|2008 Gristmill Grinder Race Report|
What a great race! We really lucked out on the weather didn’t we? The rain/hail & wind a couple of hours later just gave me another reason to chuckle...I really enjoyed the event and all of you coming to run and walk. There are great images and an article on www.iplayoutside.com plus...we will have a seperate series of images here on this site in a few days so check back with us. Until then -
Here is an article submitted by a racer…. And I think it speaks volumes about why we trail run…. Enjoy!
I have to admit, I didn’t understand. I’m a road runner after all, and my experience has been limited. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I began looking for a race to follow up my spring marathon. I went to iplayoutside.com and did a search for WV running events. I found the Gristmill Grinder.
I had been to Babcock before. I’ve walked some of the trails, and even did some bike riding in the area. I thought, yeah, Babcock, great cabins, and a half marathon; no worries. I sent a check for the entry fee, and booked a cabin at Babcock that day. I checked in on Friday evening, walking in behind another runner who was also staying at Babcock. We struck up a conversation, runners are like that, and he told me a little bit about the race. The last thing he said was, “The last 2 miles are uphill.” I didn’t think much of it at the time.
Race day was beautiful. The showers the forecasters had threatened were not present, the temperature was mild; a perfect day to run. I checked in early, received my packet and found a quiet spot to observe the other runners. The atmosphere was rather calm for a pre race. I didn’t notice any of the pre race jitter phenomenon I see at road races. Everyone seemed mildly excited, but relatively calm. There were a few people stretching, a few talking about previous runs, but no-one seemed anxious. It was odd for a road runner to see so many laid back runners getting ready to race.
It was almost as if there was a reluctance to treat this as a race. Even as Donnie called for everyone to move to the start line. I found myself standing in the front of the crowd, a spot I was not comfortable with. In my past experiences with road races, I would likely be knocked out of the way as faster runners tried to get a good start. I’m not fast, and I didn’t want to be in anyone’s way. I moved over to the right, and waited for the start.
Donnie said, “Go!” and we took off. The beginning of the race was on the road, and it was familiar, I got into my half marathon pace and felt comfortable. I was probably running about a 7:15 mile to begin, but that only lasted until we left the road. I learned very quickly that trial running was not like road running at all. I discovered I had to change my running style, as a bonus I also changed my running attitude.
Trail running is more like playing in the woods. I didn’t get caught up in the scenery, I was too busy making sure I didn’t fall down – though I must admit I did, twice.
I ran in spurts and in jumps and in leaps and in bounds. I ran like a kid running around the neighborhood, or the woods behind his house. I ran with abandon. I smiled and laughed and yawped! I forgot all about times, and age groups and paces. It was the most fun I’ve had running in a long time.
So, I don’t know if I really understand it now, but somehow, somewhere along the way, I stopped being the guy that ran to stay in shape, and became the guy running because it is just plain fun. Who’d have thunk it? Thanks for a great race Donnie, and even more for the attitude adjustment!
Peace and Bewilderment,
For more information about the West Virginia Mountain Trail Runners organization and series got to www.wvmtr.org.
2008 Race Results