I am reall not very good at these race recap things, but will try anyhow.
It felt very good to get out this early in the year and put my first race under my belt. I really couldn’t have asked for much more except possibly to have better fitness, but the race itself was a joy to run.
The weather was near prefect, slightly cold for a race. The Suburban thermometer said that it was 39 degrees about 15 minutes prior to the start, and despite that being in my running tights or pants and gloves weather, I ran it in shorts, long sleeve running shirt, and a running hat thingy and felt fine.
The race was well organized, they had a nice sized fire blazing away in a fire pit right next to the registration area. The goodie bags themselves were huge. You could substitute them as a sleeping bag for an infant. The goodies themselves were at your discretion as you walked down the line, I stocked up but wasn’t greedy.
The race was fun with beautiful vistas of the White Tank Mountains. The trail was mostly single track mountain bike type trails which caused a lot of confusion for the apparently newer runners when the trail really narrowed down and there was more than 2 people side by side. For some reason I started way in the back of the pack, so I spent a good portion of the race trying to catch up to the people.
I should have started with, chances are I spent a bit too much energy playing catch up, but that was fine as I didn’t really have the intent to blow anyone away, despite my pre race tweet (Time to kick some ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of bubble gum”). I did pass around 35-40 people while I allowed NO ONE to pass me (I did meet that goal!).
As stated the trail was mostly single track with some fire road portions, gently rolling with a few serious climbs thrown in for good measure. I made a few tactical errors in the race starting with hammering up a hill in order to pass 4 or 5 runners at around 3 miles, and I also sped up too much when I caught a glimpse of the finish line which caused me to be unable to catch the few ahead of me. I think if I would have kept it steady and gently increased my pace I would have been right behind them with about 30 meters to go. I had a girl go crashing down directly in front of me after tripping, I asked if she was alright and she told me that she was and to keep going, she really went down pretty hard. I also saw a guy turn his ankle and tried his darndest to keep running as much as he could. At the finish I did see both of them crossing the line, that made me feel good for them.
In the overall picture of things I was pleased with my performance and had a great time in doing so. Again, kudos to the Xterra folks for putting on a good race, I look forward to doing the series finale in Fountain Hills next month.
The finish line was well stocked with fruit, bagels, muffins, and the best post race treat in a long time, scrambled eggs! Got a decent little medal and a nice shirt (it was advertised as a technical t-shirt but is 100% cotton, no big deal to me but you know how people can be).
They had nice pint glasses to the age winners and water bottles for raffle prizes. I was shocked that some age groups only had 1 or 2 entrants. For example, the mens 20-24 age group had 1 guy in it. I figured that would have been one of the most crammed divisions, but it appeared that the older runners came out in force this weekend.
I wore the New Balance 101’s and I must say that they are a great trail shoe. Very light at 7.8 ounces (advertised weight) but the rock stop plate on the bottom kept me from getting any bruises despite stepping on several pointed rocks. The grip is also fantastic as I thought several times that I was going to turn my ankle as it started to roll on a rock or tree root, but every time as I got to the point of rolling it into damage the shoe held on and didn’t go any further. I didn’t get any rocks slipping down in them, which is usually a big problem for me when running off road. Overall I give these shoes a seal of approval!
Well the 2011 running season has started for me and I feel great about it. I even did a 20 minute recovery run on the dreadmill this afternoon. I hope your running is going well and hopefully I will see some of you out there on the path!