Last year I ran the Half-Marathon portion of this event, but this year I chose to race the 10k. I haven't run more than 15k yet in training and the incredible number of stairs in the Half would knock me on my butt. As it turned out, the stairs in the 10k version did that - I can't imagine what I would have felt doing more than double in the Half.
The race started out in perfect conditions. Just like yesterday, the air was crisp and you felt fall in the air. The course winds through Lower Seymour Conservation Area, which is my running backyard, so it was wonderful to be back in the trails for the first time since July. I felt a little frisky at the beginning of the race, so on the uphill run to the trails I put in a surge and tried to gap the group of five at the front. With the big boys running the Half, I didn't know who was in the 10k, but since I felt good I pushed it a little. Into the trails I had a little lead, but it wasn't long until one of the group crossed the gap and was with me. I thought that this would be good because it would keep me focussed and it is always fun to race.
I had forgotten that it is fun to race when there aren't hundreds of stairs in your race. As we hit the stair portion of the course, the guy behind me was all of a sudden in front of me and running away. I was starting to go lactic as a result of my push early on and was losing contact quickly. Fortunately, the now first place runner made a wrong turn which cost him about 15 seconds, putting me back in contact. Unfortunately, there was another set of stairs immediately in front of us, and that would be the last I would see of him until he was standing on the street corner cheering me into the finish.
I know that I don't have the endurance needed to really compete yet; however, being reminded of that in a middle of a race isn't always fun. Having said that, this race was fun and it served as a motivator to get in some more base and hills. My time was faster than last year's winner, so that was a good a consolation. Also, it was great to be with the trail running community again. And IronLung always puts on a good race, so it was a wonderful way to spend a fall morning. Onwards and upwards - the hills that is. This winter will definitely be spent doing that!