This race went way better than I could have ever predicted. In January and February I was really training hard, too hard. My knees started getting sore and I had to get some cortisone shots. I then decided to take a little time off from running and play basketball to get a break and let me knees rest. I was planning on a week, maybe two weeks of rest. I got some ribs broken which made breathing painful and running next to impossible. So I ended up taking much more time off than I had anticipated/wanted.
We moved, I got a job that really sucks my running motivation out of me. My training hasn't been there. I went into this race knowing that my training was poor at best, and I might argue that it was down right awful. My Parents and Wife kept talking about my "race", I had to remind them that I was not in shape to race and that this was just going to be a medium distance run for training for UVM on June 13th.
This is a hard course that has about 4.5 miles of trails, and many really steep and long hills. From 1.5 miles to 2.1 miles there is a 245' hill. Then at 3.3 miles to 4.1 miles it goes up another 235'. Its a hard course. But I have found that I get a greater feeling of accomplishment on the tougher courses.
The race started on time, which is always nice, especially since I took some caffeine pills to give me a little extra boost during the race. Jon Heslop and Ben Van Beekum took off at the start. I knew I couldn't keep up with them even if I hadn't missed 1.5-2 months of training. I let them go, but somehow found myself in 3rd place in a race that I wasn't planning on racing at all. Unfortunately that only lasted for about a mile. I was passed by 3 guys before we got to 1.5 miles. When the first one passed me I started to go with him for 2 or 3 seconds, but I caught myself and reminded myself that I was not racing and I didn't want to do something stupid this early on a tough course, so I let him go. Soon after, 2 more guys passed me and I didn't even think of going with them.
We got to the hill at mile 1.5 and I was about 40' behind 3rd place and 20' behind 5th, but I was fine with that. After about .1 miles I noticed they were coming back and I felt like I wasn't working too hard on this really steep hill. It must have been my incredibly well rested legs :) . By the time I reached the top of the hill, I had passed all 3 guys and had about a 30' lead on the 4th place guy. I thought about going hard on the somewhat flat trail for the next 1.1 miles and putting some distance between us. I again had to remind myself that I WAS NOT RACING I was just running, so I used the flat trail to recover from the hill.
At 3.3 miles the 4th place guy was now about 80' behind me, so he had been recovering as well. I started up the hill and quickly felt how out of shape I was. I contemplated walking for a bit, but kept going. I got the the top of the hill, and the 4th place guy had closed the gap a bit and was now only about 40' behind me.
4 miles into the run is where I decided I was no longer just running, but that I was going to race and try to take 3rd overall. I knew the worst of the hills were over and that I could push myself for 9 miles.
For the next 1.4 miles the 4th place guy kept closing the gap I had on him. I couldn't see 5th or 6th, so I didn't worry about them. At about 5.4 miles we got back on trails. I have run on trails very few times (maybe 3 or 4 times in 7 years), but I have liked it every time. I pushed a little harder on the trails, hoping to increase my lead. I looked back and saw that in very little time I had really increased the lead.
Right around mile 6 the trail starts going down hill. It loses about 250' in half a mile. I lengthened my stride and let gravity pull me down. This was the last spot I saw the 4th place guy. I kept pushing and hoping that I was on the right course. There was one point where I had to run around a locked gate (which ended up being the right trail).
Around mile 9 my calfs started cramping up. Nothing major but it was annoying and I thought about stretching them out for a minute. I just changed how I was landing on my feet. I had been landing on the ball of my foot, but changed to landing mid foot and the cramps went away. They only came back once or twice over the next 4 miles.
The last 5 or 6 miles were really uneventful, just running and following arrows. I started passing 5k runners with about 1 mile to go, that helped pull me in a little faster.
They only awarded the overall winners (but left them in their age divisions) and top 3 of each age division. I was hoping for a 3rd overall ribbon, but I guess a 2nd age division is good too. I ended up about 15 minutes behind 2nd overall and 16 minutes behind 1st overall. I was the first finisher that isn't a sponsored runner, for some reason I am taking a little bit of pride in that.
I also one a $30 gift card in the raffle that my wife and I can use on a date night.
After the award ceremony I ran an additional 3.1 miles to give me 16 total for the day.