Friday, June 27, 2014

Masters of All Terrian 5 Miler Seminole State Forest Race Recap

So remember back in April when I ran my first off road race. Well, I decided I enjoyed it so much I wanted to do another one. I liked it and the fact that strollers were not allowed in the 5k I had planned on doing for my June race. 

Another great race!
So the Saturday before Father's day I was up at 4:45 a.m. I made my peanut butter whole wheat bagel, grabbed my pump and was out of the house by 5:15 a.m. This race was about 45 minutes away from home, so I took advantage of the extra time and pumped in the car on my way to the race. That is one pre-race ritual I will not miss. This should be the last time, but I have said that before.

About 6 a.m. I pulled into the parking lot. There was plenty of parking for this race and it was nice to know I wouldn't get parked in. The line for packet pickup was short and the race organizers were nice enough to provide bug spray, something I hadn't even thought about. I sprayed down my legs to try and avoid getting bit by anything nasty. After a quick trip back to the car and then the port-o-potty, I headed over to the starting line. I don't know if it was because this was a smaller race or because they were better prepared, but bathroom lines were much more mangageable at this race.

At 6:30, the gun sounded and we were off. The first two miles of this race were quick. We were running on a trail that was wide and made of packed gravel. It was fun to see the sun come up over the Florida prairie. I managed to get gravel in my shoes about a half mile in, but after a couple minutes it was fine. As I approached the 2 mile water stop, I looked at my watch and was pretty excited that I was on track for a pretty big PR. Then the course turned right.

The trail went from wide and made of hard packed gravel to narrow and made of mostly sand. This is where the trail got hard. I was really happy that my training had been more consistent for this race than the one I did in April, because I needed that additional fitness here. 

Some of the trial was like this

Most of it was like this (It is even narrower than it looks)

For most of this part of the course I didn't see anyone. It was so desolate that there were a few times that, even though I was following the trial flags, I wondered if I was still on the right path. While a little scary, it was nice to spend some time by myself. This was also where my pace fell off a cliff. The sand, twists and turns of the course and other obstacles on the trail slowed me down. There were a few spots where it was pretty much impossible to run.

Miles 3 to 5 were hard, but fun. The course was really pretty and that made the distance seem to go by relatively quickly. When there wasn't a water stop at mile 4 I began to regret my decision to leave my water bottle in the car. I hate carrying things when I run, but at that point it was starting to get hot and I was starting to get thirsty. Not surprising, it is June in Florida.

Just when you think you are getting close to the finish...tree

My official time was a little over 1:09:52 which is almost 3 minutes slower than the April race. The crazy thing about my time is that I am actually really happy with it. This course was much harder than the course I ran in April. I am learning that there is a lot more variation on trail courses than on road courses.

With this race I am half way through my goal of racing at least once a month this year. I have a most of the rest of the year planned out, but I am still looking for an August and a December race. Any suggestions would be great.