Saturday, January 25, 2014

Training Week and Forge Dirty Soles 10km (1/19-1/25)

Sunday (1/19): 7 miles
Easy seven followed with barefoot and form drills. Then core strengthening at home.
Monday (1/20): 10 miles
Hill repeats at Tunica falls. Two mile warm-up. 16X300 meter hill repeats with a 1:1 speed to recovery. Average: 1:29 a repeat. Two mile cool down.
Tuesday (1/21): Day off
Wednesday (1/22): 10 miles
Tempo run on flat at sports park. Two mile warm-up. Six mile tempo at 36:30, 6:05 min/mi pace. Followed with two mile cool down. Toned down the intensity a little.
Thursday (1/23): 8 miles
Easy eight on the Beast with Grits. No barefoot drills, too cold and too much rain. Core strengthening at home.
Friday (1/24): 6 miles
Easy six in the ice/snow on the Beast with Grits.
Saturday (1/25): ~13 miles
Ran the Forge Dirty Soles 10km, followed it with 6-7 miles.

Weekly Total: 54 miles

Forge Dirty Soles 10km Race Report
The original plans for this weekend's race never came to fruition. We had planned on camping Friday night but having spent two hours driving to Baton Rouge in messy winter weather was enough driving for one day. The race start got pushed back to 9:30 on Saturday so we left at 7:00 am hoping the interstates would be open; unfortunately, they weren't. It took two hours and forty-four minutes to make it to the Northlake Nature Center in Mandeville from Baton Rouge. I was getting really anxious sitting in the car knowing we weren't going to make the "official" start. Finally we arrived at 9:44, much to my surprise and relief people were still walking towards the start line. I quickly gave Maureen a kiss then basically ditched her (sorry dear) and ran off. My warm up consisted of running from the parking lot to the bushes to pee then running to the start where I dropped my warm-up clothes and put on my racing shoes. I managed a few strides during the pre-race meeting and we were off!

Immediately a few of us separated with me leading and not surprisingly we missed the first turn! Now we were stuck in a large pack and I quickly found an opening and ran to the front, the other two guys immediately followed. The course is mostly wide open sections that are flat throughout the woods, very similar to a cross country style course. However, there are a few technical single track sections which were the only spots I was able to open up a gap. Its pretty difficult to open up a gap on a four minute miler but I was trying and my only hope were those single track sections. Every time the trail opened up he quickly reeled me in. There were a few tight unexpected turns we quickly over ran and had to slightly back track. There were also numerous boardwalks and bridges that were extremely slick making it difficult to maneuver on at high speeds. The pace was pretty consistent and quick but at twenty-five minutes he took off, after the hard week of running I had nothing to answer with. Suddenly, I felt demoralized, tired, and sloppy. It became a difficult effort to not let him out of my sights. We hit a water crossing with approximately a mile left, we were supposed to cross, touch a specific tree covered in flagging, then head back across the water where we came from. Well, we both touched the tree but he didn't turn around. I was so focused on chasing him that I didn't turn around either. Then people started yelling at us to turn around so I quickly turned around realizing what I was doing wrong and headed back for the right trail. He was running so fast he disappeared into the woods quickly and they basically had to run after him yelling at him to turn around. After getting back on track it was a long flat straight away to the finish. This part was mentally tough as you could see the finish from way off and had to battle a head wind the whole way. As you got closer to the finish a quick dip back into the woods really pissed you off! The whole time I just imagined him catching me but I held on to come across the line first.

I love racing and the competitive aspect of running but I really don't enjoy winning this way. I was clearly beat had he not gotten lost. Winning in such a way doesn't give you the same feeling of winning out right, it felt like I didn't earn the win. I understand that a large part of trail racing tests your ability to stay on course. I made a decision today that at the time seemed right. I received mixed emotions from some and I can understand the argument. I'm sorry if that decision offended anyone, that was not my intention. I know that today I was beat. After all it was only a race and who won was of little consequence. What is most important was that despite all the bad weather and setbacks we were all able to come together to enjoy some trails and friendly competition all in the goal of having a good time. A special thanks to everyone who participated, volunteered, Forge Racing, Jeffrey Beck, Brenton Day, and Cesar Torres with Q50 races for promoting trail racing in Louisiana. Another thanks to all the runners that I've had the joy of competing against at the past few races, I'm fortunate to be able to test my abilities against some fast people.

Photo credit: Miriam Thompson

Photo credit: Miriam Thompson

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