I ran my first trail race on Sunday morning. It was a 10k in a race series that also had a 10m, 25k, and 50k. That's about 6, 10, 15, and 31 miles if you are bad at math. It was at Rosaryville state park in Upper Marlboro, MD. It is a really nice, wide open park with thick woods around the perimeter and rolling grass hills in the middle. The 10k was a little more than a half loop around the southern side of the park, while the 50k was three full loops. I didn't have a set time that I wanted to finish in, unlike the last 10K race I ran in Baltimore at the end of May. In that race, my goal was to finish in under 60 minutes. I missed the goal by 16 seconds. I was pleased with my time but somewhat disappointed in my effort. I took too many walking breaks when I should have sucked it up and kept running. For this trail race I knew I would have to run slower (to avoid tripping and falling) than I normally run on the road so it would have been foolish to try to beat a 60 minute finish. Instead my goal was to run hard and finish strong with minimal walk breaks on uphill sections. My finish time was 1:07:57 and I feel I met my goal and I only took a few walk breaks (only between 15-30 seconds) on the uphill sections.
The 50k racers, who obviously are deranged, started first at 7am, followed by the 25k racers at 7:30, the 15k racers at 7:33 and then us 10k slackers at 7:36. There were only 32 of us for the 10k (I finished in 22nd place, at least I beat 10 people!). The first half mile was on the asphalt road then we hit the woods which was a single-track hard packed dirt trail used by horse riders, hikers, and bikers (and runners). The trail winded thru the woods with lots of curves, turns and switchbacks going up and down the hills, rarely was there a time when you were running a straight path for more than 50 feet. Most of the time the trail was narrow with only enough room for one person along the main, well-worn path. You had to wait for a slightly wider section or hop thru a bit of overgrowth if you wanted to pass anybody. I started off pretty strong at the beginning on the asphalt and was only passed by a few people once on the trail. I passed several people during my run, probably some of the slower 10 miler runners who started just 3 minutes before us 10k-ers. Like this guy probably, who I had to pass just to get a better view, if nothing else:
There were lots of roots, fallen branches and loose rocks (and horse poop) along the trails that you had to constantly watch for while running, which required running at a slower pace to be careful. But staying alert and cautious was a nice distraction that made the miles seem to go by quicker. Plus it was nice scenery that was constantly changing, even if it was just a bunch of trees, rocks, and plant life, and it was nice to run in the shade with just the dappled sunlight coming through. There was an occasional puddle to hop over or around and one water crossing at the bottom of the ravine that was small enough to jump over with a good leap to keep your shoes dry. All of the other water crossings at the low points on the trail had small wooden bridges to cross.
When I run, I have to have music to keep me going, so I was a bit nervous before the race started when I didn't see anybody with earbuds in. I have heard that in some of the bigger races with big crowds, earbuds aren't allowed for safety/passing reasons. But nobody ever told me I couldn't and I eventually did see a few runners with them. I guess most of those weirdos like to talk when they run but I am too busy huffing and puffing to carry on a conversation. An eclectic mix of fast paced songs kept me going, including old school hip-hop (Run DMC, Rob Base, Tribe Called Quest, Fatboy Slim) classic rock (Metallica, the Ramones, Van Halen), modern rock (Audioslave, Foo Fighters, Black Keys, Sublime) and country (no wait, country music is terrible).
The three past races I have run (two 5k's and a 10k) had plenty of water stations along the way, but this one didn't. I had thought about bringing my water bottle with me but figured this race would be like the others and didn't want to have to carry anything besides my iPhone (for music and gps tracking the distance). There was only one water/aid station and it wasn't until about mile 4.5, so I was pretty thirsty at that point. I took a sec to chug a few cups of water and look at the text message I had just received from a buddy asking if I was done yet, since he knew it had been about an hour since starting and we ran the last 10k together in about an hour. I fought through the crushing blow to my ego (thanks Bryan!), and pushed through knowing I was almost done. The water/aid station was also the point where the different races broke off in different directions. The 10m and 25k runners went one way, the 50k-ers another, and us 10k-ers headed east back toward the start/finish along an asphalt road past an historic mansion and back onto the trail. The trail came out into a rolling grassy hill, then after a left turn past a group of trees the finish line could be seen about a quarter-mile away. I turned on the jets and sprinted up the gentle hill to the finish line to the subdued cheers of the few volunteers and the 10k-ers who beat me, where I was handed my medal and allowed to relax, grab some water and bask in my sense of accomplishment.
Not sure what is next, but I am definitely gonna keep running! Maybe the Marine Corps Marathon-10K (runs at the same time as the Marathon) in late October and the inaugural Annapolis Half-Marathon in late November, assuming I can do the proper training for it in the Fall...
Speaking of that, thanks to my lovely wife for putting up with my running and encouraging me. Especially since she is the one who got me started running. She worked thru the couch-to-5k and 10k training plans with ease last year and early this year, before the pregnancy, which inspired me to try it. She did it once, and I know she can do it again after the new little guy gets here. She will be beating me again in no time.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Our laptop is being repaired so I just wanted to pop in and say that we are very busy with swim team, playing at the pool, and vacation bible school last week but I've already been yelled at by my mom and sister to post more. So look for more frequent posts coming in August hopefully! In the meantime, I'd like to share a picture of Baby MC and B-Rad getting ready to go and watch the fireworks last night!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone