When we signed up for this race it just flat out did not occur to me to consider the difference between 10 miles on the road vs. the trail. If I have an option of running a 5-mile vs 10-mile race and no “good” reason to not do the latter? I choose 10!
We totally lucked out with what was deemed the “flattest” course of this Backyard Burn Trail Race Series (5 total). It also seems to have been the least technical, only including “a few shallow stream crossings” and a lot of twisty, windy, up-and-down sections. But, nothing so steep that we had to walk and nothing so deep we had to sacrifice our non-trail running shoes. Win!
We arrived expecting a 60-degree day, but were greeted by a 28-degree morning. Layers = on! It was very well organized; our race-brief began promptly at 8:50 in the parking lot, and we promptly started by lining up in the street and…going!
The first mile had a few paved parts and a lot of wide spaces – plenty of time and room to make some passes, settle into a pace and get your feet ready to dodge, weave and stream-hop!
Kate, Jill & I took it pretty easy and settled into a line. The course was a 1 mile start followed by a 4.5 mile loop that us 10-milers would do twice:
Round 1 was a lot of head-down, don’t-fall, conserve-some-energy running! When we closed in on the Finish Line and were directed toward Round 2, it was go-time.
I settled into the front of our line and took advantage of the space ahead. Knowing what to expect on a trail makes a big difference! It had warmed up enough that I shed a layer, and we had sped up enough that our second loop was an average 1-min/mile faster than the first.
There was one steep up-hill section within the last 1.5 miles that stole any energy I might have held onto. Lesson learned: don’t sprint up those. The last 0.5 mile was flat, open, leave-it-all-out-there terrain. I chased Kate across the Finish line….
1: 25: 55 – 10 trail miles – 8:35 min/mile
…immediately thought I might vomit, and then thought I am definitely doing another one of those.
Aside from dirt, climbs, streams and rock-hopping, the main difference between a road vs. trail race is this:
Color us muddy & impressed – we had a great time! It was a small group of 400 runners that very graciously spent some time in close quarters on the trails of Wakefield Park, VA. I’ll definitely be back for another run in the woods!