This race was the last in Endurance Buzz Adventure’s High 5 challenge and to be honest, I was kind of bummed going into it.
This was supposed to be my last race after completing an ultra marathon-it was supposed to be a chance to race just to enjoy racing and the community, one last hoorah to close out the year. Instead, I found myself standing at the start of the 5 mile distance because it was the only distance I felt capable of doing at the moment (4 distances were run that day-5 mile, 18K, 36K, 55K).
So mentally, I was struggling to get excited. However, physically, I’ve been feeling good and my knee has been feeling stronger so I was ready to push it a little bit and see if any of speed work/hill repeats have made any differences.
The 18K’ers and the 5 milers started together before splitting up after about the first mile. The trail through the Isle Du Bois state park is twisty and turn-y, not hilly per se, but with enough subtle change in elevation that you were rarely running on a flat surface.
Once we split from the larger 18K group, I found myself with a few people in sight in front of me but no idea where I was overall in the pack. Were those people the front of the 5 milers? Or the chase pack? Or middle? While that felt a little discombobulating, I would occasionally see Jason ahead of me as the trail switch backed and curved in on itself and knew that meant I was doing well if I was able to stay in sight of him. (I really need to get a watch with GPS/pace).
As usual, I chugged along sort of by myself. The people in front of me were just enough ahead of me that we weren’t really running together and I only caught glimpses every now and again of someone far enough behind me that they weren’t really catching up. I blew through the midpoint aid station in 25 minutes, waving off the offer for a snack and kept plowing ahead, happy to have a gauge on where I lay time-wise.
The trail was rooty and rocky and covered in an even layer of slippery leaves so I stayed careful of my footing, never taking my eye off the trail (well, except to gasp with glee like a 5 year old when three deer ran past me), and always mindful of the knee. I really wanted to see how well I could do in this race but I knew the minute any twinging cropped up, I was going to have to back it off-it wasn’t worth risking my knee. Finally, in the last mile/mile and a half, I passed the gray haired lady I’d been dogging for the duration of the race and kept her behind me as I forged ahead.
(side note: one thing I love about running in general and trail racing in particular, there is almost ALWAYS someone old enough to be my grandma in front of me keeping my ego in check.)
At that point, I was beginning to feel my energy flag a little and once again wished I had a GPS watch so I knew how much further I had to go. Finally, the roots and rocks gave way to the paved trail we started on and I kicked in a little more as I rounded the corner and came through the finish shoot.
Dave, the guy in charge of EBA was there, as he is with every single finisher, to present me with a finisher bottle of honey, my High 5 cowbell and…wait what? ‘She’s an age grouper’, the volunteer manning the timing station said.
Yep, I placed second in my age group, third overall female across the line. (I looked on the webscorer site today and I’m now listed as 3rd in my age group and 4th female overall. The stats I saw were live stats the day of the race-I’m emailing for clarification and will change this post accordingly once I know for sure).
cowbell with blue ribbon=High 5 challenge, cowbell with black ribbon=2nd place finisher
My first time to place in a race EVER (regardless of whether it’s 2nd or 3rd) and a really gratifying way to end the year, especially given the disappointment of not being able to complete an ultra marathon.
I also had to buy this photo of me taken during the race because it cracks me up-it looks like I’m being chased by a bear or something. (in actuality, I was at a road crossing and checking for cars).
In fact, here is my rendition of what that would look like.
I crack me up.
Hope everyone had a great weekend-run safe out there!