(I love having a job that has given my weekends back....)
So glad about my decision to register at the last minute (Monday).
I went into this with no idea what to expect. I pictured myself hanging in the back of the pack with not a competitive bone in my soul.
Until I crossed the start line........and I kept passing people. And realized there weren't very many people ahead of me.
It was the most beautiful morning. It was slightly overcast, causing a 10 minute period of an orange sky. (I got to watch all this, because I arrived to the race way too early. My nerves always seem to do this.) Pictured below is a shot of one of the trails we took - prior to the sun peaking over the mountains.
It went from that, to this within 10 minutes.....
And it was time to start the race!:
I originally planned to take some pictures while running the race, with my lackadaisical attitude about this race. But, again, my competitive spirit came alive.
It was probably one of the most challenging races I've done. We were running up mountains - so there were some insanely steep areas. Also, almost the entire 10 miles of trail was sand. There was maybe a mile of packed down gravel, but the rest was sand. If you've ever run on a beach - you understand the
defeat challenge of running through sand.
At miles 2, 4, 6, and 9 there were stair climbs. In fact, the race is advertised to have 92 stairs to climb. One of them has 30 stairs. There was a point running up these 30 stairs, where I thought, "I wonder how many people have had a heart attack climbing these." (Ha! :/)
I ended up placing in my age group - and got 1st place! 7th place for overall women's. (I got 35th overall. There were a lot of men running this race.) I seriously think this is my favorite sport! I just feel so happy trail running - you're so close to nature, in the mountains, beautiful views all around, and the environment at these races is different from a road race. People just seem more at ease.
Trail vs Road:
It's an interesting comparison. I've done numerous road races, and there is definitely a difference.
In fact it's funny, as I talk with friends who are serious "road racers" -- many of their comments along the lines of: "could never do a trail race - because it's too crammed," and you can't pass people freely and that would make them crazy."
Trail racing has more of the spirit of "The trail is narrow, I can't pass, I'll pass them when I can. Look! A fresh water stream!!"
Physically, believe it or not, trail racing is much less hard on one's body that the road. Yes, you run up and down very steep grades of mountain. But you're on sand and gravel that has some give. Not pavement.
Today, the only soreness is my muscles in my abdominals & calves - that's from the muscular stability required to run through sand and around rocks.
(However, I did have to soak my feet in the pool yesterday for a long time in order to extract a cactus needle out of my toe. Ouch!!)
After road races, I usually have sore knees, sore feet, and I'm on a short-term NSAID regimen.
I'm not dogging on road races, and will continue road running. But this definitely opened my eyes to a new love!
What are your thoughts on trail vs road? When you are attending an event you are nervous about, do you get there insanely early? Or do you try to get there just on time, to eliminate that phase of "wait & worry".