Saturday, January 23, 2010

Charlotte Running Co. Trail Race

I signed up for the 8.2 mile race on Monday or Tuesday. Within 24 hours of signing up I came down with a head cold. I thought it was no big deal, running always clears my sinuses and makes me feel better for awhile. Unfortunately for me this cold didn't have plans to just hang out in my sinuses. By Friday evening it was clear it was starting to work its way south. Friday night I slept horribly and struggled with deciding whether to race the 8.2, switch to the 3.8, or not go at all.

When I woke at 5:30 I felt better than I did the night before. My cold was still there but everything was more loose in my head and my cough wasn't as bad. I decided to head out to the race and make my decision about which distance to do when I got there.

Once there, I decided to go ahead and do the 8.2 miles. I ran an easy mile as a warm up and to see how my lungs would do. It was clear I wasn't going to be doing an all out race effort but I would survive. I found my friend Kay at her car and hung out with her and her friends until the race started.

There had been a good amount of rain this week so the trails were muddy. As usual the race got clogged at the trail head. People were walking down the first short hill. I immediately started passing people while they were walking down the hill. I spent the first few miles passing people. At first I was waiting for wider sections to pass but finally I just announced which side and slipped past people whether it was downhill, uphill, or narrow.

Around mile 3 I finally had plenty of room for working the trail at my pace. Every now and then I would catch up to a group but I had gotten good at passing by this point. I really enjoyed just blazing down the muddy hills, such a thrilling feeling! Just raise your elbows and take gentle quick steps down the hill. I picture myself picking my way through the tires on an obstacle course as I pick my way down the hills.

The race was nice and uneventful for me, no close calls, maybe putting my foot down wrong one time but no fear of falling. I tried to keep my pace a bit easier since my lungs were not at full capacity due to my cold. The last two miles I had to do some walking uphill, my lungs just couldn't do it and therefore my legs couldn't either.

I give huge kudos to The Charlotte Running Co. for organizing such a great race. They had more than enough water stations, though I didn't need it since I always bring my own to trail races, you just never know. They had volunteers placed where the trail split for the different distances to let the runners know which way to go for what distance. Very upbeat and encouraging people! The volunteers were always a welcome sight today.

As usual for a trail race the distance isn't known for sure. My Garmin had the race about half a mile short and my friend's Garmin had it just 0.1 mile short. After seeing the 8 mile marker on the trail I'm pretty confident in saying that we had close to half a mile or more to go. I'm not really sure what my pace was exactly somewhere around 11:00+ per mile. My time was 1:31:55 according to my Garmin.

Kay won her age group. I was 5th out of 15 in my age group. Other than my horrible cold, the morning was great fun and a total success!