Monday, March 29, 2010

Fool's 25k Race Recap

What a wonderful race! The course was so well marked and the volunteers/aid stations were so amazing that I almost forgot that it was cold, wet and rainy. The race started in the open field at Pine Hollow. I don't know what it is about morning races, but I love the excitement and anticipation. Wondering how you're going to fare...will the body hold up...will a new injury surface (please No!)...will I set a PR (uhm, no, not when the final leg is Salt Run). So off we went along the path to Little Meadow (which was lotsa muddy), Cross Country trail, and Lake Trail. The mud was thick and I swear there were a few times that I actually heard suction noises as I pulled my leg/shoe out of the mud. I ran with a couple nice girls and we laughed about how exciting it was to get all muddy and each of us were excited about taking pictures of our shoes at the end of the race. After crossing Truxell, we went through Ledges Trail. Simply beautiful and technical (that's code for rocky and rough). Before I knew it, we were at the Happy Days Aid Station and 5+ miles completed. I love ultra aid stations - the PB&J is so fantastic. I mean, at road races you're lucky to get water AND gatorade and possibly a Gu packet at like mile 11 or so. My aid station excitement would soon come to an end as I began to feel the first rain drops (oh crap!).

It's funny, even though I've run the Boston Trail a couple times previously, I can't explain how exciting it is to finally finish the loop and pop back out to Happy Days. It's like seeing sunshine again! We retraced our steps back to the Ledges Trail, Pine Grove Trail, then Kendall Lake. Around Pine Grove, I was running with Karen and Mitch, then Eddie joined us. Having company certainly made the running much easier and much more enjoyable. I was beginning to feel the pull of a tight left hamstring so the company was greatly appreciated. It was also about the time we crossed Truxell to Kendall Lake that the rain was really coming down. I was too focused with thinking about what lies ahead of me (Salt Run Trail) that I didn't realize just how wet I was getting. Salt Run was tough, but at this point Eddie was starting to have trouble. I found that helping another runner muddle through took my mind off my hamstring and I started having additional energy. Even though Salt Run was a tough 3-3.5 miles, at least this time, I can say that I walked with purpose. At Regis, I walked like I was in the desert without water.

I finished in 3:48 alongside Eddie and behind Karen and Mitch. The best part of this is that I finished 13 miles in 3:47 at Regis and finished 16 miles in 3:48 at Fool's. The courses are almost identical in the trails run, the conditions at both races were tough for different reasons. At Regis, the snow made your footing tough and the ice was tricky to navigate. However, the mud wasn't any easier. I was slipping, sliding and sticking through a great deal of the course. When I came upon gravel sections, I couldn't contain my excitement. But it was pretty cool learning where to find your footing and learning how to power through. I can't wait till July's Muddy Paws 5-Mile Trail Race. I'm running with Jameson (puppy) and Greg (the hubs).

The course was great and the overall experience was wonderful. I was very impressed with the effort that went into the course markings. At no point did I ever have to guess which way to go. Even better, there were signs on adjacent or connecting trails that read "Wrong Way" so you knew exactly which direction to go. The scenery was breathtaking. There were times I just wanted to pause to take it all in and to snap a quick picture. I really hate that I didn't snap a picture at the beginning of the race while on Little Meadow. I was toward the back of the pack and it was so cool to see the runners winding through the trail. I couldn't help becoming nostalgic for my cross country days. So awesome.

Meg was a volunteer at this race. She was quite the trooper. We had to get up at 5:00 am and leave by 5:30 so I could have her checked in at the volunteer station by 6:30am. I would like to say this arrangement required me to make a Starbucks bribe to her, but that wasn't the case. She actually did it to hang out with me. Plus, she's good at cheering on the runners and knowing how to work an aid station. She worked at the start/finish, which also served as the second loop for the 50k runners. So thank you, pumpkin, for spending the morning with your mom! Hope my blue, shivering lips at the finish didn't scare you too much :)

This race certainly made me excited about my April triple challenge. Best of all, I'm not sore the day after and I can't wait to get back on the trails!

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