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Monday, December 17, 2007

Xterra Crystal Cove Race Report

December 16th, 2007- Xterra Crystal Cove 15K Trail Run
Woke up at 5am on Sunday to drive down to Laguna to do my first off-season run. Usually, I do a few half marathons and/or 10Ks to break up the monotony of training in the off-season, while staying focused and competitive. There is nothing I love more than racing. I could race all the time and skip the training. It is so much fun!

So, of course I drive down by myself. No traffic- 1.5 hours, not too bad. Weather was absolutely beautiful. Clear, and brisk. I had tights on- which I feared would be too warm by the start of the race. But, it was only 50 degrees at the start, so no problem. I could keep the tights on- but, I did ditch my long sleeve shirt and just wear my running vest.

There were 250 runners total doing the 15K. I was looking around at most of the women, and there were come competitive ladies out there. I was unsure how I was going to do, as I haven't tested my speed too much lately. My legs were feeling fresh, but I had just ran a 7 mile "pace" run with an unsuspecting marathon runner the day before. I just couldn't let him run the last 7 miles of his 16 mile training run alone, so I did 4 more miles than I had planned. But, at least I felt good about helping him :)

I started at the front of the line before the race. The Xterra official started the race from his electronic megaphone and most people took off like a bat out of hell. I knew that we were going to climb 700+ feet in the first 3/4 of a mile, so I was a bit conservative. I didn't walk any of the climbs- which I was surprised about seeing as though many people at the start of the race were in freak mode about the elevation. I just set those worries aside and ran...

I knew that the first 6 miles were going to be majority climbing, and then after that, I would use as much free speed as I could and run my heart out to the bottom. I had the same 2-3 guys around me the entire time. I didn't see any other women, but I knew Pro Triathlete Heather Fuhr was in the lead- at least for the women- possibly the entire race. I was running at about 85% of my comfort zone, hoping to get to mile 6 and feel super fresh.

I hit mile 6, taking a rinse of Gatorade at every 3-mile stop, and I felt great. Not even tuckered out. So, I picked up the pace a bit, and stayed right on the heels of this young guy ahead of me. I glanced at my watch and saw that we were making really good time. I was figuring that we were sub 8-min/mile pace, but not sure just how "sub." A guy that knew the course was running by me at mile 6.5 or so, and I had asked what was coming up ahead, and he said just a couple more steep climbs, but then all downhill from there. I trusted him.

He was right. And, I still felt good. Still didn't see any women, so I just followed my pacer right through to the last few miles. Ran a bit conservatively on the downhills through miles 8-9.5, which was a good idea. I mean, c'mon: I am a city girl who mostly runs on the city streets of the SCV. I can't be rolling an ankle...(even though that is really why I wanted to run this race- I like the challenge of staying on my feet while running fast downhill..)

So, I was doing well, saw the finish, and ran hard through the end- saw my finish time, and I posted a 1:15:45. That was about a 7:45/mile pace for the run. Not sure how I finished in the standings, but thought I would stick around for the results. I ended up finishing 3rd Woman Overall- 2nd in my AG (the 2nd overall girl was in my AG- 1st was Heather).

At the end of the day, I was pretty excited about the results and definitely had fun. I enjoyed meeting some new friend and fellow Xterra peeps. I would look into doing another one soon!

Happy trails to you...


Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!! Erika you did an awesome job. Mike from IMWI

triclancy said...

Way to rock it girlfriend!! You can do it all!! I'm super impressed! Trail runs are T-O-U-G-H!!! You are so strong!!

Clancy, Mike and I

Clancy, Mike and I
SB Tri Finishers- Nice Tiles!