Monday, May 5, 2008

The MAZE -- My first Trail Race Race Report!

Amazing. That was a complete blast people. I can see how you trail-er trash get hooked. SO MUCH FUN!! Of course, I only did the 10k...the 30k might not have been nearly as much fun.

Nonetheless, I had an absolutely wonderful experience!

Erin and I decided that we would just run easy...being that this was our first trail race and all. And considering our trail running experience is limited at best.

It was a gun start, so all the big kids lined up at the front and E and I placed ourselves somewhere respectably in the middle. But as the race began, we both realized that we could easily go quicker than the pace we were currently going.

The trouble with trail running is that, well, you are on a trail. Mostly single file. So in order to pass, you have to be very strategic, be willing to take on some shrubbery, and do some interval work.

So I dodged and weaved my way through some traffic until I came upon a couple whose pace looked good to me and I just glommed on to them. The looked like veteran trail runners, so I figured I'd just do what they did. When they passed folks, I passed folks. When they slowed down on the uphills, I slowed down too.

I followed them for probably the first couple of miles...which I'm finding is about how long it takes me to warm up. So at this time I felt like I had more get up and go, so I went. I found an opportunity on an uphill and went for it.

Now, if you've ever run with me, you know I have a long, loping, high stride...which seems pretty suited to trails apparently since I'm pretty much to bounding over rocks, roots and stuff with my natural stride. Go figure. So on this one up hill the couple started picking their way up the right side by stepping on several rocks that were jutting out here and there. I, on the other hand, went up the left side..planting my left foot once, leaping half way up the hill to land on my right, bounding off that one and BOOM left foot on the top of the hill..the couple still lightly stepping there way up the right hand side. Buh-bye.

And just ahead I saw Bill Carroll and Amy...both who also appeared to me to be veterans at this trail running thing. Glom opportunity #2!! I settled in behind Bill who was behind Amy. Where he stepped, I stepped. I know I was supposed to be watching the trail markings, signs and flags to make sure I didn't get lost, but I figured those two know what the hell they are doing and so what if I get lost...that'd make for a great story anyway.

I followed Bill all the way to the midway aid station. They stopped and had water. I did the same. I told Bill I was just hanging on to their heels and I hoped they didn't mind. He said not at all, but as soon as we began, he turned and said to me, "I'm slowing down...just follow Amy."

"Uh...ok" I thought to myself. oh shit, what have I gotten myself into because as I turned to look for Amy, she was bombing down a hill already. CRAP! "Easier said than done!" I shouted over my shoulder to Bill as I sprinted to catch up to her.

She literally flew down this first hill, seemingly to only use her steps to guide her body in the right direction as she free falled to the bottom. I just put my feet where I saw hers were and caught up to her. We must've passed 5 or 6 people on that single hill who were gingerly picking their way down. I thought wow..I think I just took the express elevator....that was kinda fun!

She kept a good pace and at one point we found ourselves alone for awhile. We even chatted for a bit. She offered encouragement, saying I was doing great for my first trail race. I listened vaguely as my focus was solely on the trail and what her feet were doing. Here's a pic of me (gratis Glenda) following Amy.

As we rounded the corner and headed into the finishing stretch, I could hear a woman coming up behind us. "Amy, we can't let her get us...she's coming!"

"Go ahead!" Amy replied.

I felt like I still had plenty of gas left, so I put my foot on the accelerator and charged. I could feel the other woman pouring it on as well...but I'm a kicker and I'll be damned if you catch me from behind in the last 100 meters! I'll die first.

I came in at 0:59:04.5 gun time (57:57 my watch time). She (Gayle Williams) came in at 0:59:05.4. Amy was right behind her at 0:59:06.2.

That..people...was a blast.

Followed that with cheering and libations as we watched our 30k friends finish (including Lulu and Wiley) and spent the afternoon chillin in the park, having bevies and gnoshing on snacks. What an awesome day.
Special thanks, of course, to our friends who came out to cheer us on and take pics! Y'all rock! :)

Thanks Austin.


Lulu said...

Great job D! I am so glad you enjoyed yourself :)

MikeW said...

the Loop 30km?!?!?! just kidding. heheheh

Flying down the hills is the ONLY way to do it!

shubbe said...

I was complaining while out there about people like you and your long damn legs. It's like gazelles (that'd be you) vs dachshunds (that'd be me). Un-freakin'-fair. :)

Great job, and nice to see you out there!