Sunday, July 6, 2014

Smith's Knob Scramble 2014

I had the pleasure of being able to run Smith's Knob Scramble last month.  This is a race put on by a local Boy Scout Troop and supported by the Mid Penn Trailblazers.  It was my second running of this race and I enjoyed it just as much this year as I did last year, probably more since I now know a lot of the local trail runners!  It was held Saturday, June 14th at Camp Conley, Mountoursville, PA.  Its an eight mile trail race that follows the Loyalsock trail up and over the steep Smith's Knob.  This year it had 64 runners and raised over $800 for the scouts.  Interestingly, the race started as one of the scouts Eagle Scout Project.  The boys erected this really cool finish line for us this year!

See how it says "FINISH"?
So there was lots of chatting and merriment at the beginning.  We got to see and talk to lots of good running pals, and meet a couple new folks too!  At the start was the most ridiculous mud puddle you've ever seen.  Aaron decided to traipse right through it, I waited to go around it.

The puddle took up the entire road!
So we were off!  I passed this lady carrying hiking poles and remember thinking, what a pain that would be to have to hold those for the next eight miles.  Well, at the first climb of the race, you should have seen her put those babies to work.  She zipped right up the side of that ridge like it was nothing, passing everybody in front of her.  I'm rethinking my position on hiking poles.  

The rest of the race passed by nicely.  It was wonderfully cool and the sky was overcast.  I made it to the top of Smith's Knob and was greeted by John Johnson, race director of Chief Wetonah Challenge, taking photos of all the runners.  He made some encouraging remarks and it was time to carry on.  As I was going down the steep, rocky, and very tricky descent I started to hear people talking behind me.  It drives me nuts.  I work so stinking hard passing people on hills and straightaways only to lose that ground on the downhill.  So I picked it up, but only a little.  I managed to distance myself from the talkers and made it to the aid station on the fire road.  I took some water and left.  Then I heard footsteps gaining on me.  Dang it!!!  They got closer and closer.  As I got to the end of the fire road where I needed to duck back into the woods I realized that it was Aaron behind me!  So we chatted a bit about the race so far and started to gain on a couple guys in front of us.  We passed one fellow together, then started to climb yet another hill.  

Its hard to appreciate the elevation, but here's a course map anyway

I fixed my eyes on the gray shirt of a runner in front of me and distanced myself from Aaron.  It took some time, but I caught up to gray shirt, chatted with him briefly, and then passed him.  It wasn't too long after then that I made it to the finish.  Gray shirt came in next followed not too far behind by Aaron.

A race photo where it actually looks like I am running!
I was 23rd of 64 runners, third overall female with a time of 1:22:15 (10:16 pace), and first in my AG (F 30-39).  Aaron finished only 26 seconds after me.  Then we ate some delicious post-race food, listened to awards, and I even got a plaque!  I was careful not to get it wet after ruining my first one last year.  No worries though, Denny the RD replaced it for me.

Can't wait 'til next year!

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