Thursday night was the 3rd annual Twilight Trail 8k race. The past two years I have run this as a female team with Amie and we came in 2nd and then 1st last year. This year Amie is injured and since I was planning to race Perfect 10 I wasn't sure about doing Twilight Trail. I didn't want to pair up with anyone and hold them back since I knew I couldn't run myself into the ground. I have been training with NC the past few weeks and she asked if I would pair up with her. I decided she was fast enough that hopefully I wouldn't hold her back. Trails are usually my forte so I thought I could hold my own and help repeat the win.
Well we got to the race and there was a ton more people this year! Including a few new female teams that would definitely give us a run for our money. This event is special in that it has a staggered start based on age and sex and your final time is not your actual race time, but your staggered time. The race is for charity and in order to raise more money you can pay to move up one sex stagger. Last year I didn't pay and ended up running the fastest female split but coming in second because I started a minute behind the leader. Since we didn't know if the other teams were paying to move up we decided we better pay just in case they had, plus it is for charity. As a bonus moving up a stagger for us puts us in with the younger gals and gets rid of the backlog at the stream and hill that we would have to deal with if we started a minute later.
The race got off to a late start due to all the new faces. No worries this is a fun run mostly anyways. (As a side note if you have not done any of the clevelandplaysracing races this year you are missing out. Kate Pophal does a great job and these races are competitive but still lighthearted and fun and well run.) I decided to try and run with my partner as long as I could hold on. We took off and there was four of us together, Frank, NC, SAI, and me. SAI had a fantastic run at Muddy Paws so I figured she was in my league and that we could all work together. At the stream she started to take off the wrong way and the three of us start screaming right right right. She got back on track quickly and caught us shortly after the stream.
We headed up the monster hill and I tried to ease off the pace but in retrospect I should have eased off a bit more. We got to the top and my legs were toast. Apparently being on your feet all day at Cedar Point and doing a hard track workout on Tuesday equaled legs that were not up for long steep hills by Thursday. I did my best to try and catch back up to the group but never got my foothold.
The group passed a man running with his dog and I politely called out passing on the right. He didn't move so I called out again and he proceeded to ask me why I wanted to pass on the right. Frankly he was taking up the whole trail with his dog and I did not want to get tangled up in the leash, it wouldn't be hard for him to move an inch to his left while I don't think me communicating "on the left" to his dog was going to be very effective. I just said I was afraid of dogs to move things along, this is a freaking race after all and he proceeds to lecture me about how I need to get over that.
Whatever I passed on the right and tried to get my legs back. I am still a little irritated about this though. I know this guy and he is a nice guy has a very nice daughter, but if you are going to run with your dog in a race and someone asks you to let them pass you should be polite and let them do so. And even though I am not really afraid of his dog if I was that is a perfectly acceptable fear considering I have been jumped on by a dog while running and was left with bruises so big a guy at the gym thought it was a tattoo. And I also have many friends who were attacked by dogs while running. It is just natural for a dog to what to chase you, while most probably aren't a problem, you just never know how an animal may react to you. If I had just been out for a run I would have had time to ask if the dog was nice, give clearance etc, but this was a race situation and if you are being passed, dog or not, it is just polite to move over when someone requests it.
I lost a little ground on the group here and knew there was one more hill to deal with before I could get my legs back and try to catch up. I pushed through passing runners from the early staggered starts and cheering them on. I just never completely got my legs back. TM caught me about half way through and I couldn't get my legs to respond and go with her. I got excited before mile 3 thinking there would be water only to realize it was just a few kids cheering. They yelled out that they hoped I won, I said not likely. They replied that they believed in me. Too fun. Now if only my legs would believe it too!
I hammered the downhills down to Squire Castle and could see that NC had a huge lead on me and that SAI and Frank were a little ahead of her. I cheered for her as I made my way around the castle. Made the mistake of looking over my shoulder to find that a young guy and KG were coming up on my quickly. I know KG is faster than me, but having her pass me when I had a 60 second head start still isn't good for the ego. I tried to go with her, but just didn't have the juice. I knew I needed to hammer it in though in case her partner was right behind me. I also knew Frank was going to need to push as this young guy was coming up quickly. Frank is tough though and he held out for the win!
I did my best to hammer it in, thanking Kate for another great race as I made my way to the finish. Ended up running 34:55 compared to my 34:21 last year. Not bad but would have liked to have at least run the same time as last year given I am obviously in much better shape. But last year I was on the trails a lot and this year I have hardly run trails at all. In the end the effort was good enough for our team to pull out the win. Very glad I didn't hold my partner back, I would have felt bad if we lost because of me.
It was another fun night and I got in a good hard effort run which is the goal on Thursdays. Hung out with my friends chatting about the race after as they gave out awards. First place was good enough for $125 for our team. Not too bad for 35 minutes hard work. Finished things up with a beer and headed out to DQ for blizzards. A good way to end the night.
Once the race posts photos I will try to update with a few. Great job to NC and Frank! Daisy and GP also had a good team run! TM pulled out the female win again and ran much better than last year, girl is one tough cookie!