The Chippewa Creek Challenge was held in Dave's hometown, so I decided to do this race so Dave's family could visit with the baby and I could get in some trail training. Dave's family, though, is on vacation in Alaska so I kind of felt dumb driving all the way to Cleveland for a 10 mile race. On Friday I had a rough day and basically threw a fit. Idon'twanttogo! Idon'twanttogo! Idon'twanttogo!!! But I did. And surprisingly slept really well the night before. The morning of, though, I was nervous. Trail running is all new to me and it freaks me out. I do not like new things. Bah humbug!!!
I ate a bagel for breakfast (yay, for actually being able to eat something despite being nervous) and then we headed over to the park WAY to early. I picked up my packet (t-shirt and number - just how it should be) and waited it out in the car. It was chilly and I didn't have anything long sleeved. Finally, I came out, took my finally bathroom break, and got ready to race.
It was cold at the start.
What a mixture of people. Everyone was talking about their fancy trail shoes. Some had backpacks, some handhelds, and I went with my water belt. I saw people wearing gaiters. And funny enough, lots and lots of running skirts were worn. To my surprise, it was about 50/50 men to women.
They told us about the course beforehand. Follow the Burning River arrows or orange flags. Don't follow the orange streamers in the trees. Challenging. Dry (yeah right!). Good luck.
And we were off. There was a little section on the paved path and then we turned left onto the trail. From there it seemed we were uphill, uphill, uphill. I was doing pretty well on the uphills. And then we went downhill. Steep downhill, on very narrow trails, with lots of roots. I found myself grabbing trees just to slow down and stay upright. Because I suck so bad on the descents I fell back of the people I was following. Suddenly I was alone in a valley with several switchbacks. And I thought I was lost. I yelled at the people behind me, "Am I going the right way?" They said, "I don't know. We're following you." Great.
This was a tame downhill, comparatively.
I didn't wear a Garmin so I have no idea what I was pacing. I felt fast on the flatter surfaces and did okay other places. Some of the downhills were so sharp I was basically walking. And there were two uphills that were so steep I had to hike instead of run. By the end of the race I was gaining confidence and then BOOM! I was down. I guess I had tripped over a root or a rock, but I came down hard on both knees and skidded on my hands and left side. I was up in a flash and without even dusting myself off I continued running.
This is what I looked like after the fall: lots of dirt and blood.
And this is what my knees looked like all cleaned up. I also have scrapes on my upper left thigh and a huge bruise on my left thigh. I must have landed on a rock.
When I finished I was a little disappointed with my time, 1:37:31, which is a 9:45 pace. But the overall female winner only averaged 8:30s so I guess it's all relative. With trail running you have to throw pacing out the window. I had a lot of fun and found it difficult. Not difficult like I'm going to puke my lungs out, but difficult on the mind. You always had to be thinking about where you were going to step next and be willing to change anything in an instant. I'm really looking forward to continuing with trail racing and seeing the results get better. But first I need to let my wounds heal....