After my last post, I never came back to write about the trail race because I didn’t take a single photo that day and I’ve been waiting for the official race photos to be posted….kind of dumb reasons to wait. And then yesterday I did another race, so I thought I might as well just post about both today.
First, on November 10, I did the EX2 Adventures Backyard Burn trail race in Wakefield Park (Virginia). It was a five-mile course and you could chose five or ten miles. Most people did five, as I did last spring, but this time I did the full ten. I was a little worried about racing ten miles just two weeks after the marathon, so I took it easy. It felt hard; I remembered pretty quickly into it that your pace on the trails is very different from your pace on the road.
On the first loop, the mostly single-track trail through the woods was pretty crowded and I found myself leading a line of runners at one point. Knowing all those people are right behind you was good motivation to pick up the pace. Lots of jumping over logs, slogging through icy streams, and many switchbacks. However, it is overall not a steep course and the last half-mile (of each loop) is a wide, flat fire road. It was hard to keep is slow and steady there because for most people around me, that was the end of the race and they were sprinting. But I was only halfway through, and just a bit jealous that I wasn’t ending then, too. But off I went back into the woods for another loop; I saw others on the second half but we were much more spread out. Despite being tired by then, I loved the second loop more as it was way less stressful, I didn’t have people breathing in my ear the whole time, and I could enjoy the peace and beauty of the woods.
I knew I wasn’t the last one but also knew I wasn’t exactly leading. My finish time was 1:52:40, and they told us the course was long and actually about 10.1 miles, so my average pace was about 11:09/mile – eek. I came in 18th out of 23 females aged 30-39 who did the 10 mile, and 106 out of 125 total in the 10 mile. I would like to think that the runners who opt for the 10 mile tend to be tougher, making the competition that much harder…right?
Numbers aside, it was a really fun race, mainly because I loved being out in the woods and part of a smaller, more casual, less stressful race than the huge road races.
Race #2 this month was the SOME Trot for Hunger yesterday morning. Like everyone else in this country who ran a turkey trot yesterday – it was freezing. Ugh. The temperature was 29 at the start and with the windchill felt like it was in the low 20s. Andy was doing the race too (!) and we biked to the start downtown – omg so cold. We arrived at the start on Freedom Plaza at 13th and Penn, grabbed our bibs and t-shirts, checked our bags with bike helmets and jackets, and hightailed it into a nearby hotel lobby. Andy got an espresso at Starbucks, I used the nice hotel bathroom, and we crowded around with all the other runners waiting until the last possible minute for the start. Best start location possible.
When it became time we jogged over to the corrals and squeezed in. We started separately because Andy insisted he hadn’t trained enough and I would be faster, but – spoiler alert – he didn’t come in much behind me at the finish line. My garmin would not start up for me (I blame the cold?) so I turned it to stopwatch function while waiting for the gun.
Like most turkey trots, this race was packed with people with strollers, dogs, little kids, people in jeans (!), etc. I don’t begrudge any of them the experience – the more people getting out there, the better. I was going for a PR, but I realize now that turkey trots aren’t really the best setting for that. I spent much of the race, especially the first mile, weaving around people. Between that, not having any idea of my pace (didn’t see mile markers), and the complete numbness of my lower body, I pretty much had no idea how fast I was running.
But I still enjoyed myself! I knew the rest of the day would be spent sitting inside, eating and drinking, so I was happy to get out and enjoy some fresh air first. I pushed hard when I could and ended up with a new PR: 27:16, average pace of 8:46. Not as fast as I wanted (story of my life lately) but I was happy with it.
Andy came in just a few minutes behind me. We reconvened in the hotel lobby, booked a Car2Go, and got out of there, spending much of the rest of the day doing this:
One more race left for the season: a holiday 8K next weekend!