Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I wore safety pins and came home with a necklace! ~ Autumn Trails 10 Miler

It's been a while since I raced!
Had I known how long I would spend rehabbing and rebuilding from a running injury, I might have made a certain 26.2 mile training run in February count a little more.

Yesterday I pinned on a bib for the first time in 50 weeks and headed to a local race, called "Autumn Trails".
My favorite shoes right now- Brooks PureGrit2

This race has been around for a few years, but I was never interested until this year. My injury recovery training has led me off the road (as much as possible) and to different terrains where I could focus on things like scenery, form and footing, rather than pace.
It's been refreshing. My body likes it.

I arrived early, after eating a PB with Honey and coffee, and registered (with some deliberation) for the 10 miler. (The other choices were 3.5 miles, 6 miles, and 16 miles.) Given the nature of trails, this was an approximation. We were advised to bring copies of the trail map. Luckily I had practiced this trail 3 or 4 times in the last several weeks, so I had a general idea of where to run and where to turn around.

My race goals were (in no particular order) :
- smile
- pay attention to my foot and run accordingly, run my own race
- ignore my pace and try to keep a moderate-high heart rate as much as possible
- NOT trip 
I wore my fuel belt with water, which leaks ALL over the place and needs to be replaced.

The start times were staggered, but at 10:05 the 10 milers left and took a loop around a flat bark path, which made a great warm-up. Before long, runners spread out and we all headed up to the Ridgeline trail.

The next few miles were a steady uphill climb with several switchbacks. I could see that there were at least 2 women ahead of me, but I had no way to tell for sure until we reached a turning point. My arm warmers came off right after crossing Fox Hollow road.

We didn't have a downhill until about mile 3. But it's hard to say how far we had gone exactly.  My map distances are most likely off in a few places, since we probably lost our GPS signals in the dense tree cover. In any case, I could only smile when my Garmin beeped with an 11 something mile.

I'm throwing this in just for kicks, but the elevations and distances are most likely off here and there.

I trucked along a steep downhill, with many tight corners, to the farthest turn around (near mile 4), and saw that there appeared to be only one other woman in front of me racing the 10 miler. I circled round the water station, but didn't stop since I had my own- then I headed back up the hill for more fun.

Through all of this, my foot felt great. I was not in aerobic agony, but feeling tempo-ish, with legs a bit on the rubbery side here and there.

It was clear the leading female was a strong uphill runner.
Strategy started to enter my thoughts a bit, and I reckoned that maybe I could catch her on the downhill-- which we had a lot of coming up. Once we crested the highest point on the route- somewhere after mile 5- it would be almost all downhill (or in my mind it was).

The last three miles of the race were very exciting. I started to catch up with the leader, and actually was on her heels after the Dillard turnaround. This hairpin was tight, and the top 3 ladies all got a good look at each other passing on the single track. Here I discovered another woman was catching up with us both.

As we headed back towards Fox Hollow rd., it was uphill mostly. I reasoned with myself that I could let the leader get ahead a bit because I could catch her on the downhill. That was a mistake. She had more in the tank than I thought she did, and she knew she had 2 other ladies on her heels.

My mind was focused on a few different things now: 
-light feet with fast turnover (egg beaters),
-don't let yourself relax,
-don't slip or trip,
-and when you get to stable/flat ground GUN it.
She definitely was aware that I was there.

As we switched to a flat trail at Martin street I gave all I had left. I didn't have enough time to pull in ahead of her at that point, so we finished 2 seconds off of each other.. Interestingly,  the third female had also tried to catch us.  Her finish time was the same as mine. I had NO idea how close she had gotten in the last mile!
***
Other stuff:
After the race, I stayed to visit with some other racers: Lauren, who just recently ran the Chicago Marathon and some friends who live in Roseburg and raced the Grape Crusher (road race) the day before. I also had some time to visit with the 1st and 3rd female and get to know them properly. :) Both very nice ladies!

There were some fantastic post-race foods! Qdoba catered, and Muscle Milk, water or beer were there for racers.

There were good aid stations set up at each race junction with water and gels.

Course marshals were out, but one was not at a critical junction for the 16 mile racers, so many of them missed a leg they were supposed to run. I like how the race director handled it though! He quickly determined among the racers who were finishing the16 if they had taken the leg that went behind the butte. If not, he put them in a new category all their own, for "13 milers". Then he assigned awards for those people separate from the 16 milers. It was all very organized and classy- a good solution since no one intended to miss their turn.
***

Official stats say I ran the 10 miles in 1:19:58~ An 8:00/mile pace.
I won't worry too much about that.
It felt good to get in a workout. :)

***
One last thing..
The photographer did an excellent job, but I need to learn how to take better race photos. Not a single photo of me with a smile!! 

Next time I will remember to stop for at least one good one.


Next time. 




66 comments:

  1. Well done Raina!! Great commentary as it had me on the edge of my seat wondering if you were going to catch the leader!! I'm very jealous your out running!! I'll have to kick my heels for another month!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Steve!! I wish I had tried a bit harder at the Dillard turn to get ahead now, but honestly I am quite satisfied with second. It was not part ofmy plan to place.
      Please keep getting better from your surgery. You'll be back out there again soon, with new vigor!

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  2. Congratulations - what a great run! So glad you're back to running and racing!

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    1. Thanks so much, Karien!! It's such a blessing. ♥

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  3. Nice racing Raina. You needed another 100 metres to get the win. Pretty clever of the RD to add a 13 miler after the stuff-up. 5-minute ks is a pretty good pace for a hilly trail run and for your first race back. Pretty rusty I guess.

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind thoughts, Ewen! I wanted another 100m, but if I had it, it's very possible #3F would have passed us both! She's going to get very good- new to racing (running since Sept) and works in forestry.

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  4. You can delete a few of those "prettys"!

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    1. Nah... I like em! Makes me feel better about my own comments. haha.

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  5. Great job! It had to feel great to get back out there again. And what's all this "smiling" during a race? Does that help you enjoy it more? Man, I might give that a shot sometime. Great report - good job!

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    1. Thanks Jim! I know..for you it's all business!! haha :D

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  6. Sounds like fun! Great job!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Bruce!! I appreciate the encouragement. :)

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  7. Nice job on your first race back! I like the idea of making a 13 mile category. For me, it's easy to ignore pace on trails. I've got other stuff to do - look out for roots and rocks and notice the beauty, too!

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    1. Thanks Tina!! There were certainly some roots and rocks to look for. I believe you lived in Eugene at one point. Didn't you? I am wondering if you have hiked or ran Ridgeline before.

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  8. That's a pretty nice return to racing! And 10 miles with no injury pain is GOOD news!!

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    1. It sure does feel GOOD to be running again, Kate- Injury free! Thanks for commenting ♥

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  9. Super fast, lady! Glad you re feeling no pain, weven when speeding along the trails.

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    1. Ha!! Fast is all relative, right? ;D
      Thanks so much, Gracie! I hope you are mending well and getting strong.

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  10. That's a great time for a trail run, well done! I'm so happy for you that the injury time seems to be in the past. More racing coming up for you I'm sure.

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    1. Thank you , Johann! Trail times are not so important, as you know. What is important is running well and enjoying the gift. :) Hope you are doing well there in SA!

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  11. Excellent race Raina--congrats! Sounds like such an exciting finish! So glad you're back racing and your foot felt great!

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    1. Yes- exciting for sure! Thanks for your well wishes, Marcia! ♥

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  12. WOw! Sounds like an exciting race! Way to use the hills! Great time too! Carri~A Running bee

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    1. Thanks Carri! :)) Hope your week is going super and that CC is too !

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  13. Great job!! And your pace is awesome for all that climbing! :) SO glad you are running happy again my friend. :)

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    1. Thanks Erin!! It was the first time I have ran ANY section of this trail without stopping for air and stretching... haha.
      So good to hear from you today!

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  14. Congrats Raina! Great job on your race writeup and your performance. Simply outstanding race for you for being the first one in 50 weeks.

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    1. Thanks a lot Fred!! It was a surprise for me - I'm going to savor it a while :)

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  15. It was fun to see you out there, Raina! And I'm glad you're coming back strong. I love the trails, but this was definitely a good reminder that I need to run the Ridgeline more often! The race was well organized and definitely a nice post race atmosphere for such a small event.

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    1. It was great to see you again too! My opinion- you are doing GREAT to even consider a race that close to having done a marathon. Also, you have a partner for running if we can ever coordinate our schedules. :)

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  16. Well done Raina, from that smashing report it's obvious you'd a great race. Shame about the photographs but, to tell the truth, you'd be lucky to catch me smiling when I'm racing. Racing is serious business!

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    1. Nice to hear from you! Very true about the smiles and racing.. I had one on the inside, but it wasn't showing on my face :D

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  17. What a cute medal! And trail racing (and running), especially with that kind of profile, can't be equated to road running pace-wise. It's totally different. I would love to run 8 minute pace on our trails! (I ran a trail 5K last year at 9:10 pace...I think that was my fastest trail race!)

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    1. I think that medal is supposed to be Bigfoot.. ha! Who knows about trail pace. It might have been only 9 miles which would have made the pace even slower, but - as you know- it's all about effort. TThanks for commenting, Ilana! I can't wait to catch up with your blog!

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  18. Wow, that elevation profile is insane! 8 min pace over that?!? You are back in shape for sure.

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    1. Thanks Nelly!
      And you got your Stanford win... :P

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  19. now THIS earns the title of Amazing Race :). you are quite the incredible trail runner, and a semi-novice at that? looks like you found your new bread and butter/niche! awesome work, Raina! glad that your return to the racing scene was successful. you've been so patient and definitely earned it!

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    1. Thank you Emily!! I am so thrilled to find these legendary trails.. Now I know why they are legendary! SO MUCH FUN.
      Can't wait to get out there with you again- :)

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  20. Congrats, welcome back!

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    1. Thank you so much lady!! I hear you are running again ♥♥♥ :D

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  21. what a fantastic recap! I love race recaps that make me want to be there. I really think I would enjoy trail running - and I hope to explore that more this winter. It does scare me though given my history (I am STILL trying to recuperate a hand I broke when I fell during a run 10 months ago!) - but scary sometimes makes me safer because I pay more attention kwim?
    8 min mile? I can't even run that fast for 1 mile around a track! You are awesome!!!!

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    1. You really should give it a try! I find myself lost in the run more than on the road. It's nice to actually have to focus on the footing- at least for me. I bet you will be more careful and have more fun at the same time.
      Hope you have a great week!

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  22. Hooray, hooray, hooray!! You are back. And back on my beloved trails, to boot! It took me a very long time to chuck the ego when trail running because pace means nothing - effort is king.

    2nd place is fantastic and I am super happy for you. Glad you got to meet up with some others, too - always makes it a bit more fun that way.

    Congratulations, my friend!! :)

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    1. Thanks a bunch, Jill! Ego was gone this weekend..Honestly just wanted to have fun and I enjoy a nice pressure-free race (even when I am the only one putting pressure on!).
      Hope your own adventures are going well, friend! Off to check in 2 clicks..

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  23. You are BACK, and obviously in good form! Great work in this race. The report made for a really fun read, too. Congratulations, Raina!

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    1. I'm glad you were entertained, Terzah ;) Thanks so much for your continued support! ♥

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  24. Great recap and congrats on the race!

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  25. Wow incredible race, that course elevation is NO JOKE!! I can't imagine holding that pace up those climbs!! Loved this recap too, kept me interested and excited for you the whole time!!

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    1. You are right about the challenges of the course, but it made it fun. I didn't hold the pace- actually it varied HUGELY! haha :) Thank you for commenting, Laura!

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  26. You have a great point that you don't always get what you deserve in life. Yea, I thought I recognized the trails as being Eugene, then it was confirmed that it was - looked like Pre's Trail to me. She was saying that despite all the lingering injuries and surgeries that she's had she can still run 10 miles at 7 min pace or so - her stride still looks super easy just in looking at her run.

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    1. In regards to your post- She definitely is an amazing runner- still!

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  27. YAY!! A race report from Raina!! This makes me happy! :-) You have been SO PATIENT and I hope this is the first of many more to come.

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  28. You make me laugh that you keep popping on my blog to see if I wrote about my CIM training :). But I always love seeing you there. You can email me anytime, too :).

    Not really training for CIM, just going through a few motions whenever it suits me. I think Leadville and Pikes Peak just left me toasted and I'm enjoying having no structure right now. Probably come race day when I do poorly I'll regret this all, but right now it just feels right. My days of road marathons for speed are pretty much over....getting old and my heart's calling me to the trails (I think :)). Thanks for checking on me. Still smiling big for you and your awesome comeback! :)
    xo

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    1. We need some trails. Much easier to talk that way than email or blog comments! ;)

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  29. Congratulations on a great run, Raina. Is it coincidence? Your medal really matches your shoes. Together with the background (also greenish) it results in a great picture.

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    1. Thanks Thomas! I promise, it worked much better than the race photos did. ;D

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  30. Awesome race Raina! So nice to read about you having a great run/race :-)

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  31. Wise goals!
    You made a great race, congrats.
    A trail with such elevations and all those difficulties is more than a race: a real adventure!
    Brava.
    About the photos. To be sure to get some memories, I always take 3/4 photos before the start.

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    1. Thank you Stefano! Taking photos before the race is a great idea. :) Next time I will bring my camera.

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  32. Super job Raina! Enjoyed being carried away into the race via your recap, well done :) Welcome back to racing! Nice pick for the inital set of goals and then followed by the transition set. I believe racing (and enjoying it) is part training but an even bigger part - mindset!

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    1. Thank you, Nell! Mind over matter.. :)

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  33. Great job Raina! This elevation chart is no joke!!!

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    1. I have to agree.. went back there yesterday and - yep- it's hilly! - Thank you so much for your comment, Caroline!♥

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