I registered for this race for fun, because I had a lot of fun at the trail race I did last year with Running Fit (Run Woodstock), and told myself I would do more trail races. I wasn't planning on "racing" it, because I was planning to race the indoor triathlon yesterday (done! killed it!), and didn't want to overdo it today.
The weather was chillier than it's been recently, in the high 30s at the 7:40 race start time, but the sun was shining and it was perfect.
I ran into T, from the 501 running club near the start, who warned me about how tough the course was. The announcers didn't keep that a secret either. They said something like "this may only be 5 miles, but it's the toughest 5 miles on the trail!". Great, thanks. I actually didn't care because I wasn't in it for time, and the hills will do me good. :)
The 50K and full marathoners started at 7:30am, so I got to watch them take off before my 5 mile race started at 7:40. That was a nice perk. Two people I know were actually doing the 50K! Total badassery.
|D: 50K trail badass|
|J: 50K trail badass|
(Yes, I think that will be me one day in the not-too-distant future.)
The announcer lined us up by pace, but of course I had no idea what my pace would be, given that this is a challenging and hilly trail run. I just jumped in with Ted, which turned out to be way too fast. It was fine though, because there was plenty of open space before we got onto the single lane trail for us to get our paces sorted out.
I felt really rough at the beginning, but after about the halfway point, found my groove and was destroying the hills. It felt great. The one *minor* hiccup was that a bunch of missed a turn and went off course for a bit. I made it about 1/4 mile out of the way before the faster people that had made the wrong turn intercepted us on their way back and turned us all around. Lesson learned: Follow the flags, not the people in front of you!! The worst part about going off course was not that I screwed up my finish time/place, but that I lost my place in the pace line. I had carved out a nice little spot for myself where there was a ton of space in front of me AND space behind me and I didn't have to worry about passing or being passed, as the people (distantly) around me seemed to be going about the same pace. When those of us "faster" people looped back into the correct route, we came in behind a bunch of slower people so the pace line was all screwed up and I had to do a lot of passing, which is not that easy on a single lane trail. I didn't fall though! I only saw one girl go down during the race. :)
The fact that it was single lane and difficult passing was actually really interesting. Being right on someone's heels I felt the need to pass them, even though they may have been doing just the pace I would be if there was nobody in front of me. Then, once you pass them, you're obligated to maintain the pace, or be an asshole who passed somebody and then can't hang on and gets re-passed seconds later. I refused to let that happen. :) The one time it really backfired on me was when I balls-out sprinted up what I thought was a normal sized hill to get around a bunch of people, only to find out it was the longest, steepest hill on the course, and I had to maintain my pass for the duration of that. Whoops. That was painful, to say the least!!
|Elevation chart in red. I'm assuming you can tell which hill I'm talking about! (Hint: mile 3.6-ish).|
|Splits above. My average pace per garmin was 9:36/mile, which is more correct than the race results because I ran off course and had to turn around and come back, which added 0.34 miles that were not accounted for in the official race distance.|
|Official results. Sucks that I ran off-course and tanked my pace, but it wouldn't have made a difference in my placing anyway.|
|They gave awards 5 deep in 5 year age groups, so my time was still good enough for 4th place, and would have been the same place even at 9:36 per mile.|
T and I showing off our age group awards!!!
|Obligatory post-race food. I skipped the fruit and the bagels. :P|
|The 5 milers got cotton tees. I actually like it. The longer races got really nice tech tees too.|
|Can you spot the typo on the award glass????|
Hopefully I'll be writing again soon....!