Muddy Paws 10 Mile Race Report
Cool down by Kendall Lake.
So Solar emailed me Wednesday and asked if I was doing the Muddy Paws 10 mile trail race this morning. I hadn't planned on it but decided since it was a VR race and I am a VR gal and I needed to get in 10-15 miles anyways I figured I might as well go and do the 10 miler as an aggressive trail run. Pace has been slow the past few weeks as I hit two 76+ mile weeks in a row and though I am in mini taper mode this week with 50 on tap my legs were feeling pretty sluggish. All runs averaging around 8:35-10. Not exactly in speed mode :) Figured the race would be a nice controlled atmosphere where I could push the pace a bit and get a gauge on how I should handle nutrition and hills next week at the 50k.
Turned out to be a good plan!
I woke up around 5:30 and decided to splurge and have some coffee. Caffeinated E-Speed can get a little out of control but with the dead legs this week I figured an extra boost wouldn't hurt. Hopped in the car around 6:20 about 20 minutes later than planned and made my way down to the valley. I have run on some of these trails before but never started at this area so I wanted to leave plenty of time for getting lost. Race started at 8 and I had intentions of getting in a 5 mile warm up.
It was hot and humid this morning. I got to the site a little after 7. BB pulled in behind me and we went to get our bibs and packets. I was a slacker and waited to sign up today. I hate paying extra to sign up online and didn't have time to mail it in since I didn't know I was doing the race until Wednesday. Signed up for the 10 miler and went back to my car to put on my new toy, chat with Daisy, take a gel, hit the restroom, then finally started in on my warm up. With the heat, warming up did seem kind of ridiculous, but I knew my legs have been heavy the first 20-35 minutes of all my runs lately so I wanted to ease into things before the race. Got in about 24 minutes with Bridget, Daisy, Brett, SS, Tkins, and Solar then headed to the start.
Found out from Brett that the race was Hilly and it was a two loop 5 mile course. Sounded good to me as I figured I could use the chance to hammer some hills to prep for next week.
Moved up towards the front since I knew it would get crowded on the trail quick and despite not technically "racing" I wanted to run a good hard trail effort, and didn't want to get stuck passing people. TM was toeing the line as I moved up so I asked her if she planned to run the 5 or 10. My luck she was running the 10 ;) She had creamed me by about 35 seconds at the Mom's Day 5K so I figured with my plan to not race hard she was going to crush me today. We both mentioned how we wished we knew who was in the 5 as we didn't want to waste energy chasing down any 5 milers who went out hard. Turns out we needn't have worried about that, most of the fast ladies were running the 10 mile.
Apparently TM isn't as into the trails as much as me so we actually stayed pretty close together for the first 3 miles or so. Mile pace was relatively quick, but I felt good and was surprised she was letting me get off this easy. Apparently the hills had zapped her a bit around mile 3 so she had backed it off and walked a few hills which gave her the juice to come back and hammer past me around mile 4 once we hit a stretch of long grassy hills (yuck!). I let her go as I had no intention of pushing pace and was honestly surprised she hadn't gone out faster. She gapped about 2 minutes on me within a mile and stayed there the rest of the race, gotta hand it to her she is a great technical racer, she knows when to surge and what to do to beat her opponent. With all the hills it was very tempting to call the race at mile 5 knowing I had to hit them again and this loop I would be on my own. Would have been nice to take the easy 5 mile win and then go back out and just run the last 5 for training. But I figured that was cheesy and a cop out so I stayed in the 10 mile race (If I had only known first place got free shoes! Doh!)
The trails were pretty technical the first 4 miles. Lots of roots, rocks, some mud, lots of stairs, pretty much a little of everything. I took it easy the first 3 on the ups and down, just tucked in behind TM. Chatted a little but not too much, laughed when I realized that I had forgotten to turn off auto pause on my watch and despite us hammering up one of the hills my watch thought I was standing still, I was luckily able to turn off the auto pause on the next flat section.
Mostly I was just getting a feel for how it felt to run a bit more aggressively on the trail, and trying to figure out what a feasible pace would be next week. My Garmin lined up the first mile just a tad beyond the marked mile and TM and I were both pretty surprised to clock a 7:45 on this one. Apparently adrenaline and a few down hills made for a speedy first mile that thankfully didn't feel that hard effort wise. Second mile lined up with my Garmin too and we had settled into a reasonable 8:30 pace. With the hills that was still pretty impressive. Next mile had some stairs and some serious roots and pace slowed to a 9:30. Here my Garmin started to diverge from the marked mileage. I ended up with 9.7 for the day based on my watch, but I like the races pace better so I am still calling it 10 ;) As far as I was concerned shorter was better than longer with the heat and hills so I wasn't going to complain :)
After the second aid station we wrapped around the lake and back towards the Sound of Music Hills where we started. TM caught back up to me here and started to pull away once we hit the grass. I still felt good but didn't feel like pushing pace. I hate running in the grass, and the added elevation did nothing for my desire to pick it up. I must admit it would be nice every once in awhile to be able to show up to a local race and win, but if I am going to go to an unplanned race, train through it, and still place at all, I know I can't complain about that. So I watched as TM pushed ahead and took solace in the fact that I was still in 2nd and I was running the race exactly how I had planned to, and didn't get wrapped up in racing too hard and blowing my chances for running well next week.
So with the first lap down I was back out to do it again, this time virtually alone. Almost took out the guy in front of me at the aid station. He had plans to stop there and then move on, I had plans to grab on the move. He made a move to catch me about a mile later on one of the downhills, but I managed to get away from him on the uphills and didn't see him again. I didn't see another runner until over half way through the loop. This didn't help my motivation to run stairs much and I did end up walking 2 of the steeper stair sections. Just wasn't worth it to sky rocket my heart or push my achilles today. And it is a good note for me, as now I know what sort of hills I can push next week and which ones I will be better off walking to save energy.
I did run the downhills a bit more aggressively this lap but eased off on the ups. With no one in front of me it was nice to run my own pace on this loop, which ended up being a bit slower than the first lap on the trails but I made up for it in the last mile upping the pace and coming in just a few seconds slower than the first lap. Caught a young man coming up one of the sound of music hills but he ended up re-passing me before the finish and I didn't feel the need to up the anti and try to re-"chick" him. For not seeing anyone most of the lap I surprisingly wasn't too far back from the 3 or 4 runners in front of me. DP was waiting at the finish line and I assumed he had been done for awhile but he claimed we were just behind him. I guess he was the white shirt I saw at the top of the grassy hill as we headed into the last mile! No other girls gave me a run for my money on the second loop so I gratefully came in 2nd overall. Not a bad training run if I do say so myself ;) Apparently the cut back in mileage this week paid off because I really did feel good today despite the 38 hills (JC counted) and the heat!
Got in a nice 3 mile cool down split between my SERC buddy BB who placed first in her age group, and with TM who ended up crushing me by about 2 minutes. Nice to get out with the gals and chat about racing. I'm getting anxious for next weeks 50k so this morning was a nice distraction from that, and talking it over with all my gals is helping me to devise a race plan (which hopefully I will have the self control to stick to).
Splits for the math junkies. Once I figure out how to get these fancy Garmin charts in here I will have to add those whenever they seem interesting. So far I have tracked my heart rate on most of my runs, but I have no clue what it means! The pace and distance data has been such a nice change from begging friends with Garmins for their mileage or google mapping every run. So far I am giving the Garmin 405 two thumbs up. I love it!
Garmin claims I pretty much even split the race, but looking at the chart the math makes no sense since I had a 10+ minute miler on the second loop and all the miles were slower, but I guess my watch having the first loop at 4.8ish makes the miles harder to compare, must have run the last .2 of that 5th mile at blazing speed, possible as it was downhill. 1st half based on my watch was 42:31 (Likely 42:32-42:34 with that brief auto paused hill, so I may have even negative split, bizarre) and second half was 42:34.
Mile 1- 7:45
Mile 2- 8:31
Mile 3- 9:29
Mile 4- 8:22
Mile 5- 8:30
Mile 6- 8:33
Mile 7- 9:08
Mile 8- 10:02
Mile 9- 9:06
Mile 9.7- 5:33 (Pace 8:05)
Official Time 1:25:05
Must admit it was great to be back out racing. I am getting stoked for next week!