and miserable run.

That was my first and only experience on the Falls Lake Trail — so far.

So, tomorrow, April 9, 2011; I'll be running sections of the Falls Lake trail for a second time. To say that I'm apprehensive about how it will go would be an understatement. I fully expect the rolling terrain to kick my ass. And, I have no delusions about completing the course any faster than my half marathon time from the Roanoke Canal race last month.

Of course, I'm more excited than anxious about the prospect of running this race tomorrow. It's a trail race, after all. And, it's not like the trails at Falls Lake are drastically more challenging than those at Umstead (are they?).

As long as I manage to run the whole race to the best of my abilities, I'll feel that I've conquered that aversion to Falls Lake. Maybe then I won't drive the extra few minutes to Umstead every time I want to run on a trail.

Good luck to everyone else running this race tomorrow! Have fun!

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