The first race in this series was my very first trail race; I suppose it was the gateway drug, so to speak. The second was equally as fun. Saturday was the last race of the series and it didn’t disappoint.
The weather was warmer this week than it was the previous two races. Maybe because the other two were actually in the winter. The series should have been called “Two Winter, One Spring Trail Run Series.” I had on a long sleeve tech shirt because it was a bit chilly in the morning. At the last minute, I through on a tank top underneath. I ended up just going with the tank top. Spring it here!
Heidi and I arrived a bit later than the last two races, so we didn’t hang out before as long. By the time we used the bathroom and picked up our bibs, it was time for things to start. With very little fanfare (just a recording of the Star Spangled Banner), we were off.
The course was reversed from the last two times because they couldn’t get the same start/finish area. It was an interesting twist. We began the race with a long stretch of pavement and then a gradual incline of single track. The steeper fire roads were now in the second half of the race.
I liked being able to go a bit faster on the downhills in the second half. However, there was no shade during the second half and it did start to get a bit warm.
I started to feel in the groove toward the last part of the race. It helped that it was mostly downhill. However, once we got on to the pavement for the final stretch, I was able to kick it up into another gear—one that I thought had disappeared. I ran my final mile at just under an 8:00 pace!
Just when I was feeling good about being able to kick it up a notch at the end, one runner blew me away. I was totally impressed. There was a little girl running with her dad (or coach). She looked like she was about nine, but looking at the results, I found out she is eleven. I was going back and forth with her and her dad during the uphill sections of the course. He was definitely coaching her on how to climb and descend. When we hit the blacktop for the last section of the race, he told her “this is the home stretch.” She started picking it up. A LOT. As I glanced at my Garmin and saw that I was averaging 8:10, she was pulling away. Several other runners and I commented on how fast she was. As she turned into the final straight-away, she was in a full on sprint. She ended up finishing 45 seconds ahead of me and she was behind me with about a mile to go. Wow!
Question: when can I start my kids running?? How young is too young? But that might be a question for another post.
I finished 4.85 miles in 47:39 (9:50 average pace). Even though I didn’t feel as strong as last month, I averaged three seconds faster than the March race! I think that I am getting better at running downhill and was able to pick up my slack on the downhill sections of the race.
After I finished, I waited for Heidi and cheered for her as she came in. She did pretty well considering that she hasn’t run much lately either. She ran pretty comparable to the first run of the series, but not quite as good as last month’s.
We hung out for a bit, socializing with other runners and eating. They had chili (which tasted surprisingly good after a hot run), raw food bars, bananas and licorice. They then gave away the raffle prizes. For three races with numerous small prizes and only a handful of runners, neither Heidi nor I won a single thing!! That definitely beat the odds. I really am due for winning something at a race.
I really enjoyed this race series. It was small, but well-organized. The runners and the race staff were all very friendly. The t-shirt, which was optional, was actually pretty cool (pictured above). I will definitely be back again next year.