Last year about this time, I had finished my first 5K race and was looking for another race. As I looked around, I noticed one called the “frozen toe” run which was held the first weekend of January. It was a trail run. I had never run on a trail in my life. No thanks.
But a year later and 3 more races under my belt, I decided to try this race—my first trail race.
My goal: To finish the race and to experience what a trail race was like. I had no time goals or any visions that I could actually compete against anyone except myself. I didn’t even bother really training much for the race. I just kept up my normal 15-20 miles a week up until the race.
However, I did go and run the race course the day after Christmas. In the past, I found that this helped eliminate some of the anxiety of not knowing what to expect or how far to go. The course was basically a 6-ish mile course of local trails through the woods. My trial run went fairly smoothly (although I had to consult a trail map several times to make sure I was going the right way).
The website promised a “race that lives up to its name” because the first year “half of the trail was covered with snow and ice” and the second year they had “powdery snowfall the morning of the race.”
But this year, it was a balmy 50 degrees and no hint of precipitation for the whole week leading up to the race. So perfect conditions. I was a little disappointed and would have preferred it to be at least 10 degrees colder.
Never the less, the race went well. I started out too fast in the first 0.5 miles that was run on the road leading up to the trail. But when we got to the trail, for the first 1 1/2 miles, it was like being part of a human centipede–running in a single file line. That turned out to be a good thing for me, because it slowed my pace down enough so I could catch my breath.
The trail also had several challenging uphill portions that made the course tougher than either of the other 10K races that I’ve run. Here’s the elevation profile:
I ended up coming in 159th place with a time of 1:04:06 (10:25 pace). There was a bit of jockeying at the end with a 19 year old who I had passed on the trail, but tried to beat me at the finish line.
I beat him by 6/100 ths of a second. Hurray for small victories.
Another small victory is that I didn’t come in last in my age group. I was 19th out of 21. I’m glad that I ran the race, but don’t know that trail racing is my thing.
Next up will be to start training for a 1/2 marathon in April.