Two weeks ago, when we lost an hour due to daylight savings, I decided to start waking up early to run before work. Even though it was just 3-4 miles a day, it was more running that I had done in quite some time. Those two weeks of miles under my belt really made a difference in today’s results: 46:49 (6.05 mi, 7:44 min/mile), 2/7 AG, 16/72 overall. The course was pretty tough and it was literally a sprint to the finish, which worked out since I beat the 3rd place runner in my AG by 1.202 seconds!
I ran this race a little bit slower last year but I forget how much I was running at the time. I do remember that a few of us ran a little bit longer because the turnaround was poorly marked. This year, the course was chalked at important crossroads and intersections and had volunteers throughout as well. As you can see in the course map below, there were a lot of confusing turns, fortunately I didn’t get lost this year.
The course wasn’t too bad, it’s one of the easier trail races I’ve ran before. I’ve ran an even tougher race here before, with one of the hills called the widowmaker. The first half of this course was relatively flat, but mile 4 was where we hit the biggest hill which was about a 350 feet ascend for about 1.5 miles. I was able to pick up the pace a little bit on the downhills but not too much since it was kind of steep with rocks all over the place. The good thing is that I did not start off too fast, so I was able to keep a consistent pace when it was flat and wasn’t too tired during the latter part of the race. Splits: 7:15, 7:51, 7:15, 9:45, 7:36, 6:53, :12.
This race was smaller than I had expected, which can partially explain such a great showing in the placing. What I also noticed before the race was that there were a lot of younger runners in this race, which I hate. I don’t necessarily hate the younger runners, but they’re just too fast! They usually run pretty fast since they’re still in high school cross country and I always try to run with them, which just tires me out for the rest of the race. So the first few miles of the race, I was running with a few younger women runners. And then toward the end of the race, I was running with some other younger male runners. About 200-300 meters before the finish, a dad was cheering on his son and then started running with him to the finish. He stopped running just before the finish line to let him finish on his own. I was running behind them the entire time and was going to just finish the race behind him. But out of nowhere, another younger runner pass both of us and the competitive side of me just took over. I started sprinting to the finish line as well and ended up passing both of the kids. Probably doesn’t look good that I was trying to beat a bunch of kids, but I’m sure it was an exciting finish for everyone watching. And because I did sprint to the finish line, I was able to beat the person in 3rd by just over 1 second. I got 6th in my age group last year and had a feeling I was going to place better than that, but did not expect to get into the top 3. This is the first time placing in my age group in quite some time, which feels good. I’ve been feeling really motivated to run lately, my body is already getting used to waking up early before work to run. And these great race results will just motivate me even more!
I have a 5k in two weeks that is really important. A few old high school runner friends are also doing that race, they actually told me to sign up for it. It’s going to be a very competitive race, so I’m hoping I can keep up with my running streak and maybe even do some intervals in the next week or so.