|Finishing Lord Hill - photo by K.|
I'd volunteered for last week's trail race for a few reasons. I'd never been to the Fort Ebey area on Whidbey Island and wanted to see it. I like getting the volunteer credits to apply to race entries later in the year. And, most importantly, I knew I was running in Evergreen Trail Runs Lord Hill 10 Miler the following weekend. Last week was a rest week and I figured volunteering was a good way to not run.
Too bad my body had other ideas and after the rest week, I developed mild virus with some mild body aches, mild congestion symptoms and an odd rash. Friday, I thought I was fighting off more sinus issues than I like and started coughing. Still, I never felt that terrible and managed to hit my target weekly miles for the week: 42 miles. When I was not feeling great, I kept it very slow and easy and prepared to bail every run if needed. Of course, this week was the week that every run was also in rain and wind. Oh joy.
Saturday I went out for an easy 4 miler and felt much perkier. Perfect timing for a 10 mile trail race then! Of course, we'd had so much rain and even some snow that I was pretty certain the trails would be a bog. I would not be disappointed and I was really looking forward to this event even though the weather was supposed to be iffy for day of race. I've never been to the Lord Hill Regional Park which was mostly why I picked this race. Happily I was able to talk a couple friends and K into joining me. Another friend also got talked into the race so we had a full car driving out the less than 45 minutes out to the trail head. It would be K's and the other friends first trail race.
|Oh Lord Hill because they can't print curse words on maps.|
Since the footing was so slick, I knew I was working a lot harder and figured I'd better push calories earlier. I had a gel at 3.2 miles and hit the one aid station at mile 4 not too long after. The kind volunteer filled up my small handheld water bottle, i grabbed a piece of cooked potato and dredged it in salt and took off chomping on the salty goodness. I was hoping to see some of my friends on this out and back section of the course and they did not disappoint. Just as I was about to duck onto the single track again, I saw both RPD and the trail racing newbie and made them stop to take a photo. Happy describes this photo well.
|Happy Trail Runners|
Of course I'd gotten passed by quite a crowd when taking a photo. That section of trail ended up being the most technical and I felt pretty slow on this section. Pretty soon we got back onto a section of both trail and fire access road which was more runnable. I took another gel at 6 and realized that this fun was going to end sooner rather than later. Too bad because I was feeling good!
And that showed as I caught back up to teh group who had passed me when I'd stopped for the photo. Eventually we got to a downhill section and I started consistently passing people. That was a great feeling! I hit the last screaming downhill running well and was very happy to finish under 2 hours. I looked at a 10 mile trail race I'd done in 2009 and had come in under 1:50. I was hoping to finish in about the same amount of time today but knew once we'd hit those trail conditions, that wasn't possible. Could I hit under 2? Yes!
I was dressed well for the conditions and never felt too warm. Many of the trails had creeks running down them and add in shoe sucking muddy sections, dry clothing and dry shoes have never felt so good. And as an added bonus, they had a great spread of food at the finish. I knew we were going out to breakfast afterwards though and that was also a lovely treat with great company.