Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rockledge Rumble Race Report

Today the North Texas Trail Runners put on one of their flagship races of the year, the 16th annual Rockledge Rumble.  This race and NTTR are well intertwined in their respective histories.  As is the tradition, the Rumble is run around Veterans Day, with a theme of honoring America's veterans.

So starting with the most important part of the day, Tom Crull, race director, led us in the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, then introduced veterans who had come out for the race.  Today we were honored to be joined by veterans who served during WW2, one guy who returned from Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago, and many in between.  I can't help but be moved thinking about the sacrifices they and their families made serving our country, and thinking about the many men and women who don't come home.  And of course I remember my grandfather's proud service during WW2 and my father's service in the Navy.  Running a trail race seems so insignificant in light of their service, but the freedom to enjoy such hobbies and other pleasures of life is one reason they fight.  Thanks to all our veterans!
Granddaddy and Dad with the Mastin boys at Granddaddy's 95th birthday party.
I probably should have a picture of them in uniform, but I don't think I do.
I started out hoping to finish in under 6 hours.  I thought it was doable.  Two weeks ago I ran a little over 20 miles in 4 hours on the same course, so I figured if I could improve on that pace just a bit, I could do it.  I was on pace for a while, finishing 20 miles in about 3 minutes under 4 hours, and keeping that pace for another couple of miles to the 22 mile turnaround.  But after that aid station stop, starting out on the final loop, I knew I didn't have a 6 hour finish in me.  The first 22 miles, I averaged well under 12 minutes per mile.  The last 10 miles, I think I averaged over 15 minutes per mile.  Not so great.  So my finish was nearly 7 hours: 6:50:56 (39/76 overall, 13/15 40-49M).

Of course, trail running is not all about the times.  (At least for me; I know I'll never be a front runner, unlike Matt, who won the whole enchilada for the second consecutive year!  Way to go Matt!)  Trail running, for me, is about running in a beautiful setting and pushing my body harder than I normally do.
Lake Grapevine's north shore has awesome single track.  The shade was welcome today.
It's also about the people.  I got to run with Dave, who I run into frequently at these races and whose always interesting blog I read.  I ran into Andy from Abilene, whom I met at Run from the Ducks last year.  Mike was there, not running after having run at Cactus Rose 2 weeks ago, but his greeting at the finish was most welcome.  T. O. finished a few minutes behind me (he passed me late, then took a wrong turn), but while I will hardly be able to walk tomorrow, he'll probably be running the Fort Worth Marathon.  I finally met Dave from face to face.  There were lots of familiar faces and friends.  The trail running community is a lot of fun to be around and at every race or club run I meet new folks and catch up with others.  All in all, a well-spent day!
Char and Fred, President and First Gentleman of NTTR.

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