Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pre's Trail X Country Challenge 6k

"Eat my bark dust." 
I have never had a chance to say that in a race, until Friday night at the Pre's Trail X Country Challenge. 

Circumstances worked out that I had to be in Eugene Saturday morning to help my dad with a project. Of course, I started looking around for races in the area that day. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, but there were no Saturday 5ks to be found, so I opted for something close- a trail 6k. 

The event was listed as a youth 3k, Mens and Women's Open 6k, and a Master's 5k. There were also team categories. Somewhere I missed that there would be many high-school age teams there.

The race was to take place on a bark path, with hay bales in a few spots to jump over. Having never participated in high school cross country or track, this sounded fun...and dangerous...and just a little out of my comfort zone as far as races go. A perfect workout race, as long as I could do it without tripping or twisting and ankle (my biggest fears about trail running, in general).

Map of  Pre's Trail Xcountry challenge 6k course, captured by my watch and listed in K's.

After studying the map and warming up, I headed to the start. I was surrounded by high schoolers who did some team yells. There were a couple of faces I recognized. There were a few teenage girls who could run me into the ground, and I heard one of them mention that she had been on a vacation for three weeks, that she wasn't really racing. Last race I had seen her at was a 5k that she won in April. It made me even more curious about how many girls of her caliber might be there..the sub 18 5k type. :) I am happy to find some faster runners. I want someone to help push me. 

We took off with the gun and I can say that MANY runners went out fast! So many that I had to fall in somewhere to get into the narrow trail. There was much jostling around for position and we turned a hairpin corner and headed over our first hay bale. 

Some runners wore spikes, but most just wore whatever their normal shoes were. I wore my Brooks Pure Connects, on the trail which was mostly dry bark and some gravel. I would have liked a pair of spikes or a pair of Pure Grits to wear, but at the last minute for a race these worked fine. (They are my favorite road speed shoe to date.)

We coursed around the park and navigated to the second loop, which was really a lollipop we had to do twice. During this time, I brushed by the male leaders and the first female running the opposite direction. The warm afternoon wind was swirling bark dust into our faces. I was having fun and kicking up dust with teenagers!

The course was narrow and there was a lot of passing. A group of teens, including two girls and a few guys, passed me...in a minute or two I passed them. Then they passed me again. One of the girls in the group, Gracie, cheered for me. When she passed me I cheered for her- and told her I was wondering when she was going to start running. We see-sawed like this several times. A few words of politeness exchanged. 

There was confusion when we tried to go around the small loop the second time. Some people were unclear about whether it was to include the lollipop "handle" or just the loop. Everyone I saw ran the handle too, thanks to a course marshal/coach looking guy.

A few more hay bales and a few more yo-yoing passes with the teen group and were were within sight of the finish line. I kicked as much as I had in reserve from about 150m out - feeling pretty anaerobic for that, and tried, TRIED to catch the teen group who decided to be "on" just enough to get a lead on me at the end. I didn't make it, but I came pretty close. 

On paper I was the second female in the overall category, but that is not how I view it. At least 3 females finished ahead of me. The stats for all of the high school runners did not list times- only places.  Also, it turns out that Gracie (and the teen group who I was yo-yoing with) was running a fartlek session. Ha!

I am pretty sure I overran the course, with all the moving for positions. But it might have been a little long. Trail races are always supposed to be too long or too short, aren't they?. I wasn't doing this for time, anyway, right? 

Six K is an odd distance, but it will be fun to do this race again next year.  And I'll be sure to enter 2 of my boys in the 3k, since the youth running it appeared to be having a fantastic time. 

It was the best fun I have had NOT winning in a long time!  

Again- I am so grateful to be running and SO blessed to have a chance to race in places like this. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for keeping the boys busy while I got in my fun. Love you guys!

Stats for those interested:

Officially 6k 25:04= 6:44 pace :)




21 comments:

  1. Awesome! That sounds like a blast. We have a race down here like that- high school and college teams, and then others can enter as "open." So much fun!

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  2. OK< how do you get 6:44 average based on those splits? You ran 6:29 or so. Was the course long?
    Regardless, this is super job and on a trail race. Running on bark and gravel slows you down, so this pace is even more impressive. Super job Raina. I love your impromptu racing. Looks at that .86 split at 5:30 pace at the end of the run. Holy speed!

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    1. There is something funny there, no?
      The average is based on the total time the race recorded divided by 6k/3.728 miles..but yes, the course was long AND I probably overran it with some fair deal of swerving. The last two splits are pretty interesting though. I am not sure how accurate any of them are, as we passed through an orchard and *might have* lost GPS reception...may have had a little satellite "catch up" with those.

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  3. OK-one day Raina when you've broken all the records you set out to and you just want to travel the world, I will hire you to travel to races with me and write my race reports for me:) (Note-must win lottery first). Really though, this is great! I could get a visual of you hopping hay bales and shouting YEEHAW:) This is a SUPER race on a trail! It's a super race anywhere! 5:30 pace for the last .86 miles! Smokin' Just did a YEEHAW for you!! Yes, times like this is when I'm thankful for my Garmin so I don't end up discouraged. Obviously 6:44 officially doesn't match up with what you ACTUALLY ran!! Fantastic job and an improvement from the last race with the extra distance and the surface! It's working Raina!! Working working. Big things to come my friend!!

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  4. You are awesome! It sounds like you had a fun time and added a new race for next year! I am s—l-o-w and think that 6:44 is super speedy!

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  5. Great job Raina!You amaze me all of the time. :-)
    I just got the PureConnects and I LOVE them! Hopefully they will continue to work for me. I have gone through several pairs of shoes over the last month trying to find the perfect pair.

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    1. I LOVE these shoes. Honestly the best fit I have found...very low though and I worked into them just a few miles at a time.

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  6. Fast, fast, fast, but lots of fun it seems. You are a true racer, well done!

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  7. 6Ks are kind of crazy. I love running in races where the college and high school cross country girls are. They are fast! And it's fun to try to keep up. :) I credit at least one PR to racing with the cross country girls. Congrats!!! Great race as usual. :)

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    1. ooh...and now I am curious where you are racing against CC girls! ?

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  8. you are crazy fast. Nice work!

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  9. You are right, there are not standard distances in the trail races but for you this is not a problem. You are always fast.
    I am a "trail lover" but I didn't have many possibilities to race, not popular here when I could.

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  10. That sounded like a hilarious and fun race! I always find it entertaining to run with high schoolers, they are always in great shape and funny as well. And jumping over hay bales? haha

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  11. Sounds like a fantasttic run. You are awesome. Congrats too.

    btw - as for your paces: wicked!!!

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  12. Um, wow. Your pace is nuts. I have no doubt that I would die if I ran that fast for three miles.

    Great race report, and way to go!

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  13. Nice race and race report! It sounds like you really had a good time. Very cool!

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  14. My, my girl...you are speedy!! Way to have a good time ;)

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  15. blessed indeed! blessed that you found your way. haha. I love this. SO FUN!

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  16. Look at you jousting with the young cross country chicks!! You ROCK! What a fun little adventure to boot! :)

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  17. Raina, you are flat out AMAZING. Wow!

    I LOVE trail races, so much fun!

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