According to my training plan Saturday’s long run was supposed to be 14 miles. On Wednesday, Dave asked me if I wanted to do a trail race on Saturday (10 miles) instead. I originally said no, because I didn’t want to skimp on any long runs. However, he really wanted to do it, AND he pointed out that there was a 4 mile trail race beforehand, so I agreed on the conditions that “I wasn’t racing, I was just having a supported long run” and we would do both races!
The 4 mile race got underway at 9 am. Dave and I decided to be conservative and stay together–I am ALWAYS afraid of getting lost on the trails. The race was extremely well marked, and volunteers were everywhere on the course directing us. It was a pretty course, and the race was to raise money for “SELT” trust (South Eastern Land Trust of NH). We finished the race in 34:05, which according to the race results was an 8:31 pace. My GPS had us at 3.7 miles (versus 4) which would bring the pace to 9:01. It’s hard to judge paces on the trails–distances too. The second 10 mile race started at 10am. So I had time to use the port-o-potties, down too much Gatorade, and have some water. When the gun when off, my legs felt pretty decent. The courses intertwined a bit, but after the runners thinned at mile 4 the course markings came further apart. By mile 5, I was pretty much alone. I told Dave to go ahead at the start, because I felt confident that I wouldn’t get lost. He also saw one of his friends, and I was SURE they would be racing, and I didn’t want to make this run turn into a race! By mile 6, I was nervous about being alone (I am directionally challenged). I was SO HAPPY and relieved to catch another runner by mile 6.5, and determined to stay with him until the end. We ran and chatted, both of us unsure that we were going the right way. When we came to the water station a short while later, we were so relieved. The volunteers explained that a lot of the remainder of the course consisted of “key holes” or portions of trail where I would see the faster runners looping back (whew!) I was thankful that the rest of the race I didn’t feel like I was lost! I got to see Dave at 2 of the key holes, and ended up finishing about 3 minutes behind him, with a time of 1:23 02. It worked out out according to my Garmin at 8:58 pace, however the mileage on my Garmin was 9.2 miles–so who knows. It was fun and I am counting it as a total of 14 miles!
They had a band, pizza and beer at the finish. I was happy to learn that I was the third female overall (10/54 for the whole race) in the 4 miler, and second female in my
old-age group for the 10 miler (33/84 overall). Yes, it was a super small race! It was a fun way to get in the miles!
I would definitely do this race again. The general atmosphere of trail races is so much fun. I think every runner who passed by had a smile on their face. Even the super-fast said a word of encouragement as they zipped by! It was the first year, so I am sure they will have the 10 mile marked better next year.
Have you ever jumped in a race to get the miles done? Was it hard not to race it? I think I did OK, I kept it to a moderately fast feel. I would have had a more difficult time if it were a road race, however!