What a difference a month can make. A month ago I was injured and contemplating not being able to run the Black Warrior 50K. I did have to change to the 25K and at the time thought I could at least walk part of that. However on Saturday the 19th of February I not only finished the Black Warrior 25K, but I exceeded my expectations. I had written the 5,10, and 13 mile split times for a 3 hour and a 2 hour 30 minute finish.
Race day brought perfect conditions. The temperature started out in the 40s and then topped out in the 60s. It might even have been a little too warm. The course was dry by Bankhead standards. Even with no rain there were still plenty of muddy patches. The horses seem to churn up the ground and make it boggy in some of the wet spots. There were some wet springs in some spots.
It was a little chilly at the start, but I knew I would warm-up pretty fast. The race starts at the bottom of a hill. You start out running up hill for over 2 miles on a gravel road.. You run this same stretch at the end of the race. I have heard it described as up hill both ways. The last part is kind of a downhill grade which makes it and uphill grade on the way back. After the lead in road there is a 10 mile loop of trails that can be described rolling hills.
I entered the trail portion in pretty good shape and was running the downhills pretty well. I got to my Gu-gel a little early maybe mile 4.5 or 5. The aid station was around mile 6 and I grabbed some water. I met up with Matt Hames at mile 8, He was waiting for his relay partner so he could continue on the 50K relay. His team with Dave Truit and Trent Dean finished second in the 50K relay. Kudos to the Decatur Tri Club relay team.
I slowed down a good bit on miles 10, 11, and 12. miles. Around mile 9 I passed some horses on the trail and I had to leave the trail to get around the horses backside. He had started to kick a little. Two other runners had gotten by just before me. Back on the the trail I tried to maintain and concentrate on a good cadence. I would glance at the Garmin to see how bad the pace had dropped off. Around mile 13 I saw some people ahead and as I looked down the trail toward them and fell flat on my face. I was not even on a tricky part of the trail, it was relatively level. I had been told before that you usually fall on the easier parts of the trail because you let your guard down and lose focus. I went down with the onlookers watching, so I had an audience. I was able to pick myself up and resume running. No harm done except minor scratches on my glasses and a knock on the head. The head would bother me later in the day and I thought I might have a little more of a serious knock.
The last aid station was a few hundred yards farther and I was back on the road for the last 2.5 miles.
The Garmin was actually under counting the distance so I was closer to the end then I thought. I managed a pretty good pace down the road. Finished 22nd overall and a time of 2:13:37.
2011 Black Warrior 25K by firstname.lastname@example.org at Garmin Connect - Details
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