|Photo from NW Trail Runs by Michael Lake|
I did a few of these races last summer. They were great fun, a great way to get in an excellent and challenging mid-week pace work and featured a relaxed cheerful atmosphere with grilled hot dogs. Of course I planned on a doing a few more this summer. Evidently i had so much fun that they ended up putting a picture of me on their advertisement!
|Hey, i know that runner!|
Fortunately the races I'd planned to run are not real technical trails which is good because I've only just started back to testing out the foot and ankle with shorter trail runs. Three weeks post cortisone shot and my foot is feeling normal. It's a strange feeling and I don't trust it at all! I am still making sure to do the necessary physical therapy exercises/stretches plus I'm also making sure to keep my tight calves properly rolled out with the foam roller. I'm cautiously optimistic that everything is settling down and I can tell that i'm feeling more solid when running. Solid? That means that things (namely glute muscles) are working as they should so no undo stress is put where it cannot handle it.
I think i was in better shape for last year's 12k at Ravenna Park. This year i was signed up for the 8k. I looked at what i'd done in the runs coming up to last year's race and I was pretty well rested with a shorter long run. Plus it was only in the low 60s on race afternoon. This year, I did a very hilly and hard 20 miler and it was going to be 80. Yeah, those legs weren't going to be fresh.
So the main goals were to try and keep under last years overall pace for the 12k (9:15), keep the 4k laps even and run hard. It worked out that K ended up coming to race as well. he'd been well aware of me gushing about how fun these races were last year. We got there in time for him to register and do a mile warm up while i pointed out how the race markings on the course worked.
It's a fast start and we were off and immediately I was feeling pretty good. I reeled in my pace and was happy to see a couple women i'd been chasing pull off after the first lap as they were only doing 1 loop. I did stop for a quick water stop but got a surprisignly sweet drink instead. I thought it was water. I continued on the second loop with one gal ahead to keep in my sights.
Of course I had one of those stupid moments. The course is open to general users and a couple people who were out for their afternoon runs got onto the trail just ahead of me. I knew this yet I still ended up following them off course up a hill for just a bit. D'oh! Fortunately I realized this fairly quickly but it did cost me some time. That gal was now a little farther away. We turned to the section where there is a gradual downhill before the final last mile rolling uphills. I'd planned to run harder here and I was happy to be able to do that and stay strong on those uphills. I passed the gal!
Overall pace? 9:13. Woohoo! And I did keep those laps even. K called it "hard" and enjoyed his hot dog and watermelon just as much as I did.