This race was at a metropark I had never been to: Darby Creek. I had read some reviews from last year's race saying it was hilly and that you had to climb a tough flight of stairs right at the end of the race. I was pretty relaxed going into this race. I had zero expectations. I didn't know if there would be mile markers or water stops or how big the race would be, what the terrain would be, etc. I lined up, the horn blew, and I was off.
The race started in the parking lot. You ran to the end of the parking lot, made a sharp 180 degree turn onto a paved path, and then made a sharp left onto the trail. Then we went downdowndowndown all the way to the creek.
Side note, I don't like to run downhill and I suck at it. You do not want to be behind me when we go downhill as I slow to almost a walk. I'd much rather run uphill.
Things go rolling (literally) and I noticed there were no mile markers. That's cool. I wasn't wearing a Garmin, just a watch, and I was carrying my own water. So, I just decided to drink every 9:00 minutes. I was moving pretty well so I figured I was not doing any slower than a 9:00 mile. I had settled in nicely right behind another woman and I felt like we were feeding off each other pretty well. Until, there was a water stop and then she stopped to take in water. At this point we had entered a field clearing, which was all grass and roots. I was able to catch up and pass two more people in front of me including another woman. The grass pathway was probably just over a mile and looped. It then dumped us back to the same trail we came from. At this point I maybe could see one person in front of me, but felt very alone. The trail was mostly well marked but there were times I would come to a fork in the path and had no idea which way to go. I didn't like that I had to slow up at each intersection and figure it out. I felt like I was flying back and before I knew it I was headed up those daggone stairs. They were steep! Up the stairs and then bursting out of the forest back to the parking lot from where we started.
Only at the top of the trail could I see there was another woman in front of me. Despite feeling great and having a kick to the finish, I still wasn't able to catch her. Dave said I finished, maybe, 7th overall female.
Next trail race: a 10 miler in Dave's hometown. I haven't actually signed up for this race yet, and hopefully I won't get closed out of it.