4 Mile Trail Run Race Recap
It’s taken me two days to sit down and write this race recap. How crazy is that? Normally I itch to get down that experience as fast as possible after I’m done, preferably while I’m on that runner’s high. But this time? Busy life and second run of a race led to complacency.
I started running in September, 2011 doing the Couch to 5K program. I “graduated” in November of that year and promptly ran my very first 5K. Which means I’m about to close up on my second year of running races. This race I ran on Sunday was the third time I’ve run a race for the second time. The first one was a repeat of my very first race, a Veteran’s Day 5K, and the second one was the Shamrock and Roll race in March. In each case I improved my time over the previous year, and that Shamrock race I ran seven months ago still stands as my 5K PR.
I had slacked off on running ever since my 4 Miler in Central Park in early September. I’ve been going to bootcamp and my schedule has gotten tight enough that it isn’t always easy to squeeze in a run on my off days from class. Just a week before the race, I hadn’t run for ten solid days. So I decided to go out and run the trail race course as a practice run.
It kicked my ass. It was hilly and hard, right from the get go. I struggled from the first mile to catch my breath and ran/walked the whole course as a result.
Worried, I decided to try the course again three days out of the race, adjusting my pacing to accommodate the hills and rocks and roots found in the deeper part of the trail. I fared better, but still worried that I might not beat last year’s time; I was over two minutes over on that last practice before the race.
But when race day came, it was a different story. I felt strong and confident. I decided not to worry about anyone else on the course and run my own race, not anyone else’s. I did what felt good and comfortable, pushing on the flat parts and easing on the hilly parts. The first mile still proved to be a challenge, but then I was able to use the second mile, mostly flat, to catch my breath. The third mile, all hills and roots, I took as carefully as I could. By the fourth mile I wasn’t winded; I knew where I was going and how to conserve my energy to push towards the end.
I finished feeling fantastic, beating my time from last year by 1:35.
Was I still slower than nearly everyone out there? Sure. But I ran my race, and didn’t worry about anyone else but me. And it felt fantastic.