Saturday, March 11, 2006

Land Between the Lakes Half Marathon - Grand Rivers, KY

I flew in to Nashville (the closest airport) with my daughter Elizabeth on Friday afternoon. We drove the hour and a half to Grand Rivers, stopping for a much missed Cracker Barrel meal: a grilled catfish dinner followed by ham, bacon, sausage, eggs, grits, biscuits, gravy, fried apples, and hashbrowns for breakfast. There are no West Coast Cracker Barrel's so this was quite a treat for us.

Steve Durbin welcome us warmly at packet pickup at Miss Scarlett's restaurant, and we repaired for the evening to the Days Inn next door, watching Crackel Barrel-acquired DVDs of Speed Racer episodes for motivation. The themesong ran through my head the next day:

"he's gaining on ya so ya better look alive!
he's busy revving up the powerful Mach Five!
and when the odds are against you and there's dangerous work to do,
you bet your life Speed Racer's gonna see it through!"

I got up at five the next morning, and drove down the mile or so to the race start. It was surprisingly warm outside and a clear sky seemed to initially belie the stormy forecast of the night before.

But, just as the crowd gathered for the start of the races, gray stormclouds lowered. The second that the horn went off, lightning struck, a thunderclap pealed and the clouds dropped rain like buckets. We're off! We went for a mile on the asphalt road and then turned off onto the trail, by which time the rain had thankfully let up. I ran alongside Dale Reicheneder onto the trail. At the aid station before it turned into single track I stopped for a drink and he pulled ahead.

The trail was beautiful single track bordering the lake. The terrain was gently
rolling with some moderate portions but nothing really steep. I felt great for
most of the race, up to mile ten where pain in my right knee kicked in again. I had some Advil with me and choked some down. I managed to keep running at a stiff legged pace. I could see Dale not too far ahead, but I just didn't have it in me to surge back up to him with my knee the way it was.

Coming out of the woods at mile 13 or so (the race is actually 14.3 miles) I heard footsteps behind me. I was in no mood for a kickfest, so I asked his age. He was 49. Bummer, I was pretty sure there were a couple of other masters runners ahead of him "But we're not doing agegroups" at this race. Not realizing that the Trail Runner Trophy Series did track agegroups if the race didn't, I let him move ahead as I gritted my teeth against my knee pain. I finished just under 2 hours, two behind
Dale, and, unfortunately, just seconds behind the third masters runner. No bonus points in this race. That will have to wait for next week.

It started to rain again. So Elizabeth and I headed off up the Western Kentucky Parkway to Louisville. It was a vaste wasteland, primarily due to not being an Interstate - hence no Cracker Barrels. Once we hit Elizabethtown, we picked up I80 to Louisville and spotted the hallowed Cracker Barrel, completing our trip to the Heartland in style.


Post a Comment

<< Home