It was a beautiful day for our final race of the season…wish I could have said the same for my performance.
We ran the 7.5km distance at the Fat Ass last year, but this year we upped our game and Dan ran the 10km and I decided to tackle the 25km. After last weekends PB I wasn’t really sure what I had in me. I only ran once during the week (a short 6km) and that was sluggish, but I hoped that that would lead to light happy legs race morning. It didn’t.
Couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for a race though, and I seem to be getting this seeding myself correctly down. So as we started out on the small road spur (so that we can sort ourselves out) I was a little concerned at the effort I was putting out. This should have felt easy. Before I knew it I was at the base of the ski hill, I had to switch to a power hike half way up, I bit of a blow since I ran up and down this hill all summer long. Once at the top we head into some of my favourite single track and I seemed to settle down and enjoy the view, I couldn’t enjoy for too long though, this beautiful track was now littered with leaves hiding all the rocks and roots.
I felt pretty good as I went through the aid station but then we hit some mud, and it was slippery and somehow sticky at the same time, once past the mud I had to keep stamping my feet and trying to wipe the mud off, it made my shoes feel so heavy.
I came through the first 7.5km loop in about 42 minutes, not too bad but my stomach felt off. I was totally stupid and decided to try something “new” on race day. I had actually tried this product before a boxing class and had a similar response but chalked that up to the intensity of boxing that I’m not used to, sadly today I was having the same problem. The product is called Tailwind and it’s meant to be an endurance fuel that you mix with water and is “easily digested”, unless you are me and then it just sloshes around in your stomach making you feel ill. As I headed out on the 10km loop of the course there was a group maybe 500 metres ahead of me, I tried to catch up, but between my sloshing tummy and my dead feeling legs, I made the decision to just sit back and enjoy the day. It was beautiful out, I was on some awesome trails, and it was not going to be my day.
Once I had made this decision the running felt easier, I laughed at the unexpected water crossing, and started running straight through the mud pits because that was the straightest line. Yes, I was passed, but everyone was so pleasant that I didn’t really mind.
As I finished up the 10km loop and was heading back out on the 7.5km loop the first 25km finisher came though the finish in 1:49, impressive. I cheered and headed back up the ski hill, running until I needed to walk, but enjoying myself instead of beating myself up. My stomach was still sloshing even though I had dumped the Tailwind, but I just embraced my silly mistake for what it was, a silly mistake.
This time the loop didn’t seem so bad, the mud was less slippy but still sticky, and once clear of it I just stopped and cleaned off my shoes, instead of worrying about being passed. On my last pass through the aid station they told me I was the 3rd place female, I was surprised by this and didn’t really believe it, maybe it should have motivated me to get moving but I was enjoying myself now and couldn’t be bothered. The nice thing about this race is that you run down a ski hill and through the finish, everyone looks great.
Turns out I was the 5th female, in 2:32, but I won my age group, which is a first. It’s weird in a race that I kind of gave up that I placed first in my age group, although there was a 50% chance I could have been 2nd!
I do like this race and it really grew this year, I’m exited to see where Sandy will take this race next year, because whether I have racing legs or not I plan on being there.
Thanks to Big Sister for coming out to cheer us on and for providing our action shots.