Thursday, August 26, 2010

MCM Mama Goes Masters Virtual Race Report

MCM Mama decided to invite all of us in her bloggy world to join her for a virtual race in celebration of her 40th birthday. I've never done a virtual race but decided that celebrating her moving into the masters division was worthy of participation. I'll admit I am looking forward to moving up to the masters division in less than two years. Next year will be tough since my friend Kay and her biggest local competition, Jamie, will both be moving into my age group. So, for 2011 they will be smoking me in races. So, I was looking forward to helping MCM celebrate moving up in the world!

Since I already had 8 miles on my calendar for MCM Mama's birthday I decided to go for the 8.25 miles option. I know my run won't be the fastest since it will be on trails but maybe I'll snag top trail run. This week my son also doesn't have school so there is no time in the morning to get my run in. I had to plan for an evening run at the US National Whitewater Center after the hubby was done with work.

I was nervous about this run because I'm not an evening runner, heck I'm not even an evening person. After about 2pm I only get the bare necessities done around the house, no starting big projects after then. So the idea of doing 8.25 mi at 6:30 pm was daunting. I had no idea how my body would respond after a day of trying not to kill, er, I mean taking care of my beloved toddler. Also I'm used to running after eating just my oatmeal for breakfast. There was worry about how my insides would respond after a day of: oatmeal, turkey bacon, pasta with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and parmesan pretzel crisps, and some M&M's and candy corn chased with a frappuccino.

The USNWC is much more busy in the after work hours than in the morning when I'm used to going there. The weather was more pleasant than I expected, around 85 with mild humidity. I wore my party dress, aka my Nuu-Muu dress, to make my run more festive. I hit the trail around 6:40 starting with the easier green trail. Man that trail was busy. Lots of rental, novices, and a few experienced mountain bikers. It was a relief to get off the green trail and over to the south main trails where there were fewer riders.

Around mile 4 I started to lose good lighting on the trail as the sun was quite low on the horizon. In one of the darker sections, as I was just starting up a hill, I was caught off guard by a mountain biker that was barreling down the same hill. We barely missed each other and both apologized then carried on. The insects were so loud at this point all I could hear besides them was my own rhythm thus causing the sounds of the bikes to be muffled resulting in a startled Ashley! I started to push the pace just a hair knowing I was losing daylight rapidly.

Around mile 6 I had to walk a few hills due to some mild tummy discomfort, my afternoon "snack" was revisiting me. I also had brought some Honey Stinger chews to try out as an option to my fig bars on long runs. I tried them out and had no tummy trouble from them but I didn't like the texture and after taste. I'll stick with my fig bars.

Heading into mile 7 I felt like I was flying down the trail and feeling my sweat spray off the bottom of my dress with each step(yes I call that mildly humid). I knew the feeling of flying was just an optical illusion due to the low light and the narrowness of the trails. At this point there were no more mountain bikes and I actually crossed paths with two other runners. I was trying to get the run done as fast as I could without falling. With about .75 mi to go I came out of the woods and decided to finish up around the kayak pool's gravel path since it's open and lighted. I decided to push my pace at that point to a real race pace. The last .25 mi seemed longer than it should have been but it brought my 8.25 mi to an end with a time of 1:35:05 for an average pace of 11:31. I could probably knock over a minute off the time due to the constant pausing and hopping off trail to avoid collision with mountain bikes.

Here are my splits:

.25)1:59 (pace 8:01)


  1. sounds like the run Kay and I had the night before... we really should coordinate ;)

  2. I thought that too when I saw that you guys ran there. Brian ended up working until about 7 on tues so it would haven't worked out this week. But I'd like to do it again since it's good to mix things up. I think I need to invest in a head lamp though.

  3. Head lamp for sure. It doesn't half start getting murky in amongst the trees much earlier than you expect. Not a cheap purchase though, I really think that when it comes to head lamps you get what you pay for. I'm looking forward to some more good night runs at the USNWC coming up soon though.

  4. Evening run is so cool. I haven't tried it too...Wishing I can run same race with you...