This past weekend I ran my fourth, and final, race of the RNUTS series – the Mill Mountain Mayhem 10K. It’s the race I love to hate, and it’s also the race that was voted both ‘most loved’ and ‘most hated’ in the series.
I arrived in Roanoke about 40 minutes before the start and picked up my shirt and bib. Then I hit the restroom and caught up with a few friends before walking up to the starting area. I realized I was feeling really hungry, which worried me a bit. I hadn’t brought any fuel for the race, since it was a 10K. Luckily, for whatever reason, it never bothered me during the race nor did I think about it while I was running.
We all gathered at the start on the JP Fishburn Parkway, and just after 9 AM we were off and running. We started out climbing up the road. I alternated between running and hiking and tried to maintain a good pace on the way up. After a mile, we turned onto the singletrack trails. It was so green. I love this time of year when everything seems to come alive again.
Some sections along here were really rocky and I tried to be careful and not roll an ankle. I made it through unscathed, and popped out onto the old road up Mill Mountain. I was surprised to find a small cheering section here, and it gave me a little boost and I headed towards the steep climb on the old road.
The section on the old road during the race doesn’t last long, but it is very steep. I had planned on alternating running and hiking this part, but I ended up just hiking.
After the section on the old road, we turned back onto trails and made our way up to the top of Mill Mountain. Along the way, we passed by a water stop where I grabbed a cup of Skratch. Then it was a bit more climbing before arriving at the Mill Mountain Star. I started to realize I was on track for a course PR.
I passed by the star and prepared for the 1.5 mile screaming fast downhill to the finish. Theoretically, you should be able to make up a lot of time here. And I’m sure some runners do. But most of this trail is very rocky and rooty. My first priority was to not get hurt, with other big goals on the horizon. So I ran conservative here.
I made it down the trail unscathed, and crossed back across JP Fishburn Parkway where the race had started. From here, the trail was fairly smooth to the finish and I pushed my pace harder. I ended up finishing in 1:24:47, a 20 minute course PR. I felt really strong during this race. I worked hard, but didn’t push it too much. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with Mill Mountain Mayhem. And I’m always glad to make it through in one piece!