This is the second year that I have run at this event. Last year I rant the 14.4k Challenge course and this but this year I was running the 5.7k Sprint course.
What a difference a year makes. Last year I wasn’t exactly in top form from a training perspective but I came into the longer race with a solid plan and what resulted was a really positive race that lead to an effort and time that I was proud of. You can read about that here.
This year I came into the event very ill trained. I had injured myself trail running this summer and have been trying to build a bit of mileage on an injured heel. It still hurts a bit but running doesn’t make it worse so I am just running. Regardless, I had been run/walking 5k distances.
I emailed the race coordinators and they were happy to check me down to the 5.7k distance.
Everything Before The Race
Sign-up and communication before the race was great. What you would expect with the services out there now but an extra gold star for a very detailed email in the week leading up to the race loaded with information on parking, schedule, etc.
The pre-race amenities were ample and the mood at the start line was very ‘community’. I just like the vibe of trail running events. Good showing of vendors on-hand and waiver signing, pickup up of swag, food availability, etc. was great.
The 14.4k or longer distances have the ‘pleasure’ of running up 3 lovely sections called: Cardiac Hill, 64 steps of ruin and Roots of All Evil.
The 5.7k race turns back around the start of the Cardiac Hill climb. The course had some ups and downs but no big climbs. I found the race to still be challenging but not super technical. The course ranges from wide open gravel trails to tight forest single track.
I did all I could out there. I took a few walks when I was red-lining and pushed as hard as I could. I wasn’t in-shape but focused on soaking up the scenery and doing all I could.
The delight I had during this race was running with and listening to a little 6 year-old girl running with her Mom. She was chatting away like a young girl would, covering all kinds of topics. She started to run with and chat with me. I was trying to answer while breathing hard in a ‘this is no big deal running and talking like this’ fashion but it WAS a little difficult.
Abruptly she stopped to take a walk break. I hollered up to her Mom that she was taking a break and the lady said ‘oh, she’s not my daughter, we just met’. She stopped as well and stayed with the girl who was still chatting away to people passing her.
Such is trail racing to me. A real brotherhood/sisterhood endeavor. Shortly after I finished, she came through the finish line with cheers from a small group of women who apparently DID know who she was before the race.
I am proud of these results. It likely ranks up to one of my slowest performances but I try to feel good any time I strap on the shoes and toe the starting line. I worked hard out there.
Lots of food from bananas, cookies, coffee, water, etc. available as they were before the race but if you’re like me, a hard trail work-out matches well with a burger. The barbecue was fired up and the burger was great. I am sure there were vegetarian offerings … kind of sure … I wasn’t looking for those.
The medal is great. It has a customized ribbon/strap with exact date which is a classy touch. Obviously ordering the same medal and using it for a number of years is a cost saving measure vs. doing a different one every year but the date on the ribbon/strap is great when looking back in the closet on all your medals that all look the same and trying to remember when you ran that race.
I believe there was a choice offered around swag. I paid for this race so early I can’t remember what I the other options were. However, when I got there and saw the Trucker’s Hat, I was happy I apparently chose that.
Once again this was a great event. I will be putting it on my calendar for next year. With distances of 5.7k, 14.4k and 21.4k there is a distance for everyone. And according to their social media feed they have been out trying to map a longer distance …