RR: Blockhouse Trail Run
I have all but disappeared from the daily threads lately, but I have been getting in a few miles. A colleague at work sent a flyer to me on Thursday for a 15k trail run on Saturday. That sounded perfect to me, since 9 miles was what I planned to run anyway. So that means I was going to race a distance that would be my longest run of the year. OK for a marathon, but not exactly the best practice for a shorter race. Oh well.
11th overall out of maybe 25?? Maybe 20?? no idea.
2nd age group (I think I was almost 10 minutes behind the other guy)
I have a lot of trail running experience, having raced all over Indiana a decade ago. And the majority of my long runs are on MTB trails when possible. So I have good confidence that I would have a fun day. Sure did!
The start was along a mowed path around a large field. As is usual for longer races, everyone got pretty well sorted out as far as I could tell before we dived into the woods for the first section of single track.
The trail went back and forth as it wound down the bottom of a river valley, which of course meant there would be some climbing. And there was. Hit the 3+ mile water stop feeling pretty good and drank two cups of water and enjoyed quick pleasantries with the volunteer. Around around for another 1.5 miles, then another water stop, then up up up. The main problem was that we were going up the opposite side we came down.
Starting with the 3 mile or so point, I could see no one in front, no one behind. Ah, the joy of small races in the woods. So I panted my way up a pretty brutal climb, never walking, but not really driving to hard. Once I reached the top it was time for some nice quick winding single track. I thought numerous times that it would have been great to have been in shape for this race, the trail was awesome.
Caught a glimpse of a guy ahead and decided I needed to catch him, so I took some risks on a couple downhill sections and got on his heels. He pulled over and we said good luck, keep it up, and on I went. I then caught a glimpse of a guy behind me at a big switchback section. Ugh, but I'm tired. After a brutal downhill section I never saw him again. Oh, and it had started raining, so the trail was getting pretty slick. I figured he was smarter than me and slowed down a bit. I actually had to get on the brakes real hard once because it was just too fast, slick, and rocky. I kept a decent pace, crawling up the final long climb, to the finish.
It was pouring by now which helped a bit with the cooldown, but then it was just silly so I got the golf umbrella out and chatted up the folks as they came in.
Thoughts and reflections:
1. No wonder I don't race very often anymore. I am one sore cookie. Went out for 3 miles today (race was on Sat) and my legs and ankles hurt so bad I barely noticed the heat.
2. Trail races still rule.
3. Everyone who organizes a race deserves a big thanks 99.9% of the time. This was a well prepped trail, well marked, and overall a great race.
4. Ditto the thanks for the volunteers.
Ok, that's it. Since we don't get many RR these days, I guess this will have to do.