06 November 2013

Race Report - Rev3 Fall Foliage 11k Trail Race

Rev3 Adventure launched a new race series in the NoVa area in 2013 with trail run options, mountain bike options OR both. If I wasn't an idiot, this would be a race report for both a trail race AND a mountain bike race, but I managed to discover a tiny wrinkle in my race day plan a bit too late on race morning to fix it. You see, back in August when I had my terrifying mountain biking experience in Charlottesville (please read if you'd like a good laugh), I managed to lose a bike cleat in the mud. I haven't made time to ride my mountain bike since then and didn't purchase a new set of cleats until Thursday night when I stopped by Hudson Trail Outfitters. Saturday, in my flurry to get ready to head to Sarah's for an afternoon of eating grilled cheese and watching Honey I Shrunk the Kids (arguably one of the best 80s movies ever - 20 years later I still know far too much of the dialogue), I grabbed my bike shoes out of the front closet and shrugged when a piece of metal fell out of one of them, kicking it into the closet before shutting the door. Turns out that piece of metal was kind of an essential component for attaching the cleat to my bike shoe. Too bad I didn't figure this out until 8am Sunday morning while I was stuffing my face with pancakes in Sarah's kitchen and trying to put the new cleats on my shoes. Mr. Sweetie would've driven them out there to me, but that really wouldn't have been fair of me to ask, given that it's a bit of a drive and he had other things he needed to do. So, no mountain bike race. I've also established a rule that I must get out and PRACTICE riding my mountain bike at least 5 times before I am allowed to sign up for a future mountain bike race.

Tri360 is da bomb. Thanks for all the support this season you guys! And for making super comfy race shirts!
So. The race report. The Rev3 Fall Foliage trail race venue was literally just a few miles from Sarah's house and when we signed up awhile ago, we decided to make it an extra fun weekend and throw in a sleepover. You are never too old to have a sleepover with one of your favorite friends. The lazy afternoon on the couch watching cable tv and eating grilled cheese and tomato soup was pretty much the best thing ever and exactly what I wanted and needed to do. We also had ice cream because that is my lucky pre-race ritual. The race didn't start until 10am on Sunday AND we had the time change Saturday night, so we went to bed a bit later than normal but I still slept like the dead (and still managed to have Walking Dead dreams). We had a lazy breakfast of pancakes, hemmed and hawed over what to wear (it looked chilly outside!) and headed over to the race site.

The race was small and they had the 6k and 11k racers start together. The two distances would split off about 1.5 miles into the race. The first half mile was on pavement before it turned into a field for the next two miles. My pace was just below 7 min/mile for those first three miles and I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to keep that pace, ESPECIALLY once we hit any harder trail stuff, and I definitely wouldn't be negative-splitting this race. But I figured I'd try to keep that pace as long as I could and the heck with negative splitting because taking a bit of a risk is what these off season, fun races are for. Around mile 3 we hit a more narrow trail with some rocks and roots and it started to feel like true trail racing. There was a guy about 25 meters ahead of me the whole race and I never quite closed the gap on him. And as we finished running through the first field, I looked back and saw a girl about 25 meters behind me and ran the rest of the race convinced she was going to catch me. We ran across another field before bombing down a steep hill and taking a sharp right into the woods. There were a couple times where I slightly turned an ankle or lost my footing as we ran through the woods, but the trail was super well marked and I had no problem staying on course, even when I couldn't see any other runners. I also hate to get my pink shoes dirty (so vain!) if it can be avoided so I slowed down at any muddy points to try and pick my way around them. We had some good hills to go up and rocks and roots to avoid so I stopped obsessively looking at my pace on the watch and only really checked when it beeped. Goodbye sub-7 minute miles. I even had one or two 8+ minute miles sneak in. Right around mile 5 was when I started doing the pep talk of you're more than halfway done. Just two miles to go (or thereabouts, 11k - I've never been good with conversion from the metric system). It was also right around this point that I was trying to figure out where the trail would dump us out - would we have to run back through the field from the beginning with all the tall grass? How about that half mile on pavement? Turns out it dropped us out right onto the pavement and I could see that the finish was just around the bend. Being back on flat, paved ground left little room for excuses and I picked up the pace through the finish, crossing the line in 52:34. I also ended up being first girl across the line - there were only 9 of us in the whole race, but whatever, when you end up first as rarely as I do, a W is a W regardless of how many people were there.

I had a whole cheering section come out for the race. My very favorite Aunt Karen and Uncle Charlie were in town for the weekend at my very favorite Aunt Amy's and they all came out, kiddos in tow. Xander and Lilly had a great time cheering on the runners and slurping down marshmallows from the hot chocolate.

I had the BEST weekend with Sarah and capping it off with the low-key race couldn't have been more perfect. Oh wait - it did get more perfect - HOMEMADE DOUGHNUT BITES. Melt in your mouth amazing.
LOOK at that doughy deliciousness! Covered in cinnamon and sugar and washed down with hot chocolate!
The offseason, fall, doughnut bites, hot chocolate, sleepovers when you're in your 30s, cool-as-heck aunts, uncles, and cousins. My weekend had it all. Thank you Sarah for a super fun weekend and carting me around everywhere! And thank you Aunt Amy, Aunt Karen, and Uncle Charlie for getting me lunch after the race!


Amy said...

You were running so fast we almost missed you at the end! You are a rockstar! Xander and Lilly loved seeing you and yes, the doughnuts were a big hit w/ them too. Thanks to your Mr. Sweetie for coming out and picking you up so you could spend the afternoon with us. Way to go Sarah as well!!! We are your official Loudoun County cheering squad!

Kathy said...

Sounds like fun! I have been pretty loyal to EX2 for my trail races, but maybe some day we'll try out this series. I renew my offer to mtn bike sometime. If you have it off, I might go on Veteran's Day if the weather is fine, since it is the only "true" holiday all year (I'm off but daycares are open ;-))

Caroline said...

Amy - thank you so much (and Charlie and Karen) for coming out to cheer! Can I just tell you how much I love the fact that Xander is all into racing! He is going to be my RaceBuddy4Life!
Kathy! It was a small race for sure, hopefully it will grow next year as more and more people know about it! I wish I had Veteran's Day off, it would be so fun to ride with you! I need to get out there more. Let's do it this winter for sure! I'm running the BYB this weekend, are you?