Today was a special race day for me. I ran the Run Like A Girl 8k Trail Race for the second time. This was my first trail race ever last year and an all women race. This year they moved it up to May, instead of September like last year, which made me happy because there was a better chance of cooler temps. This would also be my running partner Laura's first trail race! She was pretty nervous about it and I was nervous and excited to be able to go for my first trail PR! My two goals were to go faster than last year and help Laura get off to a better start. She likes to blast off the start line like the hounds of hell are chasing her. On our way there she mentioned that her horoscope this morning told her to, "defer to others on understanding your limits." That may not be exactly what it said but pretty close. So we decided that meant she needed to allow me to guide her through the start.
We met up with Kay, one of my other trail running pals, and headed off for a warm up run around the kayak pool. It was strange not to see anyone else but the three of us doing a warm up run. Usually there are plenty of runners doing so. After our warm up we milled around the start area discussing our nerves and plans for the race. As usual Kay gave me the what for about needing to step it up a notch and I was telling Laura to take it down a notch at the start. I decided it was important to get Laura through the start then I could step it up a notch. After receiving instructions on how to follow the marked trail our wave, 1st wave, lined up at the start. Laura and I seeded ourselves a few people back from Kay but in front of most of the pack. The horn went off and we started the race. Laura started to inch in front of me right away. I told her to slow down but I don't think it sank in. She started get even farther ahead of me. Finally, before she got out of arms reach, I grabbed her upper arm and yanked her back to me. I told her to just let the other runners go. She finally cooled her jets and settled in behind me. Over half way to the trail head she mentioned how uneven her breathing was. I imparted some more wisdom on her by telling her not to push her speed up until her breath was in a regular rhythm. On that note I started to leave her behind as we reached the trail head.
We both ran a great race. The warmer temperatures were tough since we haven't acclimated to running in warmer temps yet. I tried to hold my pace steady, going easy uphill and using the downhills to my advantage. Sadly there weren't as many downhills as I would have liked, there was definitely more uphill on this year's course. I did a small amount of walking up some hills, some of them I thought would never end. When one of the never ending hills ended we were punished with a jaunt across an open field in bright sunshine. I held two girls off behind me for most of the race but once we left the woods for the last time they both just shot around me like rockets. I kicked it in gear to try to stay with them but that stupid steep hill into the parking area got me. I ran it but at a very slow pace. Once up the hill I set my sights on the finish line. Holy moly, I might make it under 45 minutes! I kicked into gear and finished at 44:44! Much better than last year of 54 minutes.
I waited for Laura at the finish and, as I did last race, shouted at her to kick it into gear. She finished around 49 minutes, a pretty good showing for her first trail race. We waited around forever and a day for the results to be posted and awards to be handed out. I was thrilled with my 2nd place age group placing, 3 minutes behind 1st in my AG. Kay was just out of the awards in 4th for her AG and Laura 17th in her AG. I got a cute Run Like A Girl Tech tee. First place in each AG got a free skirt from runningskirts.com. It made me feel better knowing that first in my age group beat me by so much. It would have been hard to deal with missing out on a free skirt over a small difference in time, but the three minutes showed that clearly she was the better runner today.
After the awards, Laura and I went out for a three mile run to get a full 9 miles in for the day. If we had known they were going to take so long for the awards we would have done our 3 miles right after the race. We survived the three miles at an easy 12 min mi pace. It was fun going over the race and all the thoughts that ran through our heads during the race. As usual we both felt like hell during the race but the glorious race after glow set in and all the pain can be forgiven, and maybe even forgotten in a few days.