The gnarly course and infamous ''O'' was our destination for today.
Today we ran the Bradbury Bruiser. The Bruiser course is described as ''a crazy twisting, turning 12 mile loop of single-track trails filled with rocks, roots, bumps and hills. Save something for the last two miles, this is where you will earn your bruises.''
I tried my best not to focus on the last 2 miles trying hard to convince myself that the ''O'' trail wouldn't be so bad. Linda and I ran it last week missing an important turn and ended up running 4 and something miles rather than the real 2 miles or so. My mindset was, I can certainly run 2 miles today and survive, since I ran 4 of it last week. With this is mind, I wasn't really super psyched out as in past years.
The start of the race was exciting. The crowd lined up as Ian gave directions. Since I was way back of the pack and a bit excited at the start, I remember only hearing a thanks to the volunteers. Since the volunteers are outstanding throughout the whole series there was a large round of applause. I enjoyed the vibe of the back of the packers, everyone was excited.
Since I typically start and finish in the same line up, I had fun throughout the race adjusting my strategy. I ran with Jerry the first 2 races, but I figured he was probably feeling better these days and he would probably being doing a quicker pace. I was happy to see Jerry before the start and hear he was feeling better. He was going to see what happened as far as pace. I knew this meant we would not be running together. I adjusted my strategy to try to run with Pete as much as I could as he was lining up with us in the back. I really knew this wouldn't be possible, but it took my mind off my original plan. I was happy to stick with him and his crew for a very short time. Surprisingly Jerry ended up not being too far ahead of me, so I caught up and I hung behind him for awhile. I then switched to, ''as long as I can keep him in eye range'', but he pulled away. We had a good little group for a bit, Linda, Autumn and Lady in Red (I think). Lady in Red passed by at some point and I remember Linda going past me at some point. It finally settled down to Autumn and me.
It was fun to run with Autumn, we ran and chatted. We were pleasantly surprised when we came upon the last aid station. We then moved on to the final 2 miles and I was more than thrilled to have the company on the ''O'' trail. I was thankful to have someone to check in with to ensure we were on track with the twists and turns, ups and downs. I was more than thrilled each time we would come upon an arrow and would let out a ''yay''! The marking this year was incredible. Bye, bye fear of the ''O''!
I heard George and was happy to see Xar and George coming back to see us in. We finished it up and got our Bada$$ hoodies. Although the crowd had dwindled, the vibe was still there. It was really a fun day! Ian and Ryan really put on an outstanding series. The course markings were great and the aid station support is amazing. Their enthusiasm is still high for the back of the packers and it is sincerely appreciated.
Although my times for this series were a bit slower than in the past, I am happy to say I got out there and did it. I enjoyed each race in a different way. Maybe next year Autumn and I can meet our secret strategy and our time will be twice Judson's. :)
Happy Fall, the summer is officially over!