Saturday, August 4, 2012

Psych Night Trail 10K RR

What: Psych Night Trail 10K
Where: Wyandotte County Lake
When: August 3, 2012 @ 8:15 p.m.
Finish: 59:41 (garmin time)

Week leading up to the race:
Last Sunday I did a 13.1 mile training run on the course for my marathon in November. Toward the end of the run I had some discomfort just above my right knee. I decided to play it safe and walk a while. It turned out to be a good decision. On Monday and Tuesday, I had the discomfort while going up the stairs. My my knee felt better on Wednesday, but I decided to take another rest day. My first day of running this week was Thursday, I only did about 3 miles on the trails. Since the knee felt good, I decided to go ahead and see what I could do at the 10K on Friday night.

Race night:
I got to the race at about 7:00, picked up my packet, and mingled with the other runners. The temp was above 90F and it was humid so I made sure to drink plenty of water before the race started. I wore my hydration belt for water during the race. Because of the temp/humidity, and my previous knee issue, I decided to just walk around to loosen up my legs. During this time, I took some pictures of people waiting for the race to start.

Playing around with camera settings.

More experimentation.

Now on to the race:

My goal was to beat my time from last year, 1:10:07. I figured it would be tough, but achievable as long as my knee held up.

With about 3 minutes to go, we all lined headed to the starting area and lined up. At 8:15, we were off.

The race starts by running across a grass field, up a steep section of road, then turning left onto the trail. By the time I turned on the trail, I was already breathing hard. After running up the initial trail incline, I was able to relax and catch my breath.

Things were going well for a while, but I did have to walk a few of the inclines.

We passed the 5K turn around, then ran a little over a mile further before coming to the section of the trail referred to as the Wyandotte Triangle. This is a fun section that is about a mile long. I normally try to run through this section fast, but was behind some slower runners. I believe this turned out to be a good thing. It starts downhill, but finishes uphill and exits onto the main trail about 100' from where you entered the triangle. I walked some of the inclines within the triangle to conserve some energy for the return trip to the finish.

After exiting the triangle, you turn left and go back the way you came. I started to pick up pace along this section to take advantage of the gradual downhill.

I was still being cautious so I didn't roll an ankle. I had to keep my headlamp turned to the lowest setting otherwise it blinded me. I ended up having to carry the headlamp so I could turn it on the brightest setting and clearly see all the rocks.

With about 2 miles to go, I realized I was going to easily meet my goal. I then set a new goal of sub-60 minutes. I knew I couldn't walk many of the ascents on the way back if I wanted to achieve the new goal.

I set my sights on the runners in front of me and picked up the pace. I passed a couple of runners and was on the heels of another. We came to a fairly decent incline and I walked the last half of it. Since he kept running, he pulled away from me. Shortly after, I arrived at the aid station that marked the 5K turnaround. I grabbed some water and walked until the trash can so I could throw the cup away.

Just as I was getting ready to start running again, the volunteer yelled to me "great job, now go catch that guy!" I picked up the pace and started reeling him in closer. I passed 3 more runners during this stretch and caught back up to the runner I was trying to catch. He was about 20 yards ahead of me as we reached the final downhill to the finish. He started his kick and I followed. I knew there was a small ditch we needed to clear, but couldn't remember how close to the finish line it was located. We both started sprinting and gave it all we could. I slowed up a tad to safely clear the ditch and finished about 10 feet behind him. I was catching him, but just ran out of room. I stopped my watch after crossing the finish and realized I came in under 60 minutes. I was drenched in sweat, completely exhausted, and totally elated at taking ten minutes off my time from last year. I might have left a little time on the course, but feel I ran it the best I could given the conditions and my prior knee issues. After cheering in other runners, I went a joined fellow Trail Nerds and celebrated with a good beer.

The race had photographs taken by the SeeKCRun group which provides free photos to the runners. I don't think all the photos have been uploaded yet, but here is one of me taken during the first half of the race.

I think this race just solidified what I already knew, my body wants me to run trails! When I run on trails, I don't seem to have any of the issues I get while running on pavement. This is fine with me since running trails is my passion.

This was yet another very well organized race with great volunteers! Bad Ben Holmes always puts on great events and the fellow Trail Nerds are exceptional volunteers! Thanks for another first class race!


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