Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A midweek trail race?

Photo from Northwest Trail Runs
What a fabulous idea! I wasn't planning on racing this at all. I had run the morning before and then ran a few miles in the morning the day of the race. I figured the race was a good way to get some fun miles in through a park which is very near to my house and to just enjoy the fun and energy of a race. I've run countless times through Ravenna park but had never been off the main trail. I was looking forward to running the other parallel trails on this 4.1 km (2.5 mile) loop course that I'd run three times. 

Traffic was some sort of horrendous after work but I mostly managed to miss it and got to Ravenna Park in plenty of time. Northwest Trail Runs day of race registration was open which is nice considering just that morning I'd signed up for a race in January which sold out in about an hour. Day of race registration was certainly pricier but even last week i wasn't sure how i'd feel post half marathon so I hadn't wanted to register.  I also just wanted to support a local race which offers really nice, friendly, well run events. 

It was a small group who were lined up at the line drawn in the dirt on one of the well groomed packed gravel/dirt trails. I figured it would be a pretty even mix of people running the various distances (1, 2 or 3 loop). I took my watch off of auto mile lap and just planned on hitting laps for each loop. This would just give a better overall pace on this rolling hilly course and help me keep it easier. I really didn't want to race.  

Yes, I kept telling myself this over and over again.  No racing! I wanted a moderate fun run and planned on a very easy first loop and then picking up the pace to more moderate each successive loop.  I didn't count on the half mile downhill start with a lot of excited trail runners! So after that blast off, I settled down especially once we ducked onto a trail I'd never been on. It was gorgeous! I just worked on keeping it steady and slowing down especially on the wider flatter sections (so I wouldn't impede anyone behind me.).  I stopped to take a photo and the gal behind me caught up. We were going the same pace so started chatting. Perfect! 

Turns out this was her first trail race and she would be running her first half marathon in a couple weeks. She was a recent transplant from AZ and was feeling the manic call of the long, long light days we have here in June. She was doing great but you could tell she was not really used to hills so after running with her for about two miles (through loop 1 and into loop 2), I pulled ahead on the gradual downhill section which i like running. Loop three was just get it done. I wanted to run strongly so did push on the downhills and worked on form going uphill. I was passing a bunch of guys who had probably gone out too hard. I stopped for one more photo (stairs!) and was pleased to come in with pretty even loops and a slightly faster 3rd loop. It wasn't racing but a good moderate, strong run and I felt great. 
There were hardly any women in teh longer event so I ended up with 2nd female overall which caused me to snort a bit.  Hey, I will take it! They had grilled hot dogs at the finish so i had one and came home for real dinner.  I was worried that running harder like that would make it hard for me to go to sleep but I hadn't run hard and had no problems zonking.  I can't make all of these summer series races but I do hope to run a few more of them. Really fun!  

And I spent some time looking for trail maps of Ravenna (they are named on little way signs on the trail) but couldn't find anything. I did find a very nice history of the area with some great photos here (scroll down) however.  Ravenna Park is really a little gem of a park and I'm really thankful that such a place still exists here in the city. 

Future run course?!

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