Looking east out of our 8th floor window...
George and I just spent a very fun and diverse weekend in
Greensboro, NC celebrating Valentine’s Day. We choose Greensboro based on my
positive experiences last year running a trail half marathon on Saturday and a low key road marathon
on Sunday. The trail run
also offered an 8k and the park where the marathon
took place provided mountain bike trails.
We found a great Valentine’s Day deal at the Downtown Marriott
for Saturday night-inclusive of dinner for 2 and a bottle of
champagne. The hotel also featured an indoor pool and hot tub.
George decided to run the 8k on Saturday and bring his
mountain bike stuff for Sunday.
Friday evening, coming home from work, I found UPS had
delivered on of Montrail’s new models for 2010: The Sabino Trail.
I tried on
the shoe-it seemed to fit well, so I decided to test in out during Saturday’s
13.1 mile run.
George and I left home at 5:30am. Usually the drive to east
Greensboro would be just shy of 2.5 hours, yet the snowfall from Friday night
left roads slick and traffic slow. We arrived at Northeast Park
George’s 8k was to start at 9am and the ½ marathon (shorted to 16k due to high
waters of the creek crossings), at 9:30.
Only a handful of us wore shorts-George and I included. I
marveled at how dressed some folks were! I expected as the morning unfolded,
we’d get much warmer-and we did!
The run started out on approx 4/10 mile road to spread out
the field before descending to snow covered trails. During the course of the
morning, some parts stayed snow packed, other parts gave way to slushy mud or
great trenches of mud. I didn’t want to fall. Not scared of getting dirty-yet
my hands were toasty warm in my new Saucony Ulti mitts
with hand warmers
tucked inside-and I didn’t want to ruin my rare hand warmth by getting wet in a
mud slicket. The race was great fun-because of the weather, I expect, the
turnout was much smaller than last year…Still it was fun to bounce over logs
and roots and scamper and slide up mud slopes…I was thrilled with the way my
new shoes performed. All over the mud I saw evidence of shoe print wipe outs
and was thankful to have shoes with great traction on this snow/slush/mud/root
combo! As the hundreds of feet tromped the mud and snow-the more technical it
The 16k was the 8k course 2x. I finished loop 1 in 42:07 and
loop 2 in 1:24:22ish. George said he took about 6 minutes longer than my 1st
loop for his 8k. He reported having a blast also-and wound up 2nd in
his age group. Jason Bryant was 1st guy in the 16k and I took the
I am pointing to George's prize of a Ground Hog warm hat in his pocket!
Sensible risk taking-wearing these Sabino Trails straight out of the box worked great! (After I have worn them on more varied surfaces and for a longer period of time, I 'll be more informed and will share more)
After cleaning up the best we could after the run (I used
melting, dripping snow off the picnic shelter's roof to help clean my shoes
and legs), we headed to our accommodations for a very early check in.
Our room at the Marriott was small, yet clean and regal.
After showers we headed to the pool and hot tub and passed an hour there before sorting out plans for the afternoon: we’d see a movie!
This might not sound like an uncommon event-yet for George
and I –I think the last movie was saw in a theatre was Lord of the Rings…it is
an every 3 or 4 year event for us. We watched AVATAR in 3D
. Arriving 20 minutes late, we were pleased to take our seats just as the last of the ads and previews were finishing up.This movie was at times a very fun movie-if not totally
predictable-yet entertaining, with a sensitive message and more than a touch of
sad reality… and the film fed my imagination. The way the blue people jump and
frolic in their woods/jungle is the way I feel often when I am single track
running in the mountains. Joyous!
Goofing in with our 3D glasses
Later, back at the hotel, we enjoyed our champagne and fish
dishes we chose from the Valentine’s menu. After watching some Olympics and agreeing the day was great we had a great rest in the comfy King bed.
Next day, was clear and sunny.
Sunrise out of our room window...
Not quite warm at 23 degrees
at 10am, marathon start time at Country Park
. The wind made it seem much cooler. I was pleased
to see the race grow from last year. Lots and lots of teams-and perhaps 10 solo
runners. The course is rolling-16 laps along a 1.6 mile loop-with the 1st
lap being longer to make a genuine 26.2 mile course. For the solo runners, it
is a Boston Qualifier. I cared none about that and was looking forward to doing
a long training run out of the snow and with others around me. I wanted to work
on my pacing and try to stay steady. While I ran, George rode his bike and
after a few hours, appeared again, very muddy!
My experience out there was fine…I started out faster than I
should have-I was chilled and rushed the warming up…also, I figured because I
had so many calories the night before, I didn’t need as much breakfast as usual
and I sort of calorie bonked on lap #7. I took in calories and fluid during the
next 2 laps and got my positive attitude and energy back by loop #10. At this
point, although I was enjoying myself, the day felt like work-I was putting in
quality time on feet, working on running strong and smart and Not racing. I was
sore from the day before and likely feeling the subtle effects of dinner and
wine and champagne…yet this is what “putting the hay in the barn” is all about.
Finally going into lap # 16, my last lap, I was ready to run as strong as I
could. I knew I’d just passed one of the few solo runners ahead of me-and
thought there was just one more left-yet I had no idea where he was. After a
few minutes I saw him walking up one of the tiny hills.
I knew he and
his buddy had trained for the flat Myrtle Beach Marathon which was canceled
due to snowy road conditions the day before-so they (and other runners too)
drove up to use their training in this one to try for Boston. I had an instinct
as I passed him on the downhill to ask him to run with me-yet if the hills were
his nemesis, then I didn’t want to bother him about it either. As it was he
finished only 54 seconds behind me. This course was a little long-race results
reported the actual distance being 26.5 miles. A tiny ultra marathon!
My finishing time was 3:19:37, (1st
overall-cool-yet remember, a tiny field!) Slowest lap was at 15ish miles when I
refueled (7:51 pace) and fastest-the last one w/ a 7:02 pace.
After walking around for a little while we headed out for
pizza. I had a gift certificate to Pie Works
and we easily found this “upscale”
pizza/pasta place. We ordered a whole wheat crust pie with roasted garlic and
green peppers. We drank bottles of beer as we waited for the garlic to roast
and for what turned out to be a unique and yummy version of pizza.
We both concluded the weekend was a success. We both had
tons of fun and were together! As a bonus, I got in some excellent training and
we got away from the High Country snowy winter weather for a couple of days!