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Trail Running Course

2008 Rockledge Rumble Race Report

Over the weekend I and 249 other athletes got to enjoy the beautiful scenery and weather along the shores of Grapevine Lake as we participated in the 13th Annual Rockledge Rumble 50k/30k/15k trail run.

It has been a fall full of big races (Superior trails 50 mile run, Palo Duro 50 mile run, now Rockledge Rumble) for me so it feels like I have either been racing or in recovery mode. I jumped into the 50k and had no idea how this race would go since I had put in a total of 5.5 miles of running and two hours of elliptical work at the club since Palo Duro as I tried to heal some nagging tweaks.

The course is an out-and-back (~19 miles) and shorter out-and-back (12.xx miles) to complete the approximate 50k distance. The trail is flat to rolling terrain that contains plenty of roots and loose rock to keep you alert. The weather for the day was perfect; clear skies, temps in low 40s and peaked in 70s F.

Memories from the day:

9.5 mile “out” section

I took this section out at a very easy pace and walked many of the steeper hills. I also got to chat with a few local trail running friends about some of their recent adventures. Aid-station stops were fast and efficient. I have finally started to get a bit more prepared (put HEED in bottle, take bottle top off) as the aid-station approaches so I can quickly fill with water and go. I have wasted way too much time at aid-stations in the past.

Watching the leaders coming back from the turn-around was fun to watch. They were running extremely hard.

9.5 mile “back” section

I began to run (or so I call it) nearly every hill. This was an on-the-fly decision. Why not? I did not run them fast by any means but as steady as my legs could move me. With the leaders heading back “out”, I noticed a lead change and the top three guys were still really close to one another…and still flying.

6.xx mile “out” section

This is that point in the race that I get a bit of false excitement that the end is near. Another 12 plus miles of trail running is far from a gimme. Fortunately I was able to keep things rolling and kept running the hills. I definitely didn’t feel spunky but had enough energy to share some “goo shob” with my fellow runners.

6.xx mile “back” section

After finally hitting the final turn around, things got interesting. This is where you get to see how close you are to the people in front of you and those behind for the final 6 miles. There was only one guy in front of me that I thought I was within range to catch him and he wasn’t looking extremely energetic when we passed each other. Who knows what I looked like to him.

As I started heading “back”, I begin seeing the stream of runners between one to four minutes behind me. (Gulp!) Just when you think you don’t have another gear, all of a sudden I find a little extra spunk. The two runners closest to me (a male and female) seemed to be cruising along very easily.

“All right Dave, I guess you are going to have to hurt a bit more on the way back!” – my fairly big thought at this stage in a race.

I kind of went into fluid, let-the-body-go mode. Let’s see what happens. With three miles till the finish, I was holding my position. Then I started to notice a slight bonk setting in. As long as I kept running I didn’t really notice it but once I walked for any brief period, I felt a bit wobbly. Oh Oh! Unfortunately no more aid station until the finish so I gulped the remaining HEED in my water bottle and did what any smart man would do – I kept running.

With about 1.5 miles to the finish, my spidey senses felt someone approaching. The female runner that looked great at the turn-around had caught me and quickly left me in the dust. I babbled some kind of encouragement as I humpty-dumptied a bit during a short walk break. She was quickly out of sight and out of my mind as it began to fade a bit.

This is when the self talk kicked in. I was beginning to get so dang hungry so I began to visualize the beans and rice waiting at the finish. Yummmmmm! That was enough to get me to refocus and push ahead. I got myself back running and put myself into a numb gliding state where I felt like I was flowing along the trail. I could feel no aches or pains, just the soft texture of the trail under my feet.

The Finish

Finally the finish was in sight. A short run along the shores of the lake and then a left turn up to the finish which requires getting up 15 or so giant sand stairs. Please no cramps! Only in trail running!

I crossed the line in 5:44:12 (12/51 OA) and was warmly congratulated by those hanging around at the finish. The RD presented a unique, locally made, environmentally friendly finishers medal. We also get a bottle of the Rocks and Guts home brew generously made especially for the 50k finishers! How cool is that!

I then quickly made my way over to the beans and rice and other tasty treats. It has never tasted so good. What a fun race!

The Schwag

Nice long sleeve Tech shirt and Hammer Nutrition Sample

NTTR puts on this race and does a fantastic job! The aid-station volunteers were so accommodating that I had to force myself to leave. The out-and-back course allows you to interact with other runners so you never really feel alone.

With the 15k and 30k distances, there is an opportunity for everyone to give trail running a try.

Complete race results can be seen at the NTTR site.

For the data geeks, my Garmin Forerunner 305 data can be dug through at MotionBased.

About the author

David Hanenburg David Hanenburg is the passionate dirt-lovin' creator of Endurance Buzz and has been playing in the endurance sports world since 2000 after knockin' the dust off of his Trek 950 hardtail thanks to a friend asking to go ride some local dirt. In 2007 he ran his first ultra on the trails and fell in love with the sport and its people. For more information on David's endurance sports journey, check out the About page.

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