If you voted in my poll the other day…THANK YOU!! You helped me to make a very tough decision this weekend.
There were a couple other factors that led to my decision as well. For one thing, it snowed Friday. This snow was not gone on Saturday morning. After the temperature went up to about 60 degrees in the afternoon though, it was almost as if it never existed. (Thumbs up from me.) The forecast for Sunday ended up being a little warmer than Saturday morning and the winds were about the same.
Also – and I’ll go into this more in my training recap for the week – but starting on Tuesday night a chronic rotator cuff injury that I’ve been dealing with since I was a teenager flared up. The flare up was so bad that I would wake up in the middle of the night unable to move and screaming for my husband to come help me. It was scary. I needed the extra day to see if I could get the pain under control and by Saturday evening it wasn’t looking good.
Then I guess I figured out the correct ibuprofen/hydrocodone cocktail and woke up Sunday not-pain-free, but with a better range of motion than I had had all week. I figured I would give it a go. I wasn’t planning on actually racing anyway because this was all part of a longer long run so I didn’t even need to worry about doing my best. I just wanted to log the miles.
The race was at 8am. I woke up at 6 to medicate, tape my shoulder, eat a little breakfast and give myself enough time to get dressed because getting a sports bra on over my head had been a challenge the day before. I arrived to the NCR trail head at White Hall a little after 7am, paid my $2 to register, pinned on my second race bib of 2015 and prepared to knock out a few miles before the race start. I had never run north along the trail from this location and as it turned out I was in for a treat! It went through the Gunpowder Falls State Park. There was such beautiful scenery and beautiful waterfalls rolling past the trail. The temperature was a cool 35 degrees and I was feeling very little pain as I ran.
I managed to get in a little more than 4 miles and when I arrived back at my car everyone was lining up to start. Perfect timing! I ate a few Stinger chews and found Sara. We hung out for a couple minutes before the airhorn sounded to kick off the race. Our club races are small, but there was a better turnout this year than there was last year. We all got jammed up at the start, but pretty soon things fanned out.
One nice thing about the fact that I had already been out running (beyond being REALLY warmed up) was that I did not know exactly how far I had run or what my splits were like. I could have performed some simple math in my head to somewhat figure it out, but ain’t nobody got time for that. I preferred to enjoy the mystery and instead went by feel and without worry of time or distance at all. My watched beeped at each mile, but those beeps were for my own personal run. I hoped I wasn’t confusing anyone near me because they were not indicative of how long we had been on the course.
Despite the nasty weather we’ve had, the trail conditions were GREAT! There were a few spots with a bit of mud or standing water, but overall it was so much better than I ever would have anticipated. The temperature was pretty perfect too and they had two water stops set up along the way so that we would hit each twice (the course is an out and back). The volunteers were friendly and boisterous which really added to a nice race experience for everyone.
I feel like this race flew by and it was so weird to come to the end with absolutely no idea what sort of time I was running. As it turns out, I finished in 1:14:35 (8:02 pace) and got second in my AG. Only 50 seconds less than my PR last year! It makes me kind of excited to do it again next year when I haven’t run 4 miles first/won’t have to worry about running an additional 6+ miles afterward! I wish I knew what my splits had been.
At the finish they had all sorts of awesome treats for us: drinks, bagels, fresh fruit…and I couldn’t enjoy any of it because I had to get going! I quickly slugged back a cup of Gatorade, refueled with the GU and chews I had with me, and bid farewell to my friends. More on how the rest of the run went later.
I love club races. They are always fun, the people are always nice, the volunteers are always great, and they are 2-freaking-dollars. Oh and often there is someone taking photos so you get a race pic or two for free.
The biggest downside to this race? When I arrived I overheard the race director saying that they had taken the port-o-john that usually sits at the White Hall trail head. And sure enough, it was gone. It had been there not even 12 hours before. WTF!? Who takes a port-o-john the night before there is an event scheduled right there!?
Or better yet, who just randomly takes the port-o-john EVER? That thing is ALWAYS THERE!
Interestingly enough, as I was leaving the house I suddenly thought that maybe I should bring some toilet paper along just in case. And this WOULD end up being the first time I’ve ever had to pee in the woods while out on a run. Oh well. Consider it a rite of passage and at least I had that TP.
Did you run or race this weekend? How did it go for you?
I hope everyone has a great start to this new week!