A couple weeks ago, I made a last minute decision to run the Croom Fools Run 16-miler. Though I’ve been running, I haven’t been doing what I need to for my other upcoming races so I figured a race would force me to get it at least one decent long run. And besides, I love running at Croom and I’ve only got a few months left on those trails.
One of the things I love most about trail races is the relaxed simplicity of them. About a month ago I ran the Skyway Bridge 10k, a rare for me road race, and the logistics and stress of packet pickup, getting there super early, a parking nightmare and the crowds of people reaffirmed that big road races are not my thing. Don’t get me wrong, it was a cool, unique experience but one I definitely would not do again. How awesome is it to be able to message a race director the night before his race and ask if he has room for me.
I rolled into Croom about half an hour before race start. Chatted with the RD for a few. Got registered. Got my gear together. And then … promptly locked my keys in my car. I had locked the car, put my keys in my backpack, made mental note of it, grabbed my hydration pack and closed the trunk to venture into the woods for a quick pre-race pee when it hit me that my backpack was still in my car. But as I said … no stress. I had mostly everything I needed and there was nothing I could do at that moment so off I trotted to meet my friend Sandy at the starting line.
There’s not a whole lot to report about the race. Temps were gorgeous. Skies were cloudy which helped keep things cool. Sandy and I just chit-chatted for an easy 16 mile Saturday morning run. One of my favorite things at Croom is the pinecone peace sign. Over the years it’s been built and re-built after storms and burns. I’ve never once run past it without scouring the woods for a pinecone to add to it. This time was no different.
I ended up finishing the race in 3:03:29. Not fast by any means but I’m just not there again yet. And I felt surprisingly good given my longest run recently was 10 miles so I can’t complain. With my camping chair, fresh clothes and post-race recovery drink (aka beer) locked safely away in my car, I called AAA, bummed a beer, spare t-shirt and hat off Sandy, and enjoyed the post-race fun.