|Spectating and making snowmen last year....
Something I love about trail races is the feeling of ease at a start line. It's so much less formal, everyone is just joking around, laughing and saying well wishes. It's not that they aren't serious, don't care, and aren't about to kick ass- it's just generally more laid back. I like that.
|I don't know why I look so serious here, I mean...how serious could I be with my foxy $1 target gloves and "Beer me" singlet on!
The first loop, was great until it wasn't. I found my heart rate absolutely skyrocketing with each climb, even when walking. I hiked hills when I needed, and focused on preserving myself- I didn't want to walk the entire second loop. "Ski hill" was a bitch, and admittedly defeated me the first time through. I passed off my gloves at the top, and walked for a bit after trying to re-focus. A while later came "hell on roots", though there was a rope to help climb it unlike when I ascended it on a preview run. I did my best, and reached the top trying to smile. I definitely muttered something like "I'd rather do a marathon". That was the fear and insecurity talking. I'm comfortable on roads, I'm comfortable pushing pace and breathing heavy on asphalt, and I'm comfortable with 26 miles. 10 miles of trails isn't comfortable when you don't do them often, it isn't naturally easy for me and I let some negative thoughts get the best of me.
Then I remembered why I was doing this race in the first place. To be uncomfortable, to do something different in the "offseason", and also to appease Eric of Trails ROC who had been asking me to try trail race for a while now. I was there to run, have fun, experience some scenery change and to challenge myself--I spent a minute reminding myself of that and then embraced the rest of the first loop and got excited to go at it again.
Between loops, I stopped at the aid table and drank some of my Nuun that I had left there. It wasn't a long stop but it was good to hydrate, and catch my breath for a minute before heading back out. I had caught up to two men also in the 10 mile race, and figured it would be good to push myself and chase for a while. We bantered back and forth, and our pack of 3 went down to two. I had found a new set of wheels and was having a blast. The guy I was running behind at one point asked "you're not going to make this easy on me are you?"....I replied with a simple "nope". Friendly competition at it's finest.
Due to the favorable conditions- all of the course records fell, and fell hard. The male winner of the 15 miler (who totally lapped me even though we started at different times), broke the record by 16 minutes and the leading female broke the record by about 9 minutes. In the 10 mile race the male broke the record by about 18 minutes, and I broke the female record by about 12 minutes. The 5 mile records were both broken by 1-2 minutes. So when I say it was a solid running day, in comparison to previous years conditions- I wasn't kidding. No way in hell could I have run that time if there was a foot of snow! But, I'll take it. It was a successful day all around.
Post-race was, in my head- how it should be. Cheer for other runners, congratulate others on their race, share beers with friends and strangers, and take joy in the fact that we have a commonality in running. Being the "new girl" in the situation was a little odd at first, but the cries of "she doesn't even go here!" never came. Most everyone was welcoming, inviting (for more trail running, of course), and friendly. We chatted running (trails and roads), beer and life- I left the race with a big smile on my face and it had little to do with a time or a placement but for an experience.
If you want to see some AWESOME photos from the race, check out The Ascend Collective- WTF Gallery--> here.