First, I want to send much love to Kim and Jason for their super awesome inaugural race. You should all run it next year. That being said, I have a couple of tips for those who want to run this race (i.e., don't be dumb like me):
1) The race starts with a little loop around a parking lot before diving into the woods. Really. It's a little loop. If you want to put yourself in a decent position for hitting the woods, you should *not* spend the final pre-race minutes standing at the back of the pack gabbing. This won't kill you, but you will spend a lot of time passing people and running through fallen leaves and brush.
2) Follow trail, not trail shoes. My streak of going off course is intact. This was was especially special as the group I was with saw a couple of people floundering down by the lake and called to them that we were on the 'real' trail... until our trail petered out, too. So what did we do, you ask? We went back to their WRONG trail before noticing that there was a steady stream of runners about 100 ft above us making a fairly well-marked left turn. Sigh. I then re-passed the folks I had already passed due to #1 above.
3) Brooks Cascadia shoe laces are the devil. They don't stay tied. I've had this problem before, but usually in races of the ultra variety (where a 30 second shoe-tying break a) doesn't really matter, and b) is sometimes a nice break). Today, the malicious laces came undone at mile 11 of 12. I briefly considered running with an untied shoe for the last mile, but with my history of falling down, I figured I should stop. This allowed a very nice lady running her first trail run to pass me. I didn't figure this would be a big deal, but it turns out we were racing for 3rd place overall (and the commensurate pair of free Montrails). Yarg. Now to be fair, said nice lady was coming on pretty strong, so she may have gotten me in the end, anyway, but once I got on trail after the shoe break, she didn't put any more distance on me. ...but then again, I did get a short break while tying my shoe.... Since I have no real way of knowing what would have happened, I am going to blame my shoelace for losing me some free shoes (while, of course, still congratulating Nice Lady for running a great race... really! This was a pretty technical run and she did awesome for a first-timer! ...but free shoes would have been nice, too :-P )
So yes - definitely a successful race, but there are still some lessons to be learned... which is great because now I don't have to look around for that 'something new' we reportedly learn every day.