WHISPERING PINES 12-HOUR RUN
APRIL 11, 2015
INVERNESS, FL

 

      OK…The roadster took to the trails.  What was I thinking?  Don’t get me wrong, I like running on trails.  But, that is running on trails, not “racing” on trails.  I’m just not too good on trails.  I FALL DOWN ON TRAILS…A LOT!

      Trail running is fun and will make the runner stronger.  That’s just from the characteristics of the trail.  I guess I will be a little stronger from running the Whispering Pines 12-Hour Run.  Time will tell.  I do know that I am a little more banged up from the race.  That’s from falling down three times on this “not very technical” trail. 

      I drove to Inverness, Florida on Friday and rested and was prepared for the run on Saturday morning.  Saturday was a good looking day for the 8:00 a.m. start.  It was one of the most relaxed starts I have experienced.  Terri Hayes, the race director, just said to go over and get ready for the start.  I turned around, and the race had started.   So, off I went.

      Terri had given good instructions at the pre-race meeting.  She pointed out all the spots on the course that could be confusing.  If one listened to her instructions and followed same, there would be no confusion on the course.  The problem was that some of the runners did not listen.  The course was marked effectively and was well done.

      Having said that, I took a wrong turn on my last 4.8 mile loop.  But, it was my fault and not the fault of the race management.  I actually finished the 12-hour time frame while on the last loop, but we would get credit for the loop if we had started it before the 12-hour time.

      I finished my ninth loop and was wondering if I should go out on the tenth loop.  I decided to go out and was asked by Scott Maxwell, fellow runner and race director of the Cross Florida Route 40 Romp, if I wanted to use his light.  In my brilliance, I told him I would not need it because I should be finished before it got really dark.  Then, off I went.  Scott was probably watching me go and thinking, “What a dumb-ass.”   And, he would be right.

      I missed the turn because it was too dark to see the arrow pointing out the trail.  I had only made that turn nine previous times.  But, NOT this time.  I found myself on a trail on which I was not supposed to be running.  I made my way back and found my missed turn and completed my final loop.

      Outside of the missed turn and the three falls, I had no other problems except for a slight discomfort in my right foot.  I changed out of the Nike Kyotees after three loops and into the Hoka Cliftons.  The problem disappeared instantly.  Way to go, Hoka!  

      There was also a 6-hour run that started later than our run.  That added more people on the trails but presented no problems.  There were some runners who were confused with the turns.  Maybe, they didn’t listen to the race director’s pre-race instructions.  

      There were several times when I met runners coming toward me on the trail…and I was going the right way.  Some did not know where they were going, and some, like Yogi Pugh just ran anywhere she wished.  But, she did keep running.  I met her a few times running the opposite way and saw her crossing the trails running bassackwards.  The thing is…Yogi knew where she was going.  It just didn’t fit in with everyone else.  I had met Yogi in last summer’s Last Annual Vol-State Road Race while we were together trekking toward I-40 in West Tennessee. 

      Unless, you were in the front, it was very hard to know your place during the race. Fortunately, I was not very concerned with my place in his event.  I just wanted to run the trails for their benefits, see if I could run continuously, and run with efficient technique.

      The trail benefits will show up later and, hopefully, will help me in the Peach State 300 in May.  I did run fairly continuously relative to the trails and the aid stations. The darkness had me walking a bit to prevent me from tripping on unseen roots.  My technique was relatively good except when destroyed by the three falls.  But, I recovered from those in order to regain my efficiency.

      I had a 12-hour distance of 46.12 miles but was credited with 48 miles for finishing the 10th loop since I had started it before the cut-off time.  I placed 6th overall.  When finished, I was tired, and I was hungry.  Most importantly, I had survived the trails.

     Not too bad for an old roadster.

(Richard Westbrook)

 

  

 

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