The Trail Run at Eagle Mountain

{EAV:32f3d9eab8b66014} By Travis “Blydawg” Blythe

Eagle Mountain is one of my favorite places to train. So When I learned of The Trail Run at Eagle Mountain put on by Streams and Valleys, I was more than excited to get a chance to run on my turf! How exciting to run the trails I know like the back of my hand, knowing where the hills are, the flat spots, when to catch my breath and when to push harder.  I could not have been more pumped.

The only problem, is that since December of 2011, I have not trained. Whether it was due to the foot I injured during the Super Spartan Race, the bronchitis I can’t seem to get over all winter long, the time change, or the cold weather I simply can’t get off the couch and out on the road. I know excuses are what you make of them, but for some reason I have not had the passion for getting my run on. I think it is mostly due to this stupid time change, I am not a morning runner and when it is dark out, apparently I am not an evening runner either.  Well, I guess I kind of got off the couch, I have actually been out running 4 times before the race, unfortunately, I only put a few miles per run. But I got in a solid 4-miles the week of the run, I know right..weak. That makes a whopping 11.15 miles all year.

So here we are the day of the race, February 12, 2012 I have run a total of 11 miles year to date and it is a whopping 27 degrees outside.  All I can say is that I am praying that my knowledge of the course and my raw athletic ability are going to carry me! Besides, I was hoping that with my ability to listen to my tunes, I would also be better off.

What a run, I now regret not getting off my lazy butt and being more in shape for this. We ended up running the 5 mile loop, which I have done more times that I can count. You know they say you run faster in the cold, well I can say that I don’t. This was definitely a brisk morning and I started running at a faster pace than I normally do (damn race mentality). Early on, my thighs are burning, and my breathing technique sucks. My nose is running making it almost impossible to recover on the flat sections by breathing through my nose.  The cold air now is fulling my lungs and they are burning too.  What have I gotten myself into is all I keep thinking. Now I am cursing my music, which is telling me to push on and don’t give up, I am just under the 2-mile mark and I am being passed left and right. Finally I get a running buddy, one of the many passing me decides my pace isn’t that bad, well actually I decided to push a little and just keep up.  We run together for about a mile, then I get a slight lead going up the killer hill (which is twice on this course) and once at the top, I am spent, legs are jelly, breathing  harder than ever, my buddy leaves me.  Then two more pass…good grief, I feel like I am running in mud.  This was definitely a bad idea I keep telling myself, then around the 3-mile mark I get a 2nd wind.  While running downhill I catch the three ladies ahead of me and we play pass the leader a couple of times then they all just run away again.  I am pretty much running alone, trying to put mind over matter at this point.  I keep telling myself I know this course, I know when to make my move, you got this.  We get to the killer hill again…wait there are people here, we are actually catching some of the leaders, other people have given up and are walking! SCORE!

I get three on the hill, I catch the ladies again and another guy who stopped to walk up the hill, at the top. Unfortunately, once I get to the top, my legs said “thanks for playing” to me and again I was in mud, I felt like Scooby Doo, legs spinning and going now where. In my mind I look like one of those joggers I see from time to time to barely appear to be running, like a fast walk. Everyone runs away and again I am all alone, I see my old running buddy ahead, just passed the 4-mile mark, I can catch her! I think it is warming up some, I can breath through my nose, hot dog! Watch out I am coming! We pass two more people, oh yeah it is on! Eminem blaring in my headphones I’m losing myself in the moment!), I got this, the last mile is easy. I wish the rest of my body was as optimistic as my mind. Needless to say, my buddy ran away from me and went out of sight after the final hill. I look over my shoulder and there is nobody there, about 1/4 mile remaining. Home Free

Ahh there is a photographer in the middle of the trail, cool, okay first I will give my “I’m a serious runner” look, (quick make sure thumbs are down no “Fonzie” pose as they say) now time for the “hey I am having fun” and my signature point at the camera pose. Why is he still taking pictures as I run by, a brief look over my shoulder…oh hello runner breathing down my neck. Seriously? I am dying here, just three turns left and now someone is running hard to pass me…oh no you don’t.  It maybe too soon, but I am running hard to the finish.  So I am thinking, she is kinda short (yes the 8th female to pass me, man they were strong runners today) time to utilize these long ass strides of mine and finish this.

I bet you are wondering what happened? Well, I finished strong, I didn’t get passed! Whoo-hoo take that! I finished with a time of 44:10. My GPS says I went 4.90 miles, so I guess we were just a tad short of 5-miles. I thought I did okay until I got home and looked at some of my times from last fall when I was training. I was 7-minutes slower than last year…yes it is time to get off the couch and get serious about my racing this year.

I loved this run, this was the 2nd annual run here at Eagle Mountain, and I can not wait until next year.  Having Boy Scout troop 720 cooking pancakes and sausage in the coral section with fire pits (thank God) was totally awesome.  Not to mention the vendors that were there Backwoods, SmartWool, and Montrail Shoes. Although the painted rock idea was cool for the awards, it would have been cooler if they acknowledged the event and not just random paintings, next year I am getting a rock! I am looking forward to this run next year, where hopefully I do plan on being KING of my backyard turf.

Update:

I ended up finishing 18th of 50 in the men’s overall with a time of 44:10. There were also 12 females who beat my time, putting me 30th out of 104 total participants.

Fun fact:

Including myself, the average age of the top 18 participants was 41.6. The oldest being 54 (2 of them) and the youngest being 25.

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