Sunday, April 26, 2015

Great Greenbrier River Race 2015

Team Hill and Holler took 1st place for coed teams!

I didn't get to do this race last year because it fell on the same weekend as the Blue Ridge 1/2 Marathon.  This race is always the last Saturday in April, and Blue Ridge is always the weekend before, except for last year, for whatever reason.  I did this race on the Hill and Holler team in 2012 and 2013 though.  In 2012, Merrick, Jeremiah, and I took first place "male" team.  They had signed up with a different runner, but got me to fill in at the last minute.  In 2013, we got 2nd place coed team.  This year, I let Merrick know that I wanted to run on a team again.  But he didn't want to bike, and we needed a new kayaker.  So I found a friend who kayaks, and we recruited Stu from Hill and Holler to be our cyclist.  Basically, we put together a team of the fastest people we knew for each part of the race.  We planned on crushing the competition.  And we didn't disappoint ourselves.  

race face
a/k/a "get out of my face with the camera" face

The 5k run of this race is really annoying.  They used to let the solo participants go first, and then the teams 5 minutes later.  It was always a problem, because the faster team runners would catch up to the slower solo runners, on a narrow out-and-back trail, and then the fast runners have to weave in and out of slow people while trying not to block the faster solo runners who are coming back the opposite direction.  This year, they let the male solos go first, then 5 minutes later the female solos, and then all the team runners 5 minutes later.  What. A. Mess.  It might have been worse than when they had two waves.  I jumped into second place team within minutes, and soon after that began encountering the slow solo people.  Many of them were walking in groups, which made them even harder to get around.  The further I got, the more crowded the trail was.  And then the fastest solo runners started coming head-on.  It was quite annoying, as I was running as hard as I could, and did not appreciate having to break my stride so much.  

Since I've started using the HR monitor, I've never seen more than a minute in Z5.  
But somehow I spent 7+ minutes in Z5 in this race.  
So even though it's not my fastest 5k ever...apparently I was working hard!

I ended up finishing the run in 19:46, with only one guy ahead of me.  I had no idea if he was part of a male or coed team, but either way, we were in pretty good standing.  I high-fived Mallory, and she jumped in her kayak and headed down the river.  

Did I mention that it was raining and in the 40s?  What a miserable day. 

Eventually, our team finished and I learned that a few teams had passed Mallory on the river, but that Stu had passed a bunch of teams on the bike.  So we knew we had at least finished top 3.  We were all cold, wet, and miserable, but we wanted to stay for awards in case we won, so we stayed.  The race had started at 11, they finally got to the awards around 2:30.  It seemed like they were saving our category for last.  They went through male solos, female solos, masters, seniors, male teams, female teams, finally they got to us.  We were ecstatic to find out that we had won!  

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