Saturday I ran the Flirt with Dirt 10k, my second trail 10k, and my first real trail race of the year. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I can count on one hand the number of 10k’s I’ve run, so I’m still not sure how to race them. I also wasn’t sure what to expect with the course condition, due to all of the rain we’ve been having.
The race started at 9am, so I had plenty of time to get up, stretch, eat something and head over to the race. The weather was cooler than I had expected, but it was still pretty humid. There was a good turnout, and I hoped my lack of trail racing knowledge didn’t stick out too much.
We lined up and were off, all trying to get on the trail at the same time. We started out on single track and it was pretty crowded. I knew my pace would be slower than a regular race, but I found myself at about 10:30, and was quite surprised with how fast I thought I was going.
We made our way around mud, sticks, curving trails, and some slight inclines. I took the first mile easy, because I didn’t want to wear myself down and end up falling behind. Luckily I ended up behind a couple who were the exact pace that I felt comfortable with. I stayed with them for about the first two miles and I think they really helped to push me.
After the two mile mark we hit a giant down hill, but I was cautious so I wouldn’t trip or fall over anything. We ended up at a water stop, but I passed since I had my hand held. We made a loop and ventured on the same hill we just just come down. Slowly I made my way up the entire hill until I was “running” slower than I could walk, so I started to walk up the hill, just like everyone else.
Once the hill became more gradual than steep, I started to run again. The gradual elevation continued from mile three to mile four and I could tell my legs were getting tired. I took a sport bean at mile 4 and with the almost level ground, I started to pick up my pace a bit.
We started to spread out more, and our trail started to widen up. I was able to pick up my speed, but still stayed above a 10:15 pace. By this point I really focused on my breathing and making sure that every time I took a step I wasn’t going to trip.
We came up around another pond and you could hear the music in the background. I knew I had a little over a mile to go and focused on getting through the last of the trails. My body was started to become sore, but I rallied through and made my way to the finish and enjoyed every step along the way!
I quickly met up with Jeanne after the finish and we went out to the roads to finish up four more miles for our long run. We made it back just in time to get a group shot of all the MCRR members who ran the 10k.
I really enjoyed this race, and plan to do more trail races this year when I can. To me there was a huge difference in trail races versus road races. My pace was much slower than a normal road race, but the terrain was much more difficult, I think I spent the entire time staring at the ground to make sure I wouldn’t fall. Instead of pavement, we ran through dirt, lots of mud, gravel, grass, and on bridges. Sticks, branches and rocks were always on the path, which means you’re moving all over the place. My body was definitely beat up after the race, but it was worth it!
Official Time: 1:07:34
Age Group 25-29: 4/11