Well, that was fun and HARD!
Today I completed my first trail race and my first 5 mile race!
BTW, which sounds more impressive? 8K or 5 miles? …. Neither you say? Pfffft.
It was a great and challenging experience. The race was at the beautiful Lake Chabot reservoir, about 20 minutes away from my house! It’s wonderful to have several great race organizers in the Bay Area. If I could afford it, I would race every weekend! This event was put on by Coastal Trail Runs and I found it to be very well-organized.
Since it was a small race, there was no advance bib pickup. My start time was 8:15 but pick-up began at 7. I am always paranoid about being late (the curse of the Bay Area musician) so I left my house around 6:40. Since daylight savings is tomorrow, it looked like this:
Pumped some old T-Swift (judge not...) and hit the road. I arrived there in no time, got my bib and headed back to the car to stay toasty and watch the sun come up.
About ten minutes before go-time, I walked back to the start line and made some conversation with runners around me. People were super nice at this race. Gotta do more of these so I can make some trail running buddies. We got a brief briefing (couldn’t resist) about the course markings and we were off!
As usual, everyone surged past me. I wasn’t purposely running conservatively at the start (about a 10mm) but I guess everyone just really loves to tear away at the start. Fine by me! I spent the first mile warming up and taking in the scenery. The number of naturally gorgeous places in the Bay Area never cease to amaze me. There were some rolling hills in the first mile but I was able to set a nice sustainable pace.
The second mile had the majority of the elevation gain. As I approached each hill, I slowed down, shortened my stride, and pumped my arms if I was feeling tired. I was pleased to run the hills when so many were walking but I was humbled by the steepest and longest one. I made it halfway up, stopped to walk about 10 steps and resumed shuffling. I know you aren’t supposed to fly downhill but quads be damned. The descents in the third mile felt so good, I couldn’t help myself.
Most interestingly, I found myself getting a little……competitive. As I passed a number of women around my age and fitness level, I began to entertain the idea of placing in my age group. This is obviously only a possibility because it’s a very small race. Still, I became aware of who was around me and whether or not the ladies I passed were catching up. For a few miles, I chased a chickadee who looked about my age but she smoked me after that monster hill. Bye, friend…
Every time I checked my pace, I was pleased. I was on track to finish under 50 minutes, which was my goal. I passed another couple potential competitors just before the fourth mile. I spent the last two miles pacing myself behind one dude and pacing another guy who was practically on my heels for a good mile. I got the sense that he didn’t want to be “chicked” (hate that term) by me because with half a mile to go, he turned it on and cruised ahead. Go for it, dude.
Just before the finish, I saw the girl I had been chasing in the first few miles. She was walking away from the finish line and I thanked her for motivating me early on. She laughed and I flew past, kicking it in for my own strong finish!
After getting a teensy cup of water, I chatted with a couple ladies. One told me that I won the award for “cutest outfit.” I love her.
Because I’m a total idiot, I didn’t stick around to find out my official time OR AG placement. According to RunKeeper, I finished in 46:41 at a 9:27 avg. According to the last three years of AG results, that time *should* place me in the top 3! My age group only has about 10 runners but the idea of placing in my first trail race is still SUPER AWESOME. I’ve been refreshing like a maniac but since there is a 50K event, I imagine the website won’t be updated until tonight. Whomp.
So, more than this being my first trail race or first 5 miler, it was truly my first race. I pushed myself and while it was challenging in the moment, as soon as it was over it felt AWESOME. Like “when do I get to do this again?” awesome. Well, the answer to that is tomorrow when I run the Mt. Diablo 5K. Woot!
Anyone racing this weekend?