Monday, March 21, 2016

Winning at Staying Upright: Lost Pines Trail Run 10k

This Sunday I participated in my second-ever trail race, the Lost Pines Trail Run 10k. I have been running trails off and on throughout the off season and intend on doing them a lot more, as the bulk of my season this year is made up of XTERRA tris, so although I wasn't training specifically for this race, I used it as a self-assessment to see where I was, and ultimately where I need to improve.

On Friday it was 85 degrees and sunny. I worked from home until early afternoon and then decided to take my new Maverick Multisport kit on a test run with my dog. We did 4.5 miles at a 9:17 pace- a pretty good clip for me, especially in the high heat and humidity! I was feeling pretty good and felt like the FIRST training program I've been using was showing some benefits. I did take one short break to hop in the creek with my dog because, well, it's hot and I wanted to see how the kit felt wet.

I am also a total tri nerd and got my photographer to snap a few shots of me in my kit with my bike after she finished taking my bridal portraits a few weeks ago. I can't share the dress photos, but I love these two photos she shot!

The kit fits perfectly and it's really comfortable, thanks to the great materials Sugoi uses. My one issue is that the top rides up really badly when running. This is NOT something I experience with my Moxie jerseys, so I was was kind of embarrassed essentially running in a crop top unprepared at the park. However, I tapped in to my crafty side and sewed on some snap fasteners to the hem of the top and along the hips of the shorts. I did a test jog around the house and I think this will do the trick- allowing me to keep the top down, but also still enjoy the benefits of a two piece kit!

By the time Sunday rolled around, the weather had done a complete 180 and "winter" returned. It was 36 degrees and windy outside- a far cry from the sweat soaked heat just two days prior! I bundled up in my Moxie Merino wool half jacket and merino wool jersey along with some gloves and a hat and was ready to race!

We arrived at the Rocky Hill Ranch (after paying $10 additional per person to get in. This is not the race's fault but rather a requirement of the venue and they clearly state it on the registration website.) and parked at around 7:45 with our race beginning at 8:30- 30 minutes after the half and full marathon start, which seemed to work really well.

Packets are nothing fancy- your bib and a t-shirt, but for a $25 race, that was great. The shirt color was pretty meh, and I likely won't wear it, but the logo is cute, so hopefully they pick a better color next year.

After making a bathroom stop just in case, my friend and I went to put our shirts in the car and waited there where we were out of the wind until about 8:20. I switched the lenses on my sunglasses to the amber ones, a lesson I learned the last time we mountain biked at this particular park. With the tall trees and splotchy sunlight, full lenses can be too dark, but you still need something to cut the glare. My glasses worked perfectly for that, and considering the fact that I never tripped despite copious loose rocks on the hills ("Rocky Hill," get it?) I think it was a good call!

The race began right on time and we were off! The first two miles were pretty uphill, with some flats and dips to break it up. I let my two girlfriends out of my sight pretty quickly, as I had nearly died trying to keep up with them at a 5k a few weeks ago. I decided to keep a steadier pace this time and to focus on my stride and my breathing. I'm competitive, though, and single-track running brings that out in me, so I still did a lot of passing and likely went slightly too hard. At mile 2 I was pretty hot in my jacket and gloves, so I took those off, stuffing the gloves in the pockets of my jersey and tying the jacket around my waist. I felt great until about mile 3.

Then, my stomach decided it was both hungry and angry I had eaten. I had a banana, a KIND bar, and a gel for breakfast, and for some reason, that was not OK on this day. It really solidified my decision to switch to Infinit. (Code "Maverick" gets you 10% off!) I've been testing it out cycling and running and it's really made a difference in my GI situations that tend to arise when I run. Unfortunately, I hadn't used it this morning. My stomachache caused my heart rate to be less consistent. That plus some pretty serious peaks and valleys caused me to finally start taking short walk breaks.

Trail running is fun because there is, for me, less pressure to be super fast. I still look forward to being faster than I am now, but for the time being, I am OK knowing I'm not going to pull 9min/miles on the trail. Some of my later miles were faster than my earlier ones, and some weren't. All of them were spent in the gorgeous Lost Pines woods away from noise and traffic and SXSW hipsters, so they were all still amazing.

In the end, I finished what was actually 6.7 miles (some watches got 6.9!) in 1:20- slow even for the extra-extra 10k, but not bad all things considered. Once I get my stomach under control, I really feel like I'm going to be able to kick it up a notch, maybe even keep up with my speedy friends.

Our medals after we bundled up in dry jackets!
Speaking of speedy friends- our friend Kari was third woman overall out of 69! AND considering the SXSW party we had attended all day the day before, that was extra impressive! Tasha finished 6th overall and I ended up 16th overall. They did not break it down by age group, so I have no idea where I ranked there. I'll go ahead and just guess 1st. :)

After finishing we had time to wait to see a few other runners we knew come through, including our friend Cindy who was on her redemption tour. The year before, she had a really nasty fall during this race that left her pretty hesitant to try trails again, but she came and conquered her fears, telling us that when she saw lots of rocks, she just walked, and that was perfectly OK!

The race was simple without a lot of production, but that was nice and it was well worth the money spent to run it. We had yummy sausage wraps, plenty of chips and other snacks, water, and a keg of Shiner beer at the after party. The medals are great quality, even though I didn't expect to get one since it was a 10k, so that was an extra bonus!

Like our friend Cindy, the rest of us also managed to not trip and fall during the race. Given my experience at my first trail run during the BCS 30k last year, this was a great victory for me! As Tasha said, we didn't win, but we definitely were winning at staying upright!

Kari and her surprised face!
After the race, we drove back home and I hit the showers. It was a lazy Sunday after that, which involved wrapping my legs with a little Primal Sport Mud to help with recovery and taking a nap on one of the tables Bryce is building for the wedding. Which is in just over a month!

Sore? Put some mud on it!
My first XTERRA race is in two weekends and I'm looking forward to seeing how I improve on the trails as the season progresses!

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