Three reasons I ran the Darby Creek Bison 10K trail race:
- The Battelle Darby Creek Metropark is one of my favorite places to run.
- The Ohio River Road Runners Club puts on great events.
- Trail running is my favorite running.
I didn’t specifically train for this 10K, I haven’t done any speed work in weeks or longer. I didn’t want to derail my training for the Fall 50 and did a 22 mile run on Wednesday. I was up until midnight last night. My plan was to treat this as a training run, if i finished at an 11 minute mile pace i would be happy.
And then the race director said go.
I assumed my legs would be sore from having already run over 40 miles this week. I was surprised how easily my legs turned as the energy of 75 other runners pushed me forward. I looked down at my watch after the first mile and was at an 8:30 pace.
Time to change plans.
While the first stretch of the race was a paved trail that looped around the parking area, the rest was what great runs are made of: trails of dirt, hills, rocks, and roots.
I have run these trails many times. The trail paralleled Darby Creek and i recognized the climb we were making toward an open meadow. I was less than excited to know we’d be running a mile through prairie grass. A couple of weeks ago i bonked out after bushwhacking through some high grasses. Fortunately it was cut lower than I expected and we returned to the cover of trees without losing pace. My favorite part of the course featured some steep hills, before returning back to the creek.
Coming out of the woods, and to the finish, i was able to sprint hard. Unfortunately, this segment was very short and i could’ve gone longer and harder. As the timing chip was cut from my shoe, i was asked “how old are you?” I replied, 51. A pint beer glass was handed to me with the statement “congratulations, first place in age group.”
First place in age group? I was shocked.
In my 51 years, i have never gotten first place in anything athletic. Not in an individual or team sport. I was the last kid picked as teams divided in elementary school and our little league team went 0-16. I didn’t train or rest for this race. And yet, a run on a beautiful course with great people resulted in an unexpected affirmation.