What a beautiful day for a trail run! I was really stoked that I finally had a race that was just five minutes from my house! A first for me! I got to sleep in a bit, take my time getting ready and not feel the usual race day rush. And even though I wasn't going into the race with my usual "race day" head on, I wanted to run well and enjoy it and take the pressure off myself. The course was rated difficult, and I had only ran the first loop once which I knew was very technical and hard. So I took the mindset that I would just go out and enjoy it and see what my legs could do.
This weekend though, we lost an uncle of mine. He had been sick for quite some time and his passing had brought us some relief on Saturday. None the less, it was kind-of a distraction for us. We were trying to arrange flights to get home to Massachusetts, and it was getting a bit stressful. So, Saturday afternoon (after I had picked up my bib!) I decided that I would just run the 11K since I needed to get home early enough to be able to take my family to the airport if need be. This ended up being a blessing in disguise.
We arrived at the start with plenty of time. They also had the 22K trail run, the 11K trail run, a 5K trail run, a mountain bike race and a dualathalon with mountain biking and a trail run. It was all very organized and everyone was so nice and helpful. That is one thing I really do love about trail runs, everyone is soooooo much nicer! I don't know if it's because of the difficulty of the races, but the non-competitive atmosphere is so nice compared to a road race. Even the mountain bikers were really nice, something you don't usually get from road bikers.
Ari had decided to ride the course with me on his bike. Since the race is pretty small, no one batted an eye. And the starts were nothing huge either. The 22K people set off first, only about 15 of them after the race director counted down from five and yelled, "go!" Then it was my start, the 11K. The 11K and the 22K go on the same route. Two loops that make a figure 8. The first loop you do is about 3.5 miles and the second loop is about 3.4. The 22K people were to do the loops twice, while I had the 11K and only did the loops once. Thank God I switched! When we headed out within about half a mile you start climbing. You basically run right up the mountain with some steep switchbacks. It is all very rocky and steep. And of course, what goes up, must come down! I was in the lead pack with the men, with about 7 other women and 10 or so men behind us. I was moving along pretty decently. I had done a one mile warm up and my legs were ready to tackle.
The first mile I came in at 9:07. I was a little worried that this was going to be too fast so I scaled it back a bit as we climbed higher. I was still in the lead. At the top we looked down into the valley bellow us and started to tear down. Man, people went down quick! But the trail was very technical, with lots of rocks and divots. I took my time as I did not want to sprain my ankle or worse yet, go ass over tea kettle! By this time also, we were pretty well spread out. I had lost Ari on the first climb and I couldn't see him anymore. But I kept on moving. I knew this part of the course and knew I had about 2 more miles back. At around 2.5 miles we passed the stream that I had "used" last time I was out there and thought for a second, I should probably use that now. But I thought I would be okay until we got to the end. By mile 3 though, I had to go! So I jumped in the tall grasses and took care of business. By the time I got out, three women and a man had passed. Ugh! I just decided to put my head down and enjoy the race. At around 3.5 miles, I came in around 35 mins or so. I stopped at the aid station, had a cup of water and then took off for the second loop. I also told the aid station person to have Ari just wait for me, I knew he was a ways back and it would be longer for him on the second loop.
The second loop was new to me. And it was so beautiful! There were a lot more steep climbs with this side and a lot of single tracks. I could see two women about a min ahead of me and decided to try and catch them. I would at least have something to work towards. Within a mile I caught the guy who had passed me and one of the women. I was doing great on the up hills but the ladies in front of me would again take the lead on the down hills. They were tearing it up! But it was rocky and steep and I just didn't want to take the chance. So on more level grounds and on the uphills I put the gas on and tore towards them. Around mile 5 I caught the second woman. I passed her on an uphill she was walking. I didn't blame her, it was tough! But I wanted to catch the first woman! I kept pushing the climbs, even if they were 11:00 mile paces. Around mile 6.4 I finally caught up to her on an uphill single track. She was walking...and I wanted to walk, too! So I took a breather and my first walk break. She asked me if I wanted to pass, and I said, "no, go ahead, you're doing great!" I could have passed her but I figured on the last stretch with a huge downhill she would just catch me and it was a single track, I didn't want to hold her up. She had led the race the whole second loop and was doing awesome. I decided to be a good sportsman and let her take it. She did tear down that hill, I couldn't catch her. When we could see the finish about two tenths away it was flat and it became a foot race! She put on the burners with me on her heals and we crossed the finish line about a second apart! She had done a great job the whole race, only walking that one hill with me and she deserved it. I also knew she wasn't in my age group so I had no worries about taking first there. It was nice camaraderie out there, people on the trails are so much more gracious. When I would pass, they would encourage me. Or when people passed me I would do the same. People have such a more positive attitude on the trails, I love it!
I crossed the finish line with my garmin saying 6.94 miles, 1:11:00 even. If I hadn't take the poop break or the water break I would have been first and I probably would have been about 3-4 mins faster. But it didn't matter. I loved chasing down those ladies. I loved the positiveness of all the volunteers and runners. My time didn't matter, as I had a great time. When we started the race it was about 50 degrees out. When we finished the sun was straight out and it was hot! I had of course, stripped down to my sports bra. I was so glad I didn't have to run those loops again. They were tough! My ankles and arches, even with my trail shoes on, were sore. Thankfully today is a rest day!
After we crossed the finish line, Staci and I congratulated one another and high fived. So nice! She thanked me for pushing her. She told me she knew I was trying to catch her and she liked the cat and mouse game! I was glad I had been a good sportsman on the course. The foot race in the end was so worth it! I didn't get a chance to stick around for the awards ceremony as Ari had to get to work and I had to get home. But it was such a nice morning and I was home by 9:45 am!!!! The wind had stayed away for most of the race and the conditions were just beautiful. I am so glad I found this race organization. They are local to me, they are cheap and sooooo well organized. They have quite a few more races over the summer, including a twilight trail run I can't wait to do!
So, here are my crazy mile splits!
.93 - 9:11
1:11:01 - 10:24/average
2nd female (they didn't post the total runners!)
1st AG 30-39
I'm sorry we didn't take any pics! As soon as we got there we realized we had forgotten the camera. But the area looked the same as the pics from my trail run there the week before. I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful area!
I had a great running weekend, full of miles and ab workouts. I am loving the core workouts - but damn, they take up a lot of time! I think I might do a local 10K this Saturday, I haven't signed up yet, but we all know I can't stand the 10K distance. But my legs have been turning over really quick lately and I would like to see what they can do. One of my goals for the year was to run a 45 or sub 45 10K, I don't know if I have it in me, but it would be fun to try right now. I'll keep you posted :)
I decided with work that I would not make it back to Massachusetts with my family. But I am taking peeps to the airport today and will be on the pick-up committee. I have some vacation time coming up and don't want to use everything up right now.
Hope you all had great weekends! I'm off to catch up!
Happy Running and Happy Monday peeps!