I did my first "ever" trail race this morning.
The race was 3.8 mile run around Wolf Lake. The 6th year they've held this race. Well organized with 156 runners and some additional people hiking/walking. About 70 F and humid. A local high school marching band played the "Star Spangled Banner" prior to the start. The mood was very positive.
As the race started, the band played Ozzy Osbourne's "Ironman". I smiled.
We had to cruise around a softball field. Loop the outside of the whole field to start and then down onto the trail. The trail was down hill then up and then down and up and up and down and up. Ran in grass for about 1 mile before getting to the woods where the trail was dirt with roots, rocks, leaves and grass. I could see the erosion from rain. The footing was more difficult, but it wasn't mud.
I ran up and down all the hills until I came to a steeper downhill slope in the woods. This was around 2 miles into the race. I could hear a few runners behind me so I moved to one side and shuffled down the slope as a guy in a yellow shirt flew passed me, arms flailing. Since I had never run this course, I didn't want to take a slope on my back or my head. I was in my normal Asics running shoes.
Back out of the woods onto grass with a mile to go, I was breathing hard enough that I knew I couldn't go any faster. I wasn't catching the two guys in front of me, but I had some people on my tail!
At the 3 mile marker (the first marker I saw during the race) a couple of guys behind me push up even closer. In my mind, I slowed my pace by 5-10 secs per mile as they did that. I felt I could recover for 90 secs before making a final push for the finish. We had about 1/2 mile left.
One guy slowly slipped past me, but I could tell he was breathing hard. Then the other guy asked me if I had on a GPS watch. I wanted to say "Yes and it's going to help me beat you!", but I just said "Yep." I looked back toward the guy in front of me to see if he was in my age group. He looked a bit younger. Finally we could see the finish a 10th of a mile ahead. I took off sprinting passed the guy in front of me finishing 5 seconds in front of him. The "GPS asking guy" was a few seconds behind him. Woo!
I finished the 3.8 miles in 29:06. Very happy with my finish considering the hills and that it was on grass and dirt. It was below my target 8:00/mile pace for next weekend's marathon relay.
I was 15th overall. ...much better than 16th!