Just checking in from sunny Florida with a quick pre-race report (yes, I'm currently bored out of my mind while sitting in my hotel room helping my leg heal). My drive down from DC yesterday was mostly uneventful, however I do have one observation to report: Apparently the entire state of New Jersey vacations in Florida in the winter, and from what I saw, they're all in a HUGE hurry to get down here. Even with the generous 70 MPH speed limit most of the way, their pedal-to-the-metal speed made the rest of us look like we were shuffling through the last stretch of a 100 miler out there. I stopped counting after the 10th car with NJ plates blew by me, but there were easily 3x that many by the end. At one point I wondered if the state was being attacked by Godzilla or something and everyone was just trying to drive to safety...but I digress...
This morning I made the 1 hour drive south from the race hotel to check out the actual course. The Race Director said the "lack of suitable hotels" near the race course justifies the need for such a distance between the hotel and course, and now that I've made the drive myself, I can back him up completely. Let's just say much of the countryside near the course is so desolate it makes you want to lock the doors and speed through there faster than you can say "shallow grave". Producers for the next Friday the 13th film need look no further for a prime filming location.
Once I arrived at the course itself, I found it to be just is as advertised - a flat and "unimproved" former railroad track. From the sections I explored, it looks like mostly a short grass/dirt surface with sections of gravel and deeper/rutted dirt (a result of some new access roads that cut across the trail and lead to new housing/development areas). The overall course definitely warrants a light trail shoe, as there is enough dirt/grass out there to make a road shoe fill with debris relatively quickly.
As for the latest update on my shin injury - After sitting on my butt for the 10 hour drive yesterday, and another day off my feet today, things are definitely clearing up. I'm now planning to at least start the race tomorrow...I have no false illusions that I'll be able to run any real distance, but a nice 20 minute rehab run on this soft surface might be a nice way to start my recovery. Once I finish my run, I'll help man the main aid station for the rest of the day/night. I'll definitely appreciate a couple miles of running to warm my body before volunteering since the forecast is for 31 chilly degrees at the 6:30am start. It will warm to the mid-60s by the afternoon, and then only dip back down to the 40s over Saturday night - All in all, not a bad day for running!
I'll report back after the race with my full report...Adios!