I hereby declare 2013 the year of my affair with EX2 Trail-racing Adventures. Our first run with them was in March, as part of their “Spring Backyard Burn” series, and well – hook, line and sinker – it was love.
Trails are just an entirely different race-beast, energy and feel. There’s nothing to complain about here! You feel the burn on every up and downhill, but just can’t be mad because just take a LOOK around. Like, whoa…
We had the perfect November day for this race. Virginia treated us to sunshine, a high of 50* (why do I continue to think long-sleeves are necessary at these races?!) and the near-peak of fall foliage reds and yellows. The only tricky part was shuffling through the leaves and avoiding a face-plant from hooking a hidden branch, stick or tree root.
We made it through alive, though.
Kate & I opted for the 10-mile race, looping through the 5-mile course twice. The first round was a little tricky since 1) we started about 3 minutes late (um, whoops) and 2) we spent the first 3-4 miles continuously saying “On your left! Two of us…”. We found our groove right as we hit the 4-mile mark and right as I decided it was absolutely insane to be wearing long-sleeves. Rather than waiting for the clearing that I knew had to be coming soon (see above: repeat loop), I decided then-and-there to re-pin my bib onto my tank-top, move my watch and do a wardrobe-change. And as you can probably guess, then-and-there I took my first spill.
Like with cycling, I think trail-running has to come with at least one good fall, right? It’s inevitable. It will happen at some point. Embrace it and hope you get up with all of your teeth intact.
Now that box is checked; no skin or bones were sacrificed.
Thank you, leaves!
The second loop was all clear! I would guess that about 60-70% of people run the shorter option in these races, so when you start the next round you have all the space you need to just GO. The energy? Well that’s a lagging a little bit, but somehow the miles fly by anyway.
Fountainhead provides a great mix of technical trail things like streams, bridges, twists, turns and lakeside views. It has no mercy on your quads, but there’s adrenaline in the challenge.
Suddenly we were greeted with the “0.5 miles to go” sign, which in this particular course means you’re about to CLIMB up, up and up before you reach a clearing and hear the crowd.
Finishing right next to each other, our watch-time (no timing chips here) was 1:38:35. Far from our fastest 10-mile “run”, but high on my list of favorites anyway.
Thank you, EX2, for reliably providing a great course, atmosphere, group of runners and post-run FOOD spread. Check. this. out:
(Not captured: enormous Nutella jar, pizza and breakfast burritos.)
It’s safe to say we’ll be back, and we’re counting down ‘til the next adventure!