Monday, November 11, 2013

Trail Love at the Backyard Burn

As a final tune up for Richmond Marathon, I had signed up to run the EX2 Backyard Burn 10 mile race at Wakefield Park.  Since I had already done my long run during the week, on race day I opted to drop down to the 5 mile option.  JD was on his way back from the peroneal tendonitis so he decided that he would run it along with me.
Bib and series shirt

It was a gorgeous morning for a trail race, and Wakefield is a fairly easy trail.  We did our usual line up in the parking lot and get our race instructions, and then we were off on a short prologue on the road.  We hit the trail and were immediately bottle necked and trying to pass slower runners and trail newbies.  JD was doing a good job of pushing the pace a little for me although I know it was killing him to be going this slowly on the trail.

At one point we came to a wet stream crossing and the conga line of runners skids to a halt as most of the women stop to pick their way across the stream.  Meanwhile, JD blows by them with me following, and we just splashed through this stream kind of giggling at the other runners.  The course marshal at the stream actually applauded for us when we did the crossing that way.

JD stopped to adjust his shoe somewhere in the second mile so a bunch of the runners we had passed went by us.  So then we had to pass them all back which was rather annoying.  JD kept pushing me throughout the run and was doing a great job of keeping me focused on the course. We hit the one hilly section of the course, and there was lots of walking by other runners.  We kept pushing and passed a bunch of people on the hill section.

We finally hit the last grass straightaway back to the finish, and I really started pushing the pace around an 8:30 mile.  I could feel a few women trying to pass me, and I was determined not to let anyone get past me in the final stretch.  JD helped me out a lot by putting on a surge and kind of blocking the other women from getting up to challenge me.  I felt like I ran a pretty strong race and finished at 58:31 for a 5.6 mile course.  We probably lost about 2 minutes time due to the shoe adjustment and getting bottle necked in the beginning so I was really happy with a strong trail effort leading into the marathon.

I hadn't ever run the 5 mile option at the Backyard Burn before, but it was really fun to push myself a little harder on the course than I normally would if I was running the 10 mile.  I might try doing the 5 mile series next fall just for some fun on the trails.  Super special thanks to JD for running that one with me and pushing me harder than I would have pushed myself.

Love my trail partner!

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