I’ve registered for a 50K in February: the Cheaha 50K. To that end, I’ve started running on the trails and will do a few long runs on the race course itself. I’m excited about this race and trail running. Anything new and different adds excitement, and trail running culture seems kinda cool after spending so much time marathoning. And I’m convinced, from watching the example of others, that trail running can make me a better and stronger road runner.
When I saw the local Xterra race came online, I registered immediately. It seemed like a fun thing to do in the first two weeks following CIM.
This race is organized by Dirty Spokes Productions, a local southeastern group that puts on trail races and mtn bike races. Very well put on. Great organization, nice and friendly people.
This was my fourth trail run ever, and only my third in the last few years. I ran a trail in California following CIM, ran on my local mountain bike/hiking trail last week, and ran this race at Coldwater Mountain today. I had planned to just take it easy, get some trail experience, and make it a fun trail run. But then the race started! I started out at a nice clip, fell behind people of similar pace, and just ran. This is why I can’t do a lot of races as “training runs” because I hear the gun, and the gun means RACE!
The first mile or so is a gentle uphill grade until you hit mile 2 then you start a 2 mile climb. My training for CIM, and running Mountain Street (see earlier posts), left me with some good hill fitness and I passed a number of people on the way up. Passing in a trail race is a delicate thing. Single track trails require some etiquette and deference and patience. If you pass too quickly you might fall off the mountain or trip on a rock, or knock the person down. Or become known as the “jerk who passes too rudely.”
This “watching where you run” stuff is new to me. I had to wear my glasses so I could tell rocks from leaves. I never wear my glasses on the road, I can see well enough there to run, but the trail requires less Mr Magoo and more 20/20 vision.
Bottom line is I had a blast. I need to learn the foot strike of the trail runner though. Shorter choppier steps as opposed to smooth easy strides, I think.
I finished the 9.6 mile race in 1;30:32. Was 9th in my AG. And fell in love with trail running.