Despite the rain, there were lots of die-hard Gold Country Grand Prix runners at the start. I decided to run the 10K, knowing that this would probably hurt my chances of getting a higher Age Group place (currently in fourth place, 3 points behind third) in the Grand Prix with just two races to go. Bottom line: I did not really intend to go for points in the GP this year, so why start now? It was better to run the maximum distance and enjoy the trails.
I knew Chris was running the 10K and Larry Defeyter was running the 5K, so an overall win was unlikely. Fortunately, the race flyer promised awards for the top three overall so I was pretty sure I would be able to go home with some hardware. Or would I...
Chris and I went for a two-mile warmup, which gave us a frightening sneak peek of the course's first major downhill. Some parts were like a sheer cliff, made of mud. You had to grab trees to slow down or risk an epic wipe-out.
So, when the race started, I took the lead so I would be one of the first to go down the steep section of the slick trail (at least on the first of the two 5K loops). Once we arrived on a flatter part of the trail, Chris, Larry, and Zach passed me and I maintained 4th place for the rest of the otherwise uneventful run. I felt good most of the way and pushed it to the finish line to break 48 minutes, arriving in 47:54.
As usual, Chris won the 10K, despite having a back-ache (Check out his blog post with the race pictures here). the up-and-coming national class runner, Zach Stoll, who ran an incredibly good race took second (did I mention he is only 13?), and I came in third overall. Larry won the 5K easily. A quick dip in the nearby lake helped get all the mud of our clothes.
Many thanks to the awesome volunteers that braved the storm to show us where to go. As for the awards, I received my age group ribbon, but I was surprised to find out that they were only giving awards to first overall male and female for each distance (not the top-3, as promised)!
When I raised the fact that the flyer, which I had unfortunately handed in when I registered, had said top-3, I was told that I was wrong and had misread it. Well, I went home and looked it up again and here is the exact text:
Shirts/awards:Note the serial comma after "overall." So, you tell me. who is right...
Awards for top 3 overall, age groups, and additional prizes. Event shirts included if pre-registration received by 10/7/08; other registrants will receive shirts while supplies last.
Now, I don't do this for the hardware, but it's a matter of principal; you have to live up to your promises. I e-mailed the RD, so I hope this will be resolved somehow (Now a week later, I still have not heard back yet, but I'll post a comment if I do).
Next up: I am skipping UltraCentric 24Hr in Texas this year. If you add up all the travel costs, it's just too much money for yet another weekend away.