Call me a Trail Nut
My first trail race in nearly 4 years has left me with not much to say. Running yesterday's Trail Nut 10k in Bedford was somewhat spontaneous -- I did blog about it the other day and discussed it on Twitter a bit -- but I honestly didn't decide until late Friday that I'd do it.
I thought a lot this week about the bitter taste of last year's DNF in the half marathon of the Trail Nut event, even though that was really out of my control. At some point this week I realized I HAD to do this race.
What transpired was the most fun I've ever had in a race. It was so awesome, humbling, crazy, exhilarating ... there are so many adjectives that I can't even think of to describe the race. In the 56:27:16 that it took to do this, I learned so much, as well as had many things about trail racing reemphasized:
- Go as fast as possible to get to the trail head. There was a little more than a quarter mile through grass, up a hill to the trail head. I learned that in my DNF last year, but I really used my climbing skills to pass about 10 people. Had I not done that, I might not be nearly as happy about this race.
- Pacing is pretty much impossible due to the single-track nature, especially to this race. Fortunately I got behind someone that was going a speed I liked and then passed her when the trail opened up a couple of miles in going up a hill.
- "Pass to the left" is an important phrase. I think I had just 3-4 people pass me, but that statement was so crucial 4 miles or so into the race as I caught the tail end of the half marathoners who started 10 minutes before us. It's also important to know that sometimes on a trail, passing just cannot happen until things flatten out or the trail opens up a bit.
- It's OK to power walk the hills. That's true of any race, but there were a couple of times in which I was actually slower "running." So I stopped the motion and effort of running and did more of a hiking motion.
I felt like I was learning as I was racing. Using all these things led to finishing second out of seven in my age group (the race winner was actually in my age group) -- my first age group award since 2007 -- and placing 28th out of 96 runners. I still don't have the right words to explain what this race means to me. I still need to let it sink in a bit.
Here's a look at the course on the Garmin and elevation profile: