Monday, March 29, 2010

River Gorge Trail Race 10.2 Miler

Okay... before I get started... I must say this is NOT my distance race, but I absolutely LOVE this course and simply couldn't stay away!

Trey and I drove up the mountain that morning and it was just plain COLD outside. The thermometer on my car was reading 33 degrees. Really?! I thought it was officially spring?! This always makes wardrobe decisions for running tough too. You know that you will warm-up at some point, but how long will it take?.. and will you get cold again out there? This is why I opted for my Rock/Creek Race Team Patagonia shirt and some arm warmers along with my trusty running Capri's. Sure enough... this was the right choice.

The race starts on gravel forest service roads to give ample time for folks to settle into a pace and find their way in the group before being dumped onto the beautiful single track trail. Trey and I thought we had seeded ourselves nicely and we proceeded to run our pace. We really didn't pass but one or two folks before the Indian Rock House and held our pace the same until Snooper's Rock. Just before Snooper's Rock... I was passed by fellow teammate Natalie Sims. She effortlessly passed and was running smooth. GO NATALIE! After this we may have slowed a bit, but still running along nicely. Moments later we were surprisingly joined by a good friend and client Dan Martin. Wow... had I really trained him well enough to run this fast?! What a nice surprise! : ) He held onto to us the rest of the way!

Once we hit the rock garden I knew I'd have to dance across those stupid rocks to keep up with Trey (that's his strong point). I had paced us to here, but knew he'd serve us better to get in front on these drenched things! It was work to stay up with him, but I did... and Dan was trailing closely. When we hit the top of the climb I knew we were close and kept telling myself to maintain the same speed. Trey was able to surpass that speed and finished up a minute ahead. I came across the finish line with a 3 minute improvement over last year and not far behind me was Dan! What a great day! I felt victorious for two reasons right then and there.

After the race I learned that another good friend and client Nik Meeks had also beaten his time on the course by 14 minutes! WOW! That made me feel great to know that all we have been doing during training sessions is paying off! Congrats to Nik and Dan!

The race field was stacked this year.. not only were there more people, but there were some REALLY good folks racing too. My finish time a few years ago would have put me on the podium... not the case now.... it ranked me as the 10th overall female. Still... a fun race that pushed me to run hard!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Land Between the Lakes 60K

One week after doing Mount Cheaha 50K... I decided that I had better keep the momentum up and decided to sign up for another long trail race. This time I thought I'd give a 50 miler a shot at the Land Between the Lakes Trail Race in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. There were several bail-out options along the way if I felt sick or had a relapse of the sinus stuff that had been haunting me now for sometime. Distances available on this course include 23K, Marathon, 60K and 50 mile.

Luckily... I was able to sucker Trey and Lance into going up and suffering with me for this one. Also... Rock/Creek Race Team member Sal Coll came up joined in on the suffer fest too. Little did I know that I would have a relapse with the sinus crud and several bathroom breaks along the way!

We started the race just as it was getting light out. It was cold and the air was damp. The first mile or two of the race is on asphalt (not my favorite way to start a trail race), but then you are dumped onto nice single track trail used mostly for mountain biking. The trails reminded me of the trails we have here at over at Booker T... same set-up really... lakes, rollers, chirt... very reminiscent indeed. The course consisted of loops of 11.3miles each. The 60K being 3 loops and the 50 miler being 4 loops. Lance and Sal were off and running hard from the beginning. Trey and I took about a mile to warm-up and then started moving faster. The first loop I felt really good and we ran super fast. The first half of the second loop was fast too... until I had a little relapse with the sinus crud and then two bathroom breaks. Trey was so frustrated with me.. AND I was frustrated with me too! Some things just weren't "synced" up that day! The third loop was the deal breaker... With two more bathroom breaks.. I knew that a fourth lap and a 50 mile finish were not to be on this day for me. Trey and I agreed that I would roll in with a 60K finish instead. Still... nothing to sneeze at, right? : )

We rolled in with a 60k finish time of 7:01 and I ended up being 6th overall female. Not bad for a sick chick... I guess... LOL. A few minutes later we found Lance and learned that he had snatched a 3rd overall finish for the 60k! WOW... how awesome is that?! Another few minutes later we bumped into Sal and found out that he too... had dropped to the 60K due to feeling not so well.

I feel like the year has had a REAL slow start for me in comparision to last year. I've been plagued with one thing or the other, but I refuse to let these things keep me down and will continue to work hard and overcome them!