Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Quick & Dirty 8K Trail Race Report

One of my absolute favorite things about fall in Cleveland, Ohio is trail running! What's not to love about running through a sea of colors? Not to mention breathing in the fresh fall air and the sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet. What can I say? I am hooked!

When I realized that The Dirty Trail Series had a race in mid October right by me in Kirtland at the beautiful Chapin Forest I could not resist signing up. The race did not disappoint. I highly recommend this or any of the Dirty Series races. Race director Joe Jurczyk is a great guy and is very passionate about trail running and running in general.


keeping warm prerace!
With a 9am start Steve and I were able to sleep in until 7am! This is maybe one of my favorite things about shorter fall trail races. We got up and had breakfast and went through our usual routine and left the house around 7:45, arriving at the Hobart Rd entrance of Chapin Forest around 8.  We picked up our bibs and goodies, said hi to some friends and hit the trails for the usual mile warm up. I We hung out in the heated car until close to the start to stay warm. It was a chilly morning with temps in the low to mid 40s but the rain had held off, which was good!

The Race:

start of the race. steve out front I'm in the gray run tee & blue visor
We lined up about 5 minutes before the start. I had decided to just wear my arm warmers and I could take them off if I heated up. A couple quick announcements and we were off! The race started in a field and it was a little wet so as the pack took off there was definitely some water flying. The hubby was right out front leading the guys and I started in the front as well having only been passed by 2 females.

As we entered the woods the first 1/2 mile - maybe mile was on a crushed gravel trail but then we turned right and the trail quickly turned technical with tons of rocks and roots and leaves. It was darker in the woods but the brightness of the leaves was gorgeous. There were quite a few good climbs in the race including one straight up hill that pretty much everyone walked at least some of (including me). It also rained some but I enjoyed that as it made the race feel more like a fall trail race.

Heading back I tried to stay with the group of guys I had been running close to. I hadn't seen any other women pass so I figured I was still in third place. At one point I saw the woman in front of me and came close to catching her but then there was some confusion about the course. I saw a number of people including some women coming towards me in the opposite direction and I was confused so I asked them what they were doing. They had missed a loop of the course and told us to keep heading to the finish. I figure I lost a little time here maybe 20 or 30 seconds until I got back on track. My garmin then read 4.5 miles so I knew we had to be close to the finish.

Lucky #3456 and my 3rd place medal!
Once I saw the finish I sprinted and passed one of the guys running with the group and I saw Steve ahead yelling for me. I finished the course in 38:37 (8:03 pace). I was a little bummed I didn't break 8 but was happy overall with the 3rd place female finish on a tough course.  I guess with a lucky # like 3456 you have to have a good race, right?! I was awarded with a cool medal and camelback bottle for the win. Steve also had a good race finishing 1st in the masters division and 7th overall with a time of 33:45 (7:02 pace).


After the race it was chilly so we threw on our sweats and headed over to Pulp to treat ourselves to some postrace smoothies to celebrate. I am looking forward to more trail races this season before a couple of months off racing for the off season.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Inaugural Lake Health Northern Ohio Half Marathon Race Report

Lake Health and Second Sole Mentor did an excellent job with the inaugural Northern Ohio Marathon/Half Marathon. It was a very well-organized event, the course was marked and easy to follow with plenty of aid stations and volunteers. I was planning to run the full marathon originally but due to health issues I needed to scale back this fall. Lake Health was very easy to work with in switching my registration to the half.

Race Morning:

The race starts at Fairport Harbor very close the the beach (minutes from my house), which was a definite bonus on race morning. I was able to sleep until almost 6am. As I was up late the evening before following the Kona coverage I needed this sleep! I got up, took a quick shower just to get moving, had a cup of coffee, got dressed and ate breakfast and was ready to run out the door by 6:45. Steve and the kids were coming to cheer me on so this was exciting. 

hanging out with my stepdaughter prerace
We arrived near the start and parked on the side of the road at 2nd street. It was still dark at this time (around 6:55-7am). I got out of the car and immediately did my 1 mile warm up. A bit faster than planned at an 8:30 pace but I was definitely warmed up after that. A little stretching and a quick potty break and it was time to lineup at the start. I said hello to some running friends and got my garmin ready to go. My goals for the race were to try for a PR of 1:38 and/or a top 10 female finish.

The Start & First Half:

The start was fast with a pretty decent downhill at the beginning of the race and a nice flat section. I had intended to pace myself around 7:30 the first mile. Glancing at my garmin I could see that I went out a little fast at 7:08 first mile. Still I felt good and slowed the pace down to that sweet spot of 7:30-7:45.  I felt great the first half. I had gotten passed by a couple of ladies but not many so I just wanted to stay in a good position and try to finish in the top 10. Around mile 5 I took in my first gel (thanks Powerbar) and felt an immediate kick. I felt very strong coming up the hill on Corduroy Rd entering Mentor Headlands. 

The Back Half & Finish:

The next few miles went pretty well also. I liked running by Headlands Beach but was a little disappointed we didn't run down by the water. I felt steady and each time I looked at my watch I was on target with the 7:30-7:40 pace. At mile 9 I took another gel. It must have been about mile 10 or 11 that I could feel a change in how I was doing. I slowed down to closer to an 8 minute pace and tried to hold steady. At that point I wasn't sure the PR would happen but I still wanted to try for it. Mile 10 went ok, mile 11 was tough and mile 12 was not pretty. I had gotten passed by one woman who just had it that day and in the last 1/2 mile or so two more women passed me. It is rare for me to let someone pass me this late in a race but I honestly didn't have my usual kick left that day. I didn't fall apart but I just didn't have my drive. 

the stats were available instantly!
After making the turn back onto 2nd street I could see and hear the crowd and I heard Steve and the kids yelling for me so I pushed as much as I could until the finish. My time was not a PR but I was happy with the 1:42:29. It was not an easy course and it was a little warmer than I would have liked but overall it was a good race and I was able to capture 2nd in my age group although I dropped to 13th overall female. 

Post Race:

Lake Health generously had set up a tent with massage tables and pools with ice water so I was able to take advantage of both of those two things to start the recovery immediately. I also had a water and a snack. 

Getting my age group award!
We hung around for a little while and waited for my award. Second Sole Mentor provided gift certificates to the overall and age group winners, which was very nice of them. In addition to the awesome medals Lake Health also provided a high quality 1/2 zip tech shirt as well. 

On the way home we stopped at Pulp so I could get my favorite smoothie and I went home to take a recovery bath, nap and use my Normatec MVP recovery boots.

It was a good day. I definitely recommend this one to anyone looking for a fall race for 2014!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Believe & Achieve 5K/10K Trail Race Report

I was excited to race again this year at the Believe & Achieve 5/10K trail run. The race is put on by Zach Johnson of Outrun (a super nice guy) to benefit Girls With Sole (one of my favorite local charities). Seeing Liz and the girls run is always a heart warmer because what she does for the girls is so wonderful! My husband Steve designed the logo for the shirts and facebook page, which were super cute!

enjoying a little grassy downhill action on the course
This race is located at Penitentiary Glen in Kirtland, which is conveniently located about 5-10 minutes from home. With the start time being a little later at 8:30 Steve and I were able to sleep in til 7! After a quick breakfast and getting dressed we headed out around 7:30, arriving around 7:45. We had plenty of time to do a one mile easy warm up and relax before the start. Since I had run 13 the day before with my friend Amy in preparation for the upcoming Northern Ohio Marathon 1/2, my legs were a little tired and I opted to run the 5K again this year. Steve signed up for the 10K this time around.

I lined up in the front of the pack and at 8:30 we were off. The 5 & 10 K runners go out together since the course is basically a double loop. The lead guys including Steve were booking and I was a little behind them for maybe the first 1/2 mile or so and then started to slow the pace a bit. I knew I was just doing the 5K but even the 5K on this course is a challenge to run fast with some of the elevation, stream crossings and technical footing.

My goal was to hit around an 8-minute pace and try to place in the top 3 females with this being a smaller race (last year I had placed 2nd). I hoped my time would be a little better this year as I hit the straightaway of grass toward the finish. I was surprised to see a young girl that I had passed in front of me again at the finish as I had not seen her get by me. I guess I must have been in the zone or she missed a turn somewhere and went off course. Either way I was happy to place 3rd on these tired legs with a 26:02 (average of 8:23) and 6th overall in the 5K. Not quite as speedy as I had planned but there were some good hills on the course that slowed me down a little bit.

Post race with hubby and our awards!
Steve also had a great race in the 10k, tying for 3rd place with a speedy time of 46:57 (7:34 pace). After the race it was nice catching up with some fellow runners and triathletes that had came out that day.

Thanks to Zack and Liz and everyone that came out to make it a great race!