Thursday, March 15, 2012

Patuxent River Trail 10k: Feb. 25, 2011

Despite my desire, I am not as a huge of a trail runner as I'd like to be.  Most of my trail running has been done during races, mostly ultras.  The fact is, it's too easy to step out my door for a run than drive 30 or more minutes to a good trail.  I am hoping, as the kids get older, that will change.

We're off!

I jumped at the chance to run a 10k on the trails.  This would be my first non ultra distance trail race.  I was excited to try to run faster on the trails.  The weather had been wonderful the week leading up to the race, but that day was super windy and cold and rain the day before had made for some muddy footing on the course.  

The Quantico Orienteering Club put on the race for the second year.  Luckily, for me, I didn't have to use a compass to find my way, although the whole orienteering thing has me intrigued.  Described as mostly flat and non technical, I found it more challenging than expected.  

There were tons of muddy sections.  I have zero fear of getting down and dirty, but at 40 years of age the last thing I want to do (but often do do) is fall.  Slippery, squishy mud and my feet don't always mix well.  I stayed upright through all the mud, but of course tripped over a root or rock or something just as I was feeling confident.  I started to tumbled forward, but somehow managed to stay upright.  The lady behind me remarked that my core would be sore tomorrow.  I did roll my ankle a couple times, but all in all avoided kissing the dirt.

When I describe a course as flat, it's well, flat.  This course had some fairly steep, although on the shorter side, climbs that in the later stages had me power hiking. I didn't plan on doing any walking (which is par for the course in ultras) for this 10k, but  I was not the only one who decided to conserve some energy up the steep slopes that had fallen leaves covering a rocky terrain.  

Once on the open field, with the finish line in sight, I picked up the pace and finished strong.  Passed quite a few younger ladies.  Ultimately I didn't pass the lady that mattered.  I ended up getting 4th in my age group (40-49).  I hate to even share my time (61:45), which for road standards would be one of my slowest 10ks ever in my life!  But trail running is totally different.  Not only is each race course different, the trails are to be approached in a different way and with different outcomes.  Finishing time doesn't really prove or disprove anything about a the runner.  That's why I am pleased with the 4th place finish in a 10 year spread age group.

I hope to be lining up again next year.  Great race in a fun atmosphere.

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