Saturday, April 25, 2009

First Trail Race!

Today I participated in my first trail race, the Road Ends 5-Mile Trail Run at Pinckney Recreation Area. It was only the second trail run of my life and I loved it!

I accomplished my primary goal, which was not to end up DFL or DNF. Sadly, I did not accomplish my secondary goal of not falling down. Just past mile 2, I kicked a stick and sent it flying into the legs of another runner. I turned my head to apologize to her. Mistake! I promptly tripped over Lord knows what and fell forward. Fortunately, I just picked up a lot of dirt and a few minor scratches on my right leg. No real injuries.

We're having what the weather guy calls "unseasonably warm" weather, which I refer to as "freaking awesome, feels like summer and I love it" weather. But for running, it's probably not the best.

I left the house shortly before 7am and it was already almost 70 degrees outside. It probably was 70 by the time the race started at 9am and a few degrees more than that at the end. While I do love not having that crazy shock of cold air when I step out of the house to run, I wish it had been a little cooler. There's just no pleasing me, eh?

Normally for a 5-mile run I don't bother to carry water and today was no exception. But with the warm weather and the hills, I was so happy to see the water station around the 2.5 mile mark. In fact, I said "thank God" when I saw it and the woman running near me echoed my sentiment.

So anyway, about this trail. As I mentioned above, this is only the second time I've ever run on a trail. The first time was last Sunday because I thought "hey, it might be a good idea to attempt a trail run at least once before you do a trail race, genius." So I ran 5.3 miles on the mountain bike trails at Stony Creek Metropark. (Though technically all those miles weren't on the trail since I got a little turned around and decided getting on the road to go back to my car was probably my smarter move.) I enjoyed the first trail run, found it fun and challenging but not too strenuous.

Naturally, this made me excited and probably a little cocky for today's race. David has gone mountain biking at Pinckney before and warned me that it would be a tough, hilly trail. Well I am here to tell you, that man knows what he's talking about. Wow, there were some killer hills. Fortunately, it seems that it's quite acceptable to walk up the hills in trail racing. Yay! So walk I did, for most of the hills. Occasionally (for the less steep ones), I acted all tough and ran up. But overall, my pace was pretty slow and I was okay with that. I felt a lot more relaxed than I normally do during a race. I really didn't feel any pressure to race. I just wanted to have fun.

I was wearing the shirt from the Martian Half Marathon so that caused a few other people to strike up conversations with me. One woman and I chatted for a bit as we ran. She'd also run the Martian half. I told her this was my first trail race and she said "it's my first one, too, and it's kicking my ass." I enjoyed talking to her but she stopped to walk and said "I'll let you go, have a good race" which I think is code for "go away and leave me alone, lady, I'm trying to race here."

When I got into the last mile of the race, I noticed I was feeling pretty good and my breathing was fine. Meanwhile, quite a few people around me were sucking in wind like a Dyson sucks dirt out of your carpet. I would feel egotistical and think that it's because I'm so much more fit, but the reality is that I didn't push myself much. After the fall at mile 2, I started running more cautiously because I didn't want to fall again and risk an injury.

In summary, the race was a great time. I had a lot of fun and will do more trail running in the future. Next time I do a trail race, I plan to push myself a little harder and leave more of my energy out on the course instead of taking it back to the car with me.


Black Bear! said...

Bhahahaha "DFL". I have never heard that acronym before.

Hilarious RR! So, you left that other women in the dust!

Great job!

Cathy said...

I assume from the laughing that you figured out what DFL stands for. :)

I guess I did leave her in the dust. Never saw her again after we talked, anyway. :)