Humid and about 66° to start, 170+ runners lined up at Paris Mountain State Park for one the Greenville Track Club's trail races. There is also a 7k and an 11k. This is the only one that gets to the top of the mountain and has a section that most people just walk up - me included of course!
Six of my relay teammates were there, and I ended up running the whole thing with (right behind) Alex. It spread out a bit more this time so that was nice. A heavy rain last night made the beginning part of the single track trails wet in spots, but the upper side was completely dry.
I gave a pretty even effort the whole race, never really exerting myself, but it does amaze me how quickly your heart rate can jump with going up the mountain. Had some aches come and go - left hamstring/groin, right hamstring. Right toe felt ok after an up and down week with it. The parts of the trail I typically run, I went at about the same pace, so that worked out well.
Section one - Road section to spread the field out some, then the gently rolling trails of Mountain Creek before hopping on the beginning of Sulphur Springs. Could run this over and over!
Section two - Up the mountain. Yuck. How do people run up this?!?
Section three - Off Sulphur Springs, to Firetower, onto Kanuga to North Lake. After trekking up Firetower, it's all downhill to the North Lake. Can really open it up here if you want. Fun undulating sections and you can make up some time here after a ridiculously slow pace up the mountain.
Section four - North Lake loop. All runable around the lake. Wish it was a bigger lake to spend more time there with the calm waters.
Section five - Pipsissewa and Brissy to the upper parking lot. Mostly uphill, but only somewhat moderate. Not terribly long though, just something to get thru.
Section six - Back on Sulphur Springs, and after a very short uphill (the last one on this course), you're on the steep downhill section. You better have quick feet and watch every step on this very steep descent.
Section seven - the return - still on Sulphur Springs before running into Mountain Creek and the return back to the finish.
We finished in 1:46 and some change and I must say I am pleased as I wasn't racing this at all. Felt better than I expected I would too given the last week (Traveled for work, ran once in a sauna-like exercise room, had heavy legs for my other 4 miler. Then the lingering toe-thing.). Did I have it in me to do that distance another 2.5 times? I'd like to think so, and next Saturday I better be thinking I can as the Chattooga 50 is a week from tomorrow.
Good seeing the gang - Kathrin, Terry, Alex, Dave, and Chris!