|Sarah and I are excited to use our new pint glasses|
The Hemlock 5.5 mile trail race was the last race in the Fall 2012 Backyard Burn series put on by EX2 Adventures. They put on a really great race every time, with a fun course, friendly and helpful volunteers, age group awards 5 deep, and TONS of food for participants to enjoy post-race (any time there are M&Ms and hot chocolate with marshmallows, I call that a win). I haven't done all of the BYB courses, but I've heard that Hemlock is one of the tougher ones, as it's both hilly and technical.
Since it's the offseason, I've been enjoying myself. This has meant later bedtimes (I blame part of that on still feeling like I'm on Mountain time from spending Thanksgiving in Phoenix), apple pie every night (and maybe every day too), daily hot chocolates, and last night at my office holiday party I went a little overboard with the cakepops and mousse shooters (non alcoholic, but highly addictive).
I woke up this morning not feeling very ready to race. Damn you cakepops. I hit snooze for A HALF AN HOUR before finally hauling myself out of bed at 7am. I got to the race site a little on the late side, but this made for a great excuse to do a prerace warmup as I made a beeline from my car to the packet pickup desk. I ran into a few friends at packet pickup and on my way to the start line. I huddled together with Sarah as we tried to stay warm while we waited for the race to start. I wasn't nervous and after starting too quickly at the Wakefield Backyard Burn and doing the crash-and-burn by the end, I planned to race smarter this time around. I would start off more conservatively and, if my legs had it in them, try to pick up the pace at the end. I would not blow myself up on the hills. I would be careful on the downhills and technical rock sections. I also would do my best not to slip and fall into the river.
The race started and we went running down a paved road, which turned onto a gravel road for the first half mile or so. This was good because the race course didn't narrow down until a bit later, once we'd had a chance to spread out a bit. I went out at a past that felt a little fast but relatively sustainable. I could see a number of girls ahead of me, but I wasn't sure how many were in the 5 mile race and how many were doing the 10. I passed a few girls before we hit the single track part of the course. During these portions, I spent alot of time looking down to make sure my footing was solid and whenever we hit a flat or downhill section that was relatively free from rocks and roots, I'd try to pick up the pace a bit. I passed a few more people here and there, and when we looped by the river the first time, I had caught up to a couple of girls. We hit an uphill section shortly thereafter that had a few technical parts, so I fell behind a bit, but tried to regain ground as things flattened out. I think we were about 2.5 miles into the race by this point and that's when I started to worry a little that I had gone out too hard, my legs were feeling heavy and I was breathing pretty hard. I didn't see any girls super close behind me, but I didn't want to slow down too much because I could just picture a girl zooming by me when I got too complacent. As we looped by the finish area to head down another trail back towards the river, we hit another technical downhill section. This then lead to a rocky part of the trail that went by the river. I focused on staying upright, not speed, during these parts. I really didn't want to trip and fall. After this part we had a long uphill - neverending uphill, really - and my pace slowed to a crawl as I shuffled up the hill, keeping one of my top goals in mind (don't blow up). I caught up to a couple girls doing the 10 miler and right around the 4.5 mile mark, I caught up to another girl doing the 5 miler. I was so close behind her, I could've reached out and grabbed her shoulder. We were huffing and puffing our way up a hill on a narrow section of the trail. I thought about trying to make a move to get around her, but I felt like I was already maxed out and she was on the heels of two other people and I didn't think I'd be able to get around all three. I decided I'd try once we got to the top of the hill and things widened out, but she took off like a rabbit and I just had nothing left in my legs to answer. She crossed the finish line about 12 seconds ahead of me and I crossed in 43:03.
|Women's Overall Podium doing some cheers-ing|
|Freezing cold Women's 30-39 podium with Kerri|
|We hold our own while running, but you should see us bake pies.|