Monday, October 29, 2012

Race Report: Illinois Ozark 10K Trail Run

Saturday morning was beautiful.  It was sunny and the high 30s at race time.  There was a slight breeze.  I was fretting over my clothing choices because I was chilly getting ready.  I had to remind myself to dress for the run and not the standing around pre-race.  We got to the park and picked up packets.  It was early enough that I went back to the car for a few minutes to relax.  It finally got close enough and I head out for a short warm up.  I had a GU with me, but decided to save it until mid run.  About 15 minutes before start I finally dragged myself out into the cold.  A final restroom stop and time to warm up.  We ran a short loop around the streets near the ball field and headed to the line.  After the national anthem, I moved to the front of pack and tossed my jacket to the sidelines.  We got a whistle and were off.
I still feel odd when I move to the front -- like an imposter.

I stayed with the lead group for about half a mile.  I was trying to pace with them, but realized it was something I couldn't sustain -- I needed to run my own race.  Around about that time, Ryan passed me.  With his long stride I wasn't surprised.  We hit the trail a little less than a mile in and started going up, up, up.  From last year I remember how much energy I expended trying to run this first one.  I switched to a quick walk and focused on turnover.  I was able to pass two of the ladies who had passed me on the pavement, as well as Ryan.  At a mile and a half we finally hit the top of the bluff.  I began running again and the trail began its descent.  I kept my eyes on the trail and moved as quickly as I could without tripping over my own feet.  I finally reached the bottom and the flat section of the race.  Ryan passed me again, as did some girl who came out of nowhere and made me feel like I was standing still!  I saw the three mile mark and knew I was halfway.  I was mentally preparing myself for the climb that was yet to come.  I came out into the opening and got passed by another woman.  She had been in the lead group with me at the start and I had passed her on the first climb.  I grabbed a cup of water and began the uphill.

The beauty of trail running...amazing scenery.   
Finish strong!

I found a good walking pace up the stone "stairs" and managed to pass the woman again.  Ryan was just ahead of me.  Leg speed, leg speed.  I got passed him again as well.  The trail flattened and I ran again until it tilted back up.  Time to walk again.  I saw another woman ahead of me and I tried to shut down the gap.  I was closing in on her until we reached the top.  She was able to descend faster than me--story of my life.  This descent was less treacherous than the first.  It was also the uphill we originally climbed.  I saw the marker for mile five and knew I was close to pavement.  I popped out of the woods and onto the road.  The first half mile or so of the road was downhill, until we made the left back to the park.  It was around there that Ryan passed me again.  I tried to move in behind him and pace/draft off of him, but I couldn't match his stride.  I turned the corner into the parking lot and started moving my arms faster hoping my legs would follow suit.  Finally the finish!  I had no idea how many woman were in front of me, but I was just glad to be done.  Official time was 55:29, a little less than two minutes faster than last year's race.  1st in AG, 4th in women, 19 overall.

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