We got to Thorncrag just in time to tag along on the last train up to the top of the hill. We caught up a little with Rick, Mindy and Xar on the walk up to the start, missed all the instructions and soon enough, we were off! Val wasn't kidding about her 9:00 am start :-) It was a different loop this year than last, and shorter too, I think? Someone who had been there for the instructions said Val described the loop as 0.4 down and 0.8 up. I'm not sure it was quite that bad, but the uphill certainly was steep! The loop took us down through the woods, out into the field with a few old apple trees and distant views, and then down along the back border of the park before taking us up, up, up. The first few times the climb wasn't bad, but I definitely walked a bit more each lap :-) Despite being a short loop, we got spread out fairly quickly, and I ended up running with Julia, somehow with no one else really around us. Odd.
I wasn't planning on racing, so just took it easy and enjoyed chatting with Julia for the first few miles. We were passed by Andy in our second loop - ouch! - and slowly as the laps went along, we passed people and were passed by others.
Fun in the woods!
But it gave us a chance to catch up with people a bit anyway! Julia and I hung together for the first 3 1/2 loops, and then somehow on the climb on the back of the 4th loop, I pulled away and was suddenly solo. I figured since I was running alone, I might as well pick it up a bit, so I attempted that, but did take the time on the next loop to walk up the hill with Val, Mindy and Xar and catch up with them for a few minutes before declaring that since I hadn't run 18 miles the day before, I had better get running! I got in 8.16 miles, just shy of 7 laps before the 1:30 time limit was up. Definitely a good workout, and a lot of fun!
After the run, we all headed over to Gritty's for an end-of-the-season of sorts luncheon and awards party. With such a big group, there was no way to talk with everyone, but our table of Ryan, Scott, Chandra, Randy, Lenka, Zak and I had fun chatting away as the beers and food came and went. The awards were, as always, a mixture of fun, poke fun, and serious, just as is our group :-) A great way to spend a Sunday morning!