Race Start Temperature: 39F
Race End Temperature: 55F
Average winds 3 - 9 MPH
It wasn't foggy or cloudy or rainy or windy. It was sunny and nice with a bit of a breeze. It was, in fact, the perfect weather for a race.
The folks at TBF Racing really do a bang up job putting on events. They are well organized events with great support.
And they're hard.
In all fairness, the only other trail race I've ever done was the Down & Dirty Mud Run, which, in comparison, was like Trail Running Lite. It was (mostly) on trails, but, for the most part, they were wide and fairly flat, with not a lot in the way of large rocks, ruts, roots or sand. In retrospect, the D&D seemed very much like the course was planned for runners who didn't normally do a lot of trail running but were out for the challenge of completing that particular event.
TBF, on the other hand, was founded and is run by people love and train on the trails in our area and are not afraid, apparently, to throw your ass into a pretty challenging course* because, you know, they put "Challenge" in the title and that should probably have been a clue.
The course started through sand - and, no, not wet, packed sand, because that would be too easy - and continued through hills, valleys, single track, over rocks, roots, ruts, creeks and roads. And as if that wasn't enough, before we were finished, they released the mountain bike racers**.
All of the aid stations were well stocked and staffed, even as late as we came through them. Every area with event staff or volunteers was staffed through the entirety of our (long ass) run. I've heard enough stories about slow runners coming upon abandoned aid stations that I truly appreciate TBF's commitment to bringing every racer in.
Official Race Time: 2:01:22 - MonkeyDo & I DLF'd. But we did not DNF***.
The next race in this series is the 8 Mile Challenge, and takes place on February 19th. It's on my race calendar but I haven't registered for it, yet. I'm torn between how nauseous the course map makes me and this weird feeling that it's "just" two more miles. I feel strangely at peace with the thought of DLFing the entire series. And maybe I should just shut my mouth there & not let the debate continue in my head. I can DLF the crap out of this series. But I still have to figure out how to make my brain STFU and let me do it.
1. I don't fuel before or during long runs because of this article (as I've discussed in the past). I'm not sure this is, necessarily, the best tactic for Race Day. When I finally gave in & ate one of the Clif Shots they were handing out at aid stations, I felt immensely better. Ideally, I'd like my body to burn fat instead of carbs for running, but I think that might be something to work towards and not something to count on right now, during a race.
2. It's allergy season. Lung congestion (to the point of coughing & phlegm production) had hit me Thursday and into Friday. I felt much better by Saturday morning, but still had enough congestion that I could tell it was affecting my performance. I have an appointment this morning with my Primary Care Physician to discuss options for taming this congestion. My personal history thoroughly demonstrates that I'm not shaking this congestion without help, and I am not willing to let it compromise my plans.
3. Astigmatism (which is why I wear glasses) + Trail Running = Tripping. I tripped & almost fell a total of four times. At least two of those times were directly related to not clearing a rock I was convinced I'd clear. Hello jacked up depth perception! My depth perception is, really, not that bad, but, apparently, just bad enough to catch the lips of rocks as I tried to clear them. I don't run in my glasses because they're just not the right kind of glasses in shape & size, and they'd actually make things worse. I plan to get some glasses specifically for running, but I'm not sure what would work best, especially when running conditions are frequently light/dark/light/dark/RAINING. This is something on the short term to-do list because I'm sure the price tag on these will be obscene. If anyone has tips, they would be greatly appreciated.
4. Do not wear the pants with the wide bottoms on trail runs. Seriously. At one point the toe of one Vibram'd foot caught the hem of the pants on the other leg & I almost went down. How embarrassing would that have been?
*I legitimately have so little actual experience with trail running that I have no idea if the course was all that hard or if I just
**We were really & truly so slow that they had started the next event before we got finished. It was certainly a unique perspective on the event they were doing.
***DLF = Dead Last Finish; DNF = Did Not Finish; DNS = Did Not Start