I had some fun this weekend at a local race!
My dad and husband were kind enough to shuffle the boys to their basketball games and practices so I could race in Dexter, OR, for the first time since September (first "real race effort" since last march!). Without their help I doubt I'd be able to do this thing that I love. As a mom, I hated missing the games, but since we have another month of them, I should be able to catch a few more :)
Since it was raining steadily for days and the forecast called for 100% chance of rain Saturday morning, I thought that it might scare some people away from doing the Bristow Trail Run (My usual race strategy: eliminate the competition). And it might have...
It's hard to know for sure.
This lonely photo is the only proof I have that the parking lot had standing water up to the hubs on the pickups, and that the ordinarily lovely trails at Elijah Bristow State Park were flooded with rain and mud.
I'm pretty sure the race director looked for the highest, driest, island of land possible to place the finish line and refreshment tents.
Friends on strava can have a good laugh at my splits, but I assure you I worked pretty darned hard for them! My pace barely broke 8min/mile over 5.3 miles of trails, but my heart rate was equivalent to running 6:40/mile on the track during some recent workouts.
Whenever I race, I try to have as good a time as possible and also try to take something away for the next time.
This time I gleaned these nuggets of wisdom:
- Sometimes it's OK to pass early. You can't know what's in the other person's mind when you are considering a pass on muddy single track. With 3/5 of a race to go, sometimes it's a good move. In my head, I might be thinking "If I pass now, she's just going to pass me again later." But in her head, she might be thinking "I am going out too fast and need to run my own race". You don't know until you take the chance.
- Mud is slow. Ordinarily "fast and flat" courses are not fast at all with standing water and thick mud. Ignore your Garmin. Really.
- 5 mile racers have a better shot at post-race food than people running the 10 mile or the 50k (Some people were crazy enough to do the same loop I did 6 times). Go ahead and run your long races... I will help myself to the food :D (And then go change into my warm dry clothes before the unheated bathroom floors are covered in mud and sand.)
During the race I could have pushed my heart a bit harder at times, but probably not my legs. This was really just the sort of workout-race I needed to kick-start a new season!
Have you ever ran a race where you had to just forget about your pace?
Go read Camille Herron's post on ditching your GPS if you haven't yet!