I planned to run with Dennis again as this has worked well in the past--one of us pulling the other through low spots. If you read my 2012 recap, you may remember me seeing a shooting star in the Mount Pisgah parking lot? Well, this time I saw one as we drove down I-40 to the start. We finished in 2012, would the omen again be a good one???
|The 2014 early starters.|
With each passing year, there are more areas of familiarity along this trail. I do, however, tend to forget how much uphill there is between Mount Pisgah and the Folk Art Center. The miles can stretch on until we finally reach the chain link fencing of the arboretum. Even though I know there are plenty of miles before the FAC, this fence is my first milestone and reassurance that at least a fair sized chunk of the course is behind me.
|A view from later along the trail.|
I'm writing this too far after the fact to remember exactly when we reached the FAC, but I do remember Dennis saying that it was later (running-time-wise) than in the past. It seemed like we had kept up a good pace, but I guess without the benefit of a little daylight toward the latter part of the run, and being on headlamps the entire first half, our pace could easily have been slower. I had said that if there was anyone offering biscuits like in an earlier year, I'd take them up on it, but this year, none were offered. We dropped some things in Dennis's car and picked up some things we'd need for the second half. Maybe ten minutes later, we resumed our trek toward Mount Mitchell.
|Old rock fireplace.|
|A cool ladder.|
|Dennis at the summit.|
Before the last runner arrived, Doug and his son Henry, showed up and let us ride back to the Folk Art Center with them. Henry had run some sections of the trail. Doug had pulled out before finishing, ending his shot at being the oldest Pitchell finisher. We thought Dennis would retain that crown with his latest finish, but someone older actually finished this year's event. Our time was practically the same as 2012. Officially, it went down as a 19:09 versus 19:08. I'd really like to have a year where neither of us have issues in the second half. I imagine I'll be there in 2015 to try again and if so, I'm sure I'll be hoping to have learned from past mistakes...