The race with an asterisk
The Xterra James River Scramble 10K is the most challenging race I've ever done. In three years of doing races, I've never finished a race and said, "That was the hardest race I've ever done," until this past Saturday. I've race some challenging races, but nothing so far had fallen into that "hardest ever" category.
Two days later it's still hard to put into words what it was like to run up steps, run through weeds, run over rocks, climb up a small ladder, jump over water and still finish in less than an hour. Race wise, this will go down as my slowest pace ever (57:07, click here for results by gender), but I think the same can be said for everyone there. It wasn't meant to be a race against time - it's more a test to see what your body can actually handle in 6.2 miles.
The race was broken up into four heats. I was in the first heat with a predicted time of just under 50 minutes. To be in the first heat, predicted times had to be less than 50 minutes. Well, only 116 runners out of nearly 1,100 actually finished in 50 minutes or less. To realize two days later that I still finished in the top third of the field is very satisfying. I am still sticking to my statement after the race though that this was a bad race, but a hell of a workout. It's tough to "race" when you have to actually stop and wait to climb up steps and jump over rocks. I'd say that total stop time was 2 or 3 minutes.
On paper, this will be the worst race I hope I'll ever do, but physically I learned a lot about myself and realized that there are many more challenges out there for me. It was a perfect springboard to have better 5K times and to get me even more motivated for the Richmond Marathon.