Sunday, July 22, 2007

A tough race

I went out today for the Marsh Creek Raptor Run a 5 or 10 mile race. I went out with the best of intentions this morning; however, it was a chore getting to the race as the directions on the race form were incorrect. This left me a bit off but I still had time so I go to the race in time for the start. This was one of Ron Horn's races, Ron Horn puts together the races for Pretzel City Sports (see side link), and as such it was challenging and fun. There is always plenty of post race food a nice little awards ceremony and nice people all around. I recommend all of these races for this reason.

I am a little disappointed in my finish time to be truthful. But there are two things that happened on the course that ease my disappointment. First, I twisted my ankle pretty bad on some tough rocks and I had to walk about 5 minutes before I could run again. Second, I took a wrong turn where a marker was knocked down and ran 6 t0 8 minutes out of my way. So all told I lost about 8 to 10 minutes. I finished my 5 miles in about 1 hour 17 minutes I think I can adjust this to about an hour and 7 minutes or so with my set backs. I am not terribly upset with 1 hour 17 minutes and subtracting stupidity makes it respectable in my mind. The problem I have with today is that I was able to flat sprint at the end of the race, which means I had too much in the tank at the end and could have gone faster on the course. However, I just can't run hills very well, yet. So when I approach the hills my speed drops to almost nothing. Additionally, I sometimes cannot even run I have to walk. This is the disappointment, that I just can't get speed going up. I have the energy but I cannot translate that into output, yet. I am sure this will come with time. I have only really been running for about 5 months. So it will take time but right now the hills are my adversaries.

I did love this course, I will freely admit this. The hills were challenging but not overwhelming. This was not easy but did not make me want to fall over and give up. The ground was broken in parts with lots of rocks and tree branches. Ron Horn up to his old tricks ran the course through deep mud, over downed trees, at one point between a downed tree and under another all marked with a happy face when all you wanted to do was curse the course. I liked it and I will do it again next year. There were some good things on this course:
  • I only twisted my ankle once on the course, thank you Brooks. A 75% reduction from my last trail run.
  • When I got some straight aways I did cook up some speed
  • I did much better navigating rocks
  • I was able to get through deep mud with little difficulty
  • The time didn't show it but I felt fast at times
  • I was not too tired at the end - energy gels are great for keeping up your energy on a race. I am glad I went and got them. I think it will help my running immensely.
  • I had little in the way of injuries this race (little sore ankle, slight stiffness in back {from rocks} and a scratched arm from thorns)
  • I got a nifty new T-shirt. Without these races I might have to go out and buy some. But now I don't which is good.
  • This time I felt like I ran the course rather than the other way around. (When I finished the Double Trouble I was physically decimated at the end of it. Which is why I need a year off from that one.)

I think that small races are important to develop your confidence and to see all the small things that are necessary to do well on a race. I have learned a lot in my three small races {The Broad Street Run (10miles), Double Trouble 15k (Trail Run), and the Marsh Creek Raptor Run (5 miles}. I have learned about water stations, carrying water, pacing, sun, clothing and hats, pre race nutrition, post race nutrition and rest, race logistics and more. There is so much to be aware of and don't even know to be aware until it is probably too late. It is better to make any mistakes you are going to make on small ones.

So in short, I could have run faster if I could run hills better but I am still pleased with the time. I am only disappointed in that I had so much energy at the end and I liked the course. I would recommend doing small races to get a feel for race logistics and other factors that you might not think about. Also, I don't feel so over my head anymore, which is good for me.


*lisa* said...

thanks Rob ... I'm beginning to think I should have lawyer if you have time to read my whiny blog with 3 minutes of me posting it! *wink* haha

Helen said...

Good Job at the race! I wanted to get to the Raptor Run to try my hand at trail running but I was too busy reading Harry Potter.

I hope your ankle doesn't give you any trouble going forward.

Tom said...

I enjoyed this post. Nice job on a tough course and I'm a wimp on courses like that. You have a great outlook to find the silver lining in the race. Good luck with your weigh in tomorrow...

IM Able said...

Great race report! Just found your blog through Runner's Lounge and I'm a local runner, too. In fact, I was there for Marsh Creek and have done his Half Wit and Chilly Cheeks in the past. Love Ron!

Looking forward to hearing about your training and future racing. Take care!