Sunday, March 6, 2011

Les Bois 10K Race Report

The Les Bois 10k turned out to be a pleasant surprise in terms of the quality of the course, the race organization, and the level of competition present. I went into the race relatively unaware of the challenges of the course, something that is unusual for me as I tend to over-obsess about every minute detail when it comes to races. Regardless, I found myself waking up on Saturday morning to rain and knew that I would be in for a "fun" race no matter what.

When I got to the race, I found a great parking spot by the finish and was able to quickly sign in and get my race packet. I had previously decided that I would start warming up about 1/2 hour before the race and this turned out the be perfect given the rain and relatively mild temperature. My standard warm-up is about two miles easy, and I took liberty to run it on the first mile of the course to scout out the elevation change. The course kicks up just after the first mile and I was unaware, so the second and third mile of the race certainly were a surprise to say the least. After my warm-up, I downed a Hammer Gel (Espresso) and some Fizz and got my race shirt on. Fortunately, the warm-up calmed my nerves and I felt ready to race by the time we were called to the start. Looking around the start, I realized there were some fast guys present and I made a quiet decision to not go with them at all from the gun. Thankfully, I made a good choice because they were off at a sub-5 min/mi pace and a few poor souls tried to actually go with them. Most of the fast starters held a strong pace to the end, a few guys faded, but I noticed that the race was pretty much in order by the end of the first mile.

My first mile ticked by in 6:16 and I felt strong but knew that I perhaps would fade on the hill to come. As mentioned, the course really heads up after the mile mark and by the second mile split I was at 8:00/mi. Perhaps I went out a bit hard, but I knew that the steep up meant a fast down so I just tried to hold it together on the uphill. Mile 3 rolled by and I had picked up the pace a notch to 7:55/mi. Finally I hit the turn around and was ready to rock and roll on the downhill. I noticed a couple of guys tailing me on the way up, and one had passed me around the 2.5 mile mark, so I prepared to hit "flying squirrel mode" and took off down the steep muddy trail. Even with a bit of uphill in the 4th mile split, I managed to drop my pace down to 6:26 by the 4 mile mark. By then I was just going as fast as I could and hit the 5 mile at 5:40. Between mile 5 and 6 the course is downhill but the footing is solid and fast, and I still hadn't caught anyone, so I just let it go and through down a 5:07 mile for the 6th split. I caught the guy in front of me but couldn't drop him, and he managed to pass me back before the finish. Knowing I had missed my secret goal time of 40 minutes, I was content to let him go and take my 9th overall finish. I crossed the line with a 40:54 time on a hilly, wet, and muddy course, so I was pretty happy with my finish, that is until my name showed up on the results as the 1st overall female... opps, I must have clicked the wrong box... too bad I didn't shave this morning... haha. With the error corrected, I stayed and ate a couple homemade "Marathon Muffins" made by the race director's mother, delicious! The prizes were only going to the top 5 overall so I hung out and tried my hand a raffle prize, but ultimately left empty handed. Good thing I grabbed 4 chocolate milks from the post-race spread.

So now its Tuesday and the race has not faded from my memory too much since my legs are still reminding me of the efforts running up and down the awesome course. I thought the course would be a bit lame, but it ended up being a great start to the trail racing season and I'm already looking forward to the Dry Creek Half-marathon on April 2nd... that is, as soon as I can walk down stairs again...

My race pictures...

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