Wednesday, March 14, 2012

First race of 2012, starting on a good footing

About a month ago I headed up to Caesar Creek for a race on the trails. But this time it was trail running -- my first running race off-road. I was super excited, it fit in nicely with my training schedule. I've been putting in some slow miles off-road training for the Flying Pig marathon, doing lame 12-14 minute miles in Ault Park. I kind of wanted to take it easy and run 10mm.

The race was put on by TOPO Adventure Sports, Brian and Mike are some badass organizers who put on some sweet adventure races.

So my race was surprisingly similar to a bike race. I got off to a slow start. After a couple minutes the racing bug bit me in the butt and I started passing people. After about the first mile I found myself in a group of guys who could run a similar pace — and this is where it got super awesome! I forgot to mention that we were running in super cold temperatures on snow — kind of felt like the last couple of cross races where you are sweating like a maniac despite the icicles forming in your nostrils.

This other guy and I were really equally matched. I was faster on uphills but slow on downhills (just like when I MTB, weird?!) and the other guy was vice-versa. I used my new technique of high cadence and forward lean anytime the trail flattened out and I feel it made me super efficient. I also used a slight lean on the uphills too.

I had what turned out to be 6th place in my sights just before the mid point turn around. I was burning matches left and right, trying to manage my heat by zipping and unzipping my jacket. 6th pulled away and I think I blew up a bit. I didn't realized that perhaps I was unzipping my jacket a bit too much and it caused my lungs to get too cold to take in air.

So I was 7th and 8th wasn't far behind. For the last 6 miles we battled! He would close the gap and I would fight to open it back up. Downhill he would nip at my heals and uphill I would attack. In the last miles mile quads started to fall apart and I lost my uphill kick. At one point I was dashing along a ridge next to the lake and the sun and turned the snow to ice. I hit a loose corner and wiped out! I thought I lost my place, but I got back up and battled.

It almost came down to a sprint. He was closing from behind but I was able to hold off a 15 second gap! We both thanked each other after the race, it was nice to have a friendly battle to push ourselves.

The competition really helped, I was just going to go out and run 10 minute miles, but I ended up being fairly consistent despite the terrain:

1 9:05 9'05"/mi
2 18:37 9'32"/mi
3 27:24 8'46"/mi
4 36:43 9'20"/mi
5 45:04 8'21"/mi
6 54:12 9'08"/mi
7 1:03:11 8'59"/mi
8 1:12:38 9'27"/mi
9 1:21:24 8'46"/mi
10 1:31:21 9'57"/mi
11 1:40:51 9'30"/mi

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