|Vulcan on Race Day|
Saturday started out as a pretty dreary looking morning as the 500 or so congregated at the foot of Vulcan Park, but nothing dresses up a day like the attire donned by a couple hundred runners of every shape, size, color, and ilk.
Our course carried us from the bottom of Vulcan Park east through Mountain Brook and eventually to Liberty Park, 9.39 miles later. But few are the flat patches between those two landmarks. We traversed some of Birmingham's nicer neighborhoods, and many residents spent a part of their mornings cheering us along our way. And while this raced lacked the hordes of fans that some of Birmingham's larger races draw, those who were present weren't lacking in spunk.
|These ladies easily win the award for 'Most Encouraging Spectators'|
And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention and express gratitude to those most important components of any race, the volunteers at the aid and water stations, who both literally and figuratively are life savers. Unfortunately, I generally carry my Camelbak and bypass the water stations, since I'm apparently incapable of drinking from a cup while moving. But I sure do miss throwing my cup on the ground; it's awfully fun.
|First water station, near mile 3|
|Near mile 7, these folks on the right were handing out sweets and beer to the bold or unwitting|
After that stretch is when it gets really interesting; from that point on, it's mostly downhill, which at first you really appreciate. But before long, going down is as grueling as was going up, as it just destroys what's left of your quads. So you do what I did - give in to gravity, let go of control, and hope for the best, remembering that if you do start to fall, tuck-and-roll is your best bet.
|Beginning the long climb up Hell's Half Mile. It's worse than it looks from here.|