New year, new race, new blood

Warning, there will be blood below.  Frozen Toe 10k logoToday was one of those days that made me feel like a new runner all over again -- I ran a race for the first time ever in January, and it was on a trail in the mountains near Roanoke.

Since I knew I wasn't running with a specific time goal in mind for the Mountain Junkies Frozen Toe 10k, I left my watch at home so I could fully enjoy this experience.

Oh, and it was about 50 degrees at the start. The previous two times this race has been held it has been cold with snow and ice.

There's really no reason to do a traditional "race report" -- this was a learning experience that I wanted to utilize for future trail races. Plus I did not know the course at all.

I went out with a very conservative approach and hung back quite a bit at the beginning. In hindsight, I could have pushed it more in the first half mile before entering the trail. That said, I was very comfortable with things in the first couple of miles. Since I've only run on trails a few times in the past couple of months, there was no need to push it hard.

Frozen Toe 10k

Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd miles, I took a tumble. A hard tumble.

I hit a stretch of very leaf-covered ground and I guess my right foot hit a rock -- I'm not really sure what happened after that other than I rolled on the ground. Oddly enough, nobody saw this happen.

I got up and realized that I was pretty banged up -- there was a cut on my right knee and elbow. But I could walk fine, so I just ran. I could feel some discomfort in my right thigh, but nothing too major.

Around mile 3, I stopped at the water stop and took a closer look at things -- while there was blood, the cuts weren't bad, so along I went.

The course consisted of some of the best trails I've ever been on. I think some of that is because it was so cold earlier this week that anything that could have been mud had dried up. Passing people and getting passed was pretty smooth.

While there definitely were some tight areas, there was no getting backed up behind people for too long. The continuous up and down hills kept everyone spread out fairly well.

I crossed the finish line in a time of 56:14. The first thing I did was go to my car to get my phone to take pictures of my battle scars. Pretty disturbing, right?

I'm pretty sore tonight, especially my elbow. I have a bruise on my thigh pretty high up -- I'm pretty sure that I hit a nice-sized rock under the leaves with my upper thigh with the multiple marks I have. All in all, though, I feel good.

Knowing what I know now about this course, I probably could run it a few minutes faster than that. I'm definitely happy with today though. It's a great way to kick off the year and official training for the Shamrock Half Marathon.