Monday, November 19, 2012

Just When You Think You Know a Trail

Yesterday I ran the EX2 10 Mile Fall Backyard Burn at Fountainhead Regional Park .  I thought I knew exactly what to expect having previously done a training run at Fountainhead and completed the VHTRC Women's Half there earlier this fall.  What I didn't realize is that there were parts of the white trail that I had not run, and those parts were crazy technical downhill!

It was pretty brisk during the race briefing so everyone did a lot of bouncing around trying to stay warm.  In typical laid back EX2 fashion, the race director lines us up somewhere on the road and gives us a 1 minute warning.  Then we are off. 

It warmed up pretty quickly as we took off for about .6 miles on the road before cutting onto the blue trail.  JD wasn't racing, but he wanted to get some miles in so he jumped in with me on the trail, and we were off.  My goal was to run the entire way even on the hills and finish somewhere close to 2 hours.  The race director had leaf blown the entire trail which was a good thing since there were tons of rocks and roots.  We ran the stem and bottom part of the Do Loop and then headed across the road to the white trail.  The first mile of the white trail is pretty easy as far as trails go.  The last 2 miles are insane with extremely steep technical downhills and some nice climbs.  There are also 3-4 wet stream crossings.  I elected to pick over the rocks during the first loop instead of going for the splash.  There was a 5 mile race as well so it was a bit irritating to keep getting passed in the last mile of the first loop by all of the 5 mile racers who were finishing while the 10 mile racers still had another 5 mile loop to go.  As we neared the end of the first loop, I honestly didn't know if my legs could take another loop.

JD gave me a kiss and headed off to hang with the finishing runners while I headed back down the road for loop 2.  The .6 miles on the road were a big help in getting my legs back under me before heading back onto the blue trail.  The second time through on the white trail was a bit easier as I knew what to expect. I even got brave and did the splash and dash for the stream crossings. I definitely need work on the technical downhill sections.  I slow way down on these because I can't overcome the fear and just hurtle myself down these sections.

Overall, I had a really nice run.  I was moving well most of the way.  I kept a running motion on all of the hills even if my speed wasn't exactly running speed.  I finished at 2:06 which was a little slower than what I wanted, but not bad considering how technical some of the trail was.   I'm hoping to improve in a few weeks at Hemlock.

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