Call me crazy, but I went and ran a 10K trail race the weekend after Ragnar, on May 7 (I seem to have this thing for running challenging 10K’s the weekend after an ultra). The race wasn’t too far away and I figured if I was going to be out running trails may as well do it with others instead of solo. Plus it was a Mountain Junkies race, and Josh and Gina are the best. I was nowhere near recovered from Ragnar and this was solely a training run. I even fought the urge to race someone at the end – as luck would have it she beat me by less than a minute and snagged third in our age group. Ah well, it was for the best. Here’s my race recap, as part of the Weekly Wrap linkup, hosted by Tricia and Holly.
I hit the road to head up to Roanoke around 7:15 AM and arrived at Explore Park off of the Blue Ridge Parkway a little before 8:30. Parking was tight, but I found a spot. I wasn’t actually registered for the race, yet, and with the 9 AM start I was worried I wouldn’t have time to register get back to my car and then get back to the start line (Partly because I didn’t actually know where the start line was. Spoiler alert: It was basically next to my car!). So I took only what I needed from my car, stashed my race shirt at headquarters, and put the change from my registration fee in my sports bra where it would stay for the race.
I had time to hit the porta johns and then it was time for the pre-race prep talk pep talk (aka the pre-race meeting, but that’s not as fun to say). This was not the normal location for this race, so there were a few extra instructions including a heads up about a really sketchy bridge towards the end.
I talked to a few friends, met a few new people, and then it was time to head over towards the start. The half marathoners started a little after 9 and 10 minutes later the 10K followed. Our first three tenths of a mile were uphill. Overall, the race course was much hillier than I expected. The only time I have run at this park was a 5K in the snow and I basically blocked that out. 🙂
The first three miles of this race blur together for me. There were rolling hills and I ran the first mile and a half or so before taking a walk break. My legs and body felt super tired, still, from Ragnar. I also felt like my Achilles were really tight and my calves were on fire. But it was good practice running on tired legs, and I don’t think the distance was longer than what I should be doing.
Around mile 4, we dropped down to run along the river. The downhill was a little sketchy, so I took it easy going down it. It felt good to run along the flat section, although it felt pretty hot here with the sun shining down on us. Don’t get me wrong, though, it was a gorgeous day to be outside and be running trails.
The final two miles had a fair amount of uphill (see elevation chart above) and my legs were really feeling it. My right hamstring has been bothering me lately, ever since the North Face 50K. It doesn’t really hurt per se, but it’s been telling me it no longer cares to be attached to my hip/glute area anymore. I’ve been putting more focus on stretching it gently and doing some foam rolling, though, which I think is helping.
Somewhere through this uphill section I came to the bridge we had been warned about during the pre-race prep talk pep talk, and Josh wasn’t kidding. It was the sketchiest bridge I’ve ever run across. His advice had been to run across the nails of the bridge, which attached the rotten boards to telephone poles (he promised the telephone poles would not break). I heeded his advice and made it across in one piece.
Close to the finish we ran through a really neat cabin area of the park. I’m pretty sure we ran through here in the snow, too, but like I said I blocked it out. I could hear the finish line in the distance and knew I was getting close.
We had one final little uphill and then I crossed the finish line – 6.2 miles in 1:25:22. Probably my slowest 10K, but it was definitely a good amount of time spent on my feet while already tired. Good training for things to come.
The drive to and from the race on the Blue Ridge Parkway was gorgeous, too. I took advantage of the beautiful day and drove up Roanoke Mountain on the way home for some views.
Have you ever run an impromptu race or do you always plan them in advance?