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...
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