So. . . Flirt with Dirt. . . this race is ran right in my “backyard.” Well, not literally, but Lakeshore Park is only a 5 minute drive from my apartment and happens to be where I get my trail running in. I’m hoping to branch out to other trails, as my area has plenty close by but, these are very well marked and I know I won’t get lost out there on my own. So, back to the race. . .
Race morning the temps are perfect, 55 or so and overcast with a little humidity. I woke up still congested, which has become the story of my life as of late. Stupid allergies!!! It’s slowly getting better but, is definitely still hindering my breathing and stuff while running. As a result, I really didn’t have a goal in mind for the race. Mainly, I wanted to try to keep a 9 min/mi pace, which seems to be as hard as I can go without too much coughing and stuff on the roads. The trails aren’t terribly technical, mostly just tight turns and a narrow single track, so 9 min/mi pace seemed reasonable.
I met up with some friends and chatted a bit before taking a mile warmup to clear up some congestion and get the legs ready. Trail races seem so much more relaxed. I have no nervousness whatsoever. I line up at the start amongst the other 9 min/mi folks and we are off. The first mile goes by rather fast as we had a fast downhill start before looping the soccer field on our way to the trailhead. Runners seemed to be trying to find a good place to be before entering the narrow single track, where it gets difficult to pass. Passing and being passed was a major worry of mine. I didn’t want to hold anyone up, nor be held up. This turned out to be a needless worry, as passing was as simple as “on your left” and either you passed or got passed, exchanging good lucks or looking goods. Love trail runners!!!
Until the first water stop at about mile 2, I followed behind a lady who seemed to be holding a good pace that I’d like to keep. We were around 8:30 for the first mile and 8:45 for the second. She slowed at the water stop and I went past. She must have slowed down considerably because I didn’t see her again. Somewhere in here my Garmin (which was pretty useless for mileage on the trails) got stuck in satellite mode. I didn’t want to spend the time to fix it, nor did I really care anyways. I just ran based on feel, going hard when I could and backing off if I needed to stop from having a coughing fit.
As strange as it was not knowing my splits, I didn’t care. About mile 4 or so, I caught up to a woman who was struggling. We ran together for a bit and I passed along some encouragement before passing her up when I had an opening. I then caught up to another girl who I played back and forth with for the remainder of the race. She said she had went out too fast and was barely hanging on. We chatted a bit too and with about a mile to go, I took off to finish strong. I was mostly alone for the last mile with noone to “chase” until right where the trail head opened up to the sledding hill for the uphill finish. No finish sprint here, just some high knees as I pushed up the hill to a 55:40 finish, avg pace 8:58.
What a fun race! Caught up with a few friends afterwards and chatted about our races. I had to get out of there rather quickly to baby sit my niece, so I missed the awards ceremony. There was no way I thought I placed in my age group, but later I found out I was actually 5th!!! I won a mug! I just have to find out how to get it. I finished 128/333 overall and 5/28 in the 30-34 age group. Best of all, I had fun and enjoyed running without being worried about pacing and time. Oh, and I now have a trail 10K PR.