Today I ran my first trail race of the year. And also my first Animal Race. And so it begins!!!
The race was in Chula Vista which is south of San Diego so I drove down last night and stayed in a hotel. It was kind of a last minute decision but I think it was best since it would have been a 2.5 hour drive and I had to be there by 6am to pick up my bib.
I woke up this morning at 4:30 and had my regular pre-race breakfast - Gu Brew, 2 mini bagels, and a banana. I put my gear on, packed up and headed out by 5:25. It took me about 25 minutes to get there and I beat the traffic into the lake parking lot. I checked in and got my bib and then went back to the car to keep warm. I realized right before we started that I'd forgotten to bring a gel with me. I didn't panic though because I'd filled my small UD bottle w/Gu Brew and figured that would be enough. And then it was time to race!
The RD's assistant sent us off in 2 waves. The 10 min per mile or faster wave and then the ones who'd said they would be slower than 10 min miles. I chose to be in the second wave with the "slow-pokes" and "trail snails" (per the assistant who included himself in that group so nobody hit him. ;) ). I wasn't sure how I would run this since I have the 50K on Saturday.
It was a little crowded going out. We started off on a gravel road for a little less than a mile and then it was single track. I wasn't feeling very aggressive so I didn't try and pass too many people. The single track was pretty smooth, it had some rocks and roots but not like I've been on. This was a plus because at one point I was in the middle of big train of runners and I couldn't see around the runner in front of me to see what was coming. I learned to listen to his footsteps and when he hit a rock or something, I prepped for it.
The "train" lasted until around mile 6 and then it opened up at the aid station. I took advantage of not stopping and took off so I'd have some breathing room. After that, I passed quite a few people. I was feeling good and decided I wanted to run my own pace and not everyone else's. This worked out great and was a lot of fun.
The course was a T shape and when we got back to top of the T, they sent us out on the patch that included the "hills". They weren't long or very steep so I had fun on them. A lot of people were walking them and I passed them as well. Towards the end of the T, there was a swampy part that had a wood bridge over it (we crossed quite a few of these but most were shorter). There were people going in both directions and I had to stop and wait for my chance to get through. It was muddy going over and I had to take it slow because my shoes (New Balance WT110s) were a slippery on it. Other than that, my shoes performed beautifully and I loved them.
There was more passing of people on the way back to the top of the T. It was starting to get pretty warm but I was still feeling really good. Once we got back to the T, there was hardly anyone around and I let myself fly. Which is, of course, when I tripped! But I didn't fall. So there. Lisa 1 Trail 0. Ha! I reminded myself not to lose it now and kept going. Passed some more people. Which I have to say is a lot of fun. I just picked a person in front of me and ran them down like a coyote after a rabbit. ;)
I heard my Garmin beep at mile 13 and knew I just had a little more, but didn't know exactly how much more. I remembered reading that the course was long. Well, it turned out to be 13.71 per my garmin and that gave me enough time to catch a few more guys and then one last woman right before the finish line. The announcer warned her that I was coming up on her fast but she either didn't care or was too tired. That last .71 was at 8:34 pace. Not a bad finish kick, if I do say so myself. :)
I finished, got my medal, my hoodie & beanie, and got some water. They had no post race food there which was a bummer but I'd packed my usual snacks so grabbed a bar. There was a post race party at The Corner in San Diego and I decided to check it out. They weren't posting results at the race, only at The Corner. The Corner was also where you would pick up one last piece of swag...a beer glass.
It was packed there and took a while to get food. It was pretty good, especially the bacon! I waited around until 11:30 and the RD still hadn't shown up (they said they would be there by 10:30). I had a 2 hour drive back home and lots to do (plus a massage later) so I decided to leave. So I don't know what my official time was or what my place was in my age group. And I won't find out until they are posted on the web...on Wednesday. Boo!
The course was awesome. I loved it. Lots of variety. One technical section that we went through twice (and I walked both times). The trail was well groomed. I loved the hills and flying through the trees. The views of the lake were awesome and the day was gorgeous! Really, a perfect run on a perfect day. I think if I can get better at technical, get more assertive with passing, and get better at bombing the downhills, I could shave some time off. I didn't run this one all out because I wasn't wiped at the end, but I still ran hard.
This was the inaugural running of the Wild Horse Half Marathon. I think they did a pretty good job for their first race there. However, since it wasn't their first race ever, I think they could have been a little more organized. I would rather have had food there than say the beanie and beer glass. The Corner was really crowded and you had to wait a long time for food. Also, it was weird that you had to go to The Corner for overall and age group prizes. And that if you didn't go, you didn't get your prize! So that meant the fast men and women who finished before way before 9 had to wait until after 11:30 to get their awards? Doesn't that seem excessive? The course cut-off was 3 hours so everyone should have been "done' by 10:05, at least as far as timing goes. But those were the only 2 things I would have liked changed. Not that I was in the running for a prize but it would have been fun to see them handed out.
Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend too. Did you race? How did you do?