1st Trail Race!
There were basically two reasons why I chose to Run Legend at the beginning of the month, 1) I figured I should have at least one official trail race under my belt before the 50k (a trail race is much different then a trail run where I am out there with only a few other people and pretty self sufficient) 2) my friends were doing it including one who was about to finish the Running Fit Serious Series. I did not look to close when I signed up though and it was not until a few weeks before realized it was about an hour and 45 minutes away. Oh well, thankful for carpooling and some quality adult time with friends on race morning.
On race morning we were on the road at 5:45 am and even with heavy fog we were able to arrive about an hour before the race started. This gave us plenty of time to pick up our shirts and race numbers, use the bathrooms twice, get everything ready and get to the start with a couple minutes to spare. Four of the people from my running group were doing the half and one was doing the 10 mile run (originally scheduled for the 5 mile run she switched race morning to rock out her longest race ever!) Like with any run over 10 miles these days I had my Camelbak on with everything I would need and 2L of water, (if I was not training for the 50k I would have just taken my Simple Hydration bottle, it would have been sufficient with the water stations and the temperatures.)
Lining up I had 2 goals in mind:
Goal A: Run a 2:10:00 Trail 1/2 - This was a big goal, I knew it would take essentially everything to line up perfectly on race day to make this.
Goal B: To race the course just like I have been planning to race Woodstock. Eating every 4ish miles, not focus on time, walk up hills, run my race, and have enough at the end to feel good and keep going.
When we took off I was essentially headed for Goal A, and kept pace through the first 3.5 miles to reach it. That is about where I started to become honest with myself, what goal was more important? Saturday's time goal or running a strong 50k in a month. Essentially it was a no brainer, I want to run a strong 50k, which means not missing training days and sticking to the plan. I knew if I continued on to attempt Goal A, I would not have been in any shape to run my 10 miler the next morning and possibly not get my 22 in the next weekend, because it was going to take everything I had to hit 2:10. I am not going to lie and say it was easy to back off, I threw my Garmin in my pack (I had it set to beep every mile still so I was reminded to eat) and ran the next mile in a completely foul mood. About mile 5 my mood changed again and I found joy in the surroundings, listened to my steps and breathing, used the alone time to sort through thoughts and race plans for Woodstock. Apparently I was completely oblivious to the bee problem where it sounds like many runners were stung at one point on the course. (I am very glad I was clueless, that would have heightened my anxiety) I finished the rest of the race according to my Woodstock plan and honestly felt great crossing the finish line. My only other issue was about mile 9 I was hungry, like I wanted a sandwich hungry, and this might have to do with the time between breakfast which was at 4:45 am and race time. I satisfied the food craving with a packet of Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and that held me off long enough to finish the race.
Overall: I was a nice course, lots of grassy open areas, not to many large hills, there were a few places where there were a good number of roots so it was important to pay attention. There were a few things I had issues with and only one Running Fit could have controlled and that was the number of port o potties at the start. The 2nd time through we waited a little longer to use the restrooms. The other big issues I had were with other runners and trail etiquette, and I am saying this in the name of safety not because I am trail snob, when you are on a trail it is important to be able to hear other runners, this is not possible when you have both head phones in and it is loud enough other runners can actually hear the songs you are listening to, it is also important that when you pass another runner you use the left and let them know that you will be doing so, normally by saying "left", there are often times a runner must move to avoid an object in some way an if they know someone is coming up on their left it can help avoid collisions.
Aid Stations: I really cannot comment on them because I did not use them, however I did enjoy running through them and hearing the cheers. I was impressed to see Running Fit owner Randy at several of the stops handing out water or Gu.
|Going up the hill to the water station|
|Looking down the hill as the runners leave the water station|
|One of the bigger hills near the end, so beautiful in the woods|
|GP Runners finisher picture! It was a beautiful day for a race!|
|Next stop: RUN WOODSTOCK!|