SO MUCH FUN! I wasn't sure about registering for this race after my marathon. I felt so awful running over the weekend that I wasn't sure I could make it through a race. I ran 10 miles with Jackie on Sunday and she basically had to be my mental support. I wanted to barf so bad and my legs felt horribly fatigued after 6 or so miles. I took a rest day on Monday and felt so much better when I ran on Tuesday.
I knew I'd be visiting my parents over the holiday so I had to do a little research to find a race. This one was about 30 minutes or so from where they live. I had no idea what to expect with regards to the course. The website for this race didn't reveal too much. It did mention that there would be a mix of terrains but, being the road racer that I am, assumed that a majority of that would be road. Because of this, I made the goal of running sub 22 minutes (my PR is 21:38, set in July). I figured that was a reasonable goal considering I'm a better runner than I was in July and I just ran a full marathon 1 1/2 weeks ago. I was a little concerned about my nausea but that is what it is.
My sweet step-sis agreed to be my running caddy. Fortunately it was insanely gorgeous outside so I didn't feel so bad for dragging her along.
We got there just in time for me to get a 2 mile warm up [8:30 pace] and head to the start to put on my timing chip. I saw a ton of high school cross country chicks so I knew I wasn't winning anything today! LOL. In true Lisa fashion, I made some friends at the start line, found a guy planning to run 21 minutes, and told him I'd keep him in my visual field. I wondered what people were thinking because I was one of only a handful of people wearing shorts and a short sleeve shirt.
The race started on a high school track. We ran almost a full lap around and exited the stadium. We ran through the parking lots around the school [approx. 0.70 miles] before we entered the trail. I was under the impression, for whatever reason, that this was mostly a road race. I had no idea it would include as much trail as it did. That probably would have changed my goal slightly. The mile 1 split was great for my sub 22 goal so I was feeling pretty confident at that point [6:52].
As mile one was coming to a close, I noticed that the trail was not. So much for less than a quarter mile of trail! As we approached the end of mile two, I had experienced slippery mud, gravel, grass, lots of tree roots and big ole rocks! AND THE HILLS! I had to remind myself that this was just like Hocking Hills or Highbanks. I should have worn my "Hills? What Hills?" headband! When I saw the mile two split [7:48], I was actually encouraged rather than discouraged. I couldn't believe I was able to stay sub 8 on the trail!
At some point around mile two, we hit a small section of road, maybe a tenth of a mile. I could tell that mud was caked on my shoes, rocks stuck in the mud, etc. I didn't even care that the section of road was an incline! As we approached the end of the road section, I saw that we were about to run on grass. I just remember thinking "Damn! No one told me this was a cross country race!" It took me back to my high school days. The last mile was pretty much all grass. There were some sections of hard ground where I tried to increase my pace to make up for the grassy sections. Mile three ended up being 7:46.
As we were approaching the end of mile 3, I saw the track again. The grass wore me out a bit but I knew I had to have a good finishing kick the final 200 meters on the track. I passed at least three people...ALL MEN! Bam! When I crossed the finish line and looked at my Garmin, I was surprised to see the result:
Although I saw my first two mile splits, I didn't realize how fast I was really running because the terrain made it feel so much harder! Considering it was just over a minute more than my PR AND it was mostly a trail race, I was THRILLED with the result!! A small part of me was annoyed at what could have been had it been all road.
Out of 480 runners, I placed 56th overall. I was the 13th of 254 females (damn cross country team!) and the 2nd in my age group (of 19 for ages 30-34). I call that success 1 1/2 weeks after my marathon. NO HIP PAIN!! I was nauseous as all get out, but dealt with it.
Despite the trail surprise, I LOVED this race! It was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I didn't barf. I wish Columbus had the hills that they have in this area.