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AG Win at Ridge Runners Turkey Trot 10K

11-18-2013 Turkey Trot Cotton Mill
Misty, damp, perfectly cool race morning. 
All photos except the selfie by
Marco Demartin.

I was too slow getting my coffee on Sunday morning to make the trail run I'd intended to do. So I decided to tag along with Hubz and run the neighborhood Turkey Trot 10K instead.

We showed up, paid our money and pinned on our numbers. I love that races still exist where you can sign up an hour before the start.

The place was hopping. Upbeat music blared and a good sized crowd had gathered. Hubz caught up with many of his old road running buddies, and the ThuGs (Thursday Gold's Gym group) were out in force.

ThuGs selfie
ThuG selfie, pre-race

Ed Walsh and Dave Woll showed up after running Stone Mill 50 Miler the day before. Ed and his wife Sandy were there to cheer and Dave was crazy enough to run. It was officially a party!

I had chosen my Salomon Sense Mantras for this race. They're not a 'minimalist' shoe but they're pretty lightweight at 9.2 ounces. I really like the feel. They have a 6mm heel-toe drop that strikes exactly the right balance for me whether I'm running on pavement or on trails. 

I guess I need to state for the record that someone from Salomon sent me these shoes to try, free of charge. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review in the near future.

We started off near the rear (no need to elbow your way to the front when there's chip timing) and immediately began to climb a big hill. Flat and fast, this course is not. 

The ThuGs pulled away from me early and I focused on keeping them in sight. I knew I had to catch Dave or I'd never live it down.

11-18-2013 Dave
Dave, feeling yesterday's 50 Miler a little.
I focused on holding what I judged to be an honest race pace. I hadn't brought a watch so I ran solely on feel. I reeled Dave in around 2 miles, and kept chugging away. Typical of a road race, lots of runners had started off a little too fast and it was easy to spot those who were beginning to tire. Quickly, they came back to me. 

11-18-2013 Tom
Hubz, with his game face

There were lots of long, mostly gentle inclines and declines along the route and very little true flats. I concentrated on my form and hoped that I was dropping the pace as I was intending. 

I saw Hubz and he seemed to be running well. I cheered him on and kicked it up another notch, another long, gentle incline, now a shorter one, then a steeper downhill all the way into the finish, my form going all to hell on the decline as I tried in vain to catch the guy ahead of me.

11-17-2013 Ridge Runners Turkey Trot Finish Photo TC

11-17-2013 Ridge Runners Turkey Trot Finish Photo K

We jogged to our car to put on warm clothes for standing around. When we returned, Dave congratulated us on winning our age groups. Sweet! I think I've "podiumed" exactly twice before in my running career. A win? I was thrilled.

11-17-2013 Ridge Runners Turkey Trot Award Photo
I really need to run more of these small, local races. We both had a blast. Huge thanks to the Lake Ridge Runners for this fun, well-organized, challenging and low-key race.

Fall Beauty

Fall has been beautiful here on the East Coast.

The leaves seem more intensely hued this year. The weather has been perfectly behaved. And my parents came to visit!

Bill and JoAnn
On The National Mall
We spent our days eating at our favorite French restaurant, tasting excellent wines in the cozy cellar of Chateau O'Brien, perusing the Phillips Collection Museum of Modern Art (we even spotted Yoko Ono!) and ambling around the National Zoo and the World War II Memorial.

WWII Memorial and Washington Monument
Washington Monument and World War II Memorial

Reserve Cellar Tasting at Chateau O'Brien
Cellar tasting at Chateau O'Brien

Wax room
Laib Wax Room installation, The Phillips Collection

After their far-too-short visit, we headed to the mountains for a trail run in Shenandoah National Park. It did not disappoint. 

In true Fall mountain run fashion, the morning started out cold and got windier and colder. On the other side of the mountain it turned sunny and quite warm, causing us to sweat. 

Deep layers of leaves concealed but did not cushion the rocks beneath our feet. Twenty miles, six hours, several big climbs and descents, and one bunless burger (thanks to Elkwallow Wayside!) later, we were satisfied with our day.

Photo Nov 03, 8 39 10 AM
View from Overall Run Falls, Shenandoah National Park

Photo Nov 03, 8 17 57 AM
The guys amidst vivid yellows and golds

Wherever you live, I hope you are out taking in Autumn's beauty.