This past Thursday was the Twilight Trail 8k race. This was my fourth year running it as part of a relay team. Each partner runs the full 8k and the team with the fastest combined finish time takes honors. The catch is this is an age and sex graded start race, with staggers for different age groups and sex to try and even up the field. At 7pm women over 60 start and at 7:16 pm the young men 30 and under will go off giving chase with staggers in between for all other age categories. In addition you can donate $5 to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center to jump up one stagger.
"Warming" Up- AKA getting in our weekly miles
Ready to race
With the green light from coach my training partner and I traded in our tempo to team up and race Twilight Trail 8k, both paying the $5 donation. (It's a good cause, it's gives you an edge, and this way there are less people to pass at the stream crossing which is early in the race and can get congested) So we started the race at 7:08 PM. The course is all Bridle trail except for the start and finish which is a winding path through a large grass field. I stayed with my training partner for a little less than the 1st mile which takes you through the grass field, over a stream crossing (almost biffed it but managed to stay upright), and ends climbing a monster steep hill. I decided to save my self and try to avoid falling so far behind like I did last year by not pushing too hard up the hill. First mile was super fast still at 6:29 and I knew I'd have to push myself to hold that pace on the trails with the humidity and heat.
And we're off
I did my best to keep my partner in my line of sight and not let her open up the gap anymore. Last year I got caught by 2 females (one from a later wave and one from my wave) and a few men. It was my goal this year to not get caught. (And get in a good hard race). By mile 2 I was already off the markers. I don't take tangents well on roads, let alone trails and once again I managed to add a bit of trail to my run.
I could still see NC shortly ahead in the distance and was mentally willing myself to keep the pace and keep pushing to keep or lessen the gap she had on me. The next two miles just dragged mentally. It was hot and humid and boy 13 minutes can seem like an eternity when you are working hard (Especially since after about mile 3 there was no one left to pass from the earlier staggers)! But I managed not to fall too far behind and after mile 4 I closed back to about the same distance NC had gapped me in the first mile. As we neared the grass field finish I saw some CTC friends and smiled. There were a few small rollers here threatening to juice me, but by the time we hit the grass field I managed to up my effort and make that last mile (by my Garmin) the fastest in around 6:23. Managed to hold off all the guys from the later starts and place 2nd overall with a 32:52 with NC finishing 27 seconds ahead of me for us to sweep the team competition.
After catching our breath we cheered on some more friends and headed out for a 4 mile cool down with fellow teammate TM who snagged 2nd individual female for the evening.
I was happy to do much better than last year shaving about 2 minutes off my time. It was a good workout and being able to lead the field with my training partner was fun!
Post Race Discussions
At least we clean up well!