LINKSRace Website UltraSignup Results
This morning, I had a great opportunity to ease into my 2014 race schedule with a shorter trail race at Delaware State Park, the Seamus (SHAY-mus) O’Possum 30k (18.6 miles). I found the inaugural event on UltraSignup, which is pretty much the most expensive website I can spend time on. (I am going to get on that trail, even if it is 7 states away!) I want to run all these races. Anyway, the hilarious FAQ page alone was enough to get me to sign up for the race.
With an 8:30 am start time and an hour and a quarter drive from home, it was no surprise that I was still waiting in the bathroom line 9 minutes before the scheduled start. I checked in at the start line just before 7:45, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of urgency on the staff’s part. Didn’t they know I really needed to get to the restroom before the race started? Unfortunately, there was a single stall in the only men’s restroom near the start line. This race wasn’t starting things off on the right foot, for me. After listening to the last like 35 seconds of race instructions (I missed all of the important stuff while at my car getting stripped down to race clothes), the race director told us to turn around and start. No gun. No “ready.” No “set.” Very informal. And people were everywhere. I wasn’t sure this was all real until half way up the road to the top of the dam wall.
After running up the hill to the top of the dam, I wasn’t real impressed. There were like what, 100 people in this race? And I was in the top 5 already? It wasn’t looking real promising for having people to run with for the rest of the race. The first mile, I was really questioning why I had actually paid money for this. Not for port-a-potty rentals, that was clear. Three of us broke away from the pack during that first mile atop the dam wall. Clearly, none of us were in overlapping age groups. One kid looked like he was training for high school track and the other guy was clearly at least 10 years older than me.
The second mile finally had us dropping off the dam wall and in to some real trails. See the course map for elevation and details. And the trails quickly got narrow, winding and muddy. Now this race was looking promising.
There were streams in the woods with steep muddy sides and a long muddy section along the beach. Then a path through the disc golf course and up and down more creek beds near the reservoir. Eventually, there were only two of us, trading the lead at several points when one of us hesitated to find the next course marker (it was very well marked, but the rising sun made it difficult to see the markers heading east) or stopped at an aid station.
I had the lead (by ~2 feet) at the 9.3 mile turn-around, but Jay (I learned his name after the race) dropped the hammer and pulled away along the next mile and after 4 miles, was completely out of sight. The out-and-back nature of the course meant the trail was extremely torn up and slippery on the way back after all ~100 competitors had run through once. Some of the hills were extremely tricky to navigate up, but I knew I had a comfortable lead and barring disaster ahead of me, I wasn’t on pace to catch 1st place even if he slowed his pace dramatically over the last few miles.
I ran the majority of the way back without anyone accompanying me, but with a lot of friendly racers going the opposite direction and offering encouragement. I raced against the clock on the way back and was a little surprised when I finished just under 7:00/mile pace. Under the conditions, I felt really good about that.
I got a sweet finishers glass and hat and an awesome trophy for second place.
That is right, the trophy has a karate man on top. It kind of stands out among my trophies. Fun day, great weather, awesome race!