Thursday, July 26, 2012

Blue Crab Bolt 10K Race Report--Fast, wet, and slippery

The 10.8 K course, which they seem to change up every other year, is just plain fun.  First in the Blue Crab Bolt series, it takes place on trails in the Clopper Lake area of Seneca Creek State Park in Maryland.  I know these woods well, but normally experience them at the 4 or 5 hour mark of a long weekend trail run.  

For those of us used to covering trails at an ultra-runner's snail pace, flying along these short twisty single-track races at 10k pace is like playing a fast-paced video game.  Rock, root, branch, slippery bridge, TREE.   This soggy, blessedly cool oasis of a July day provided an extra hazard in the rain-slicked bridges, some of which you had to literally stop running and walk on tip toes. (And by you I mean cautious middle-aged guys, worried about twisted knees.)

Start out in a field, strung out in a line reminiscent of those high-school cross-country mass starts of yore.   Funnel quickly onto a road that bends downhill for a good mile or so before swiveling left onto single track through the woods.  All trails to the end of the race.   First, Great Seneca Trail to 2.5; hit some big slippery rocks and do a little almost-falling dance; then Long Draught Trail for a bit; Mink Hollow Trail for several more; then in the last 1.7 miles onto Lake Shore Trail, past the Boat Center, round a corner, then all of a sudden (so it seems) head  up the finishing chute.  

My strategy: semi-blast the downhill to get a good start, cruise through the first several trail miles, pick it up and push home.  For once, it pretty much played out that way for me. That's me in #13, a very satisfactory performance for this unspeedy runner & a great tune-up for the Great Rocks of Cactoctin adventure this Saturday.

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