The Race: Description Yesterday I ran my first race of the season, the Bimblers Bash “10K” Trail Race in Guilford, CT. The race took place in Westwoods Trails, consisting of mostly technical single tracks. My FAVORITE kind of trails! Lots of rocks, bridges, and a variety of beautiful scenery. There were a few rock scrambles, which made it even more challenging and fun! Also, as they warn you when you sign up….it is LONGER than 10K! My Garmin read 7.03 miles at the finish 🙂
Leading Up To The Race: I went into this race very excited, yet nervous. Excited because: These trails are awesome! I couldn’t wait to get out there and run them. Nervous because: I knew I had not put the training in that needed to be done to do well in this race. If you have followed my past posts, you know that the winter weather puts me in a bad place mentally, therefore physically. The trails have been unrunnable due to the snow/mud, which lead me to only do a few road runs (yuck) and a couple trails runs (drove towards the shore=less snow) That was literally 6 runs since February 1st…NOT GOOD! Usually I enter every race thinking I will NEVER win it, but also thinking I am ready and have the possibility of placing in the top. This race, I was thinking I want to finish feeling okay.
During The Race: I had no idea where I stood for this race. I know my natural “out of shape” is better than some people’s “in-shape”. I think this is based on my LONG history of being an athlete and always being in shape, and also being a personal trainer/fitness instructor. Instead of sitting at a desk, I do 20 Burpees while teaching a class. Small bursts of activity I tend to overlook.
I say all this to say, I had no idea where to start in “the pack”. I went out Friday to scope out the course, and I knew once dipping into the woods the first mile of the trail was narrow, single track. I knew I had to enter the woods about where I wanted to stay for a mile. That may have been my first mistake. I spent A LOT of energy the first mile trying (and failing) to pass people. I had to dial back when I just wanted to open up, and that made it tough.
Once we hit a wider trail, I was able to make a few passes, where I found my friend JD. He is ridiculously fast, nearly a pro IRONMAN and I started to get nervous…”I’m out of my league” “I need to dial back” However, it was easy to see he was NOT out there to run his hardest (or get hurt) and after a few minutes of chatting, I passed him and his buddy. I immediately regretted this, as I turned to a steady incline and just wanted to walk! I couldn’t get repassed as I huff and puff, walking up the hill, haha.
At this point, I was about 2.5 miles in and my goal of finishing feeling “okay” seemed to be unattainable. I had the quick thought that “I just want to finish”. I quickly realized that I was letting my head get the best of me, and I needed to just pretend I was out doing a training run. I soon spotted a small group of people, with 3 girls in the mix. My favorite part had begun: hunting down one runner at a time. I had NO idea if the girls I was trying to catch were Top 10 or Top 20. At that point, I didn’t care…I was doing all I could to catch them, pretending they were 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
I was able to get my head back in the game after hitting a couple fast, windy sections…allowing my legs to just go. I passed the 1st girl about 1/2 mile later, and was right behind the 2nd. Looking back, I loved/hated this part of the race. It became a chess game: should I pass? when should I pass? how should I pass? We started to hit the rock scrambles, and it made it so much fun. Climbing right behind my prey, as if we were in The Hunger Games! After less than a mile of trailing the 2nd girl, I passed her and eventually closed in on the last girl in sight. At this point, I knew I wasn’t battling her for Top 3, but I had an idea it was probably Top 10, based on the runners around us. I stayed right behind this last girl for another mile, debating whether I should make a move to pass her. My Garmin read 6.3 miles, and I was wondering, “how long IS this race?” I saw no end in sight! Soon after, we started to see spectators, and I knew we were close. One guy said, “one more hill” (he lied, there were like 3 more) “you’re almost there…5th and 6th female” I decided when we hit the field I would give my all to pass her, but I just didn’t have it in me. I finished .4 seconds behind her for 6th place female overall. Not too shabby!
Post Race Thoughts:
- I need to start believing with the right training and nutrition I could be a top Trail Runner
- I need to get more experience. I have run 2 trail races in my life, placing 3rd & 6th female and I know if I played the “game” right, having more experience, I could have done better.
- I need to get my head right. Less anxiety. More confidence.
- I need to start training more and smarter.
- I need to decide what I want out of my racing. How good do I want to be, and at what distances? Short and fast (5k-half) or longer more steady runs (marathon-100K)?
Stay tuned for answers to these questions…