This race went about as expected – which is to say I was undertrained, am very sore today, and finished in about 1:45. Ok, so my actual finish time was 1:50, but I think I predicted it pretty closely considering I’d never run these trails before.
But first we need to back up to the week before, because I almost kept up my absurd string of DNSing. (Almost every race I registered for between September 2016 and now, I’ve been sick or injured on race day. The only 2 races I made it to I signed up for the day before.) Last Tuesday I skipped my planned run because I was exhausted. Wednesday was more of the same, but I went to the gym for about 20 minutes and felt a bit better afterwards. So after that everything was fine…haha nope. I spent most of Thursday and Friday on the couch with tea and soup. Saturday I felt mostly ok, so I picked up my race packet and hoped for the best.
The race covers most of the trails in Lewis & Clark State Park. The official race description says there’s over 1,200 feet of elevation gain, though if you believe my Garmin it’s actually over 1,600. I guess that is technically more than 1,200. In summary, it looks like this:
I ran the first mile thinking “ah, nice runnable trail”, and then the uphill started. I actually felt relatively ok on the uphills during this race. Well, no, I felt more like I was lightheadedly oozing up, needing all my energy to keep any forward momentum. But my splits suggest I was hiking pretty briskly, despite my feelings. The top of the hill brought the first aid station and then a downhill. Wheeee.
By the time I got to the second aid station the sun had come out from behind the clouds. I asked, without much hope, if any of the volunteers had sunscreen. Nope, no one was expecting the sun….I’m a bit sunburnt today. The trail after this aid station and up the second big hill was super muddy, making climbing up even more draining. By the time I got to the top I just wanted to sit on a rock for a minute, but compromised with myself by stopping just long enough for a couple pictures.
And it was (almost) all downhill from there! But by this point my lack of endurance had caught up to me. I was cruising at an easy-for-downhill pace and couldn’t get my legs to move any faster. I could even see/hear the finish line from more than a mile out – which encouraged me to pick up the pace, even if it was a false hope – but nope. The downhill momentum may have been the only reason I was still running.
At the finish line I ate a big bowl of chili with chips, and then I went home and snacked for most of the rest of the day. Not an exaggeration. My body was not sure what to do with that level of activity. But I’m no more tired today than I would expect after running almost 2 hours, so at least my cold/fever seems to be vanquished.
Uphill or downhill?
First thing (after the shower) when you get home from a race: nap or snacks?