Conquer the Rock Bear Crawl 25K - Table Rock Mountain, South Carolina

Elevation Range: 1135' - 3425' .............. Elevation Gain: 5624'

Pinnacle Mtn: 3425' ... Table Rock Mtn: 3124' ..... RESULTS

March 5, 2023 - I knew that when I rolled out of bed to prep for the race, my body was still feeling it from heavy rock lifting and lots of physical yard work the day before. It didn't matter really. This was just a fun vertical jaunt with gorgeous scenery, so I approached it planning to run like the old man I am.

The day dawned perfect with starting temps at 0800 in the high 30's. By noon that figure rose to a very pleasant sunny 60 degrees. Sluggish is all I have to say about my effort on the first six-mile climb up 2300 feet to the top of Pinnacle Mountain. My quads were just shot, with no energy to boot. Is this what old age is going to be like? Ugh! I kept my nose down and persisted in my vertical crawl (the race is called Bear Crawl, afterall). The early switchbacks were run at close to a 15-minute pace, but hitting the summit in two hours humbled me with a reality check. From there the race meandered over to the slabby overlook at Table Rock Mountain before gradually winding back down the very rocky steep trail back to the finish.

I just had no umph to push, so reverted to a conservative pace over the final 9 miles to soften the hammering on my tired body and tender knees. I hyperextended my bad left knee on the way down, stumbling without a fall after catching it on a root. My MCL injury continued to ache into the evening, but seems back to "normal" this morning. My finish time was 4:22 - off my aim of sub-four-hours. The course was changed from the previous year when I did a 50K up the same climbs twice in 8:15. Another 500 feet was added for a total of 5624' - a lot of vertical for such a short distance, so I don't feel so bad. I'm old, and I gotta get used to it - but I don't need to stay at home and just talk about the good old days. As long as there is a starting line, I hope to be there.