The day was partly cloudy with temperatures in the low 50s but climbing, pretty good running weather. I arrived with plenty of time to get my race number (and technical shirt!), walk over the start/finish areas to help warm up, and stretch. While I was no expert on the course, I had walked and run portions of it on two occasions earlier in the year. I knew it could be waterlogged when wet and offered plenty of rugged terrain.
As this was my first race since last fall, and a longish run for me in any event, I started conservatively. The early going was congested and there were several forced stops for walking due to congestion of the single track trail. On the plus side, this kept someone like me from starting too fast, and I knew there were miles and hills yet to come.
And before long those constant ups and downs took their toll. The course would wind past some cool boulder caves (28:03) I had explored with my wife and kids earlier in the spring. I was working too hard, and watching the tricky footing, to notice too much of that on this day.
To avoid overtaxing my poor Achilles, I ran the hills very slowly (if "gentle"), or walked (if steep). This meant I would fall behind other runners for a time, but I found myself catching up steadily on the flats and downhills. The flags kept me on course throughout.
The scramble up to the Lost Lake aid station (about 54:30) left me gasping and I was grateful for some liquids. I staggered on, at times feeling I had nothing left, but found that a brief walk or pace reduction left me ready to press on. Despite the fatigue I was able to speed up my leg turnover on the flatter portions. Eventually the sound of bagpipes came floating through the the trees. The finish beckoned! I accelerated along the soccer field and into the finish (1:25:20). Pretty slow for a "10k" but this was not just any 10k. Once I could breathe again, I found some water and was glad to find PB&J, bananas, and mini chocolate bars available.
Any why 10kish? Rumor has it the course may not be exactly 10K. For more information I can only refer you to the Bimbler's Sound website, but I will say that was the longest and toughest 10K I've ever done. And I would return again next year for more.
I have to add that from beginning to end the volunteers were friendly and helpful, and their task was no easy one given the needs for marking the course and getting drinks to the fairly remote aid station. Great job, Mr. Bimble & co.!
Gear report: Brooks Cascadias felt fine throughout, and are clearly a step up from road shoes for the trails. I wore a hat and sunglasses to minimize glare, although it was not the brightest day. Wicking t-shirt was a good call.