If I had signed up for all the races that looked fun or challenging at the beginning of this year, I’d be broke and injured. So I kept the registrations to a minimum (although a couple of free entries and lower cost races have made for a more than usual race-filled year). With that said, I still managed to race twice in less than a week last month.
The Dirk Siebold Alumni Cross Country Meet – 5K
I’ve been waiting for this cross country meet all year. Now in its 15th year, the annual alumni race pits former Whitewater High School (Wisconsin) CC athletes against the current team in a 5K. OK, it’s not particularly cutthroat, but there are low scores to be earned and a winning team declared. Spoiler alert: The alumni won! I finished in 4th for alumni (6th place for alumni vs. current team and 7th place overall including unattached runners), meaning I scored for our team (score = adding up the overall place finishes of the top 7 runners on each team, lowest total score wins).
The course starts in an athletic field, crosses a street, and heads straight up a steep, grassy hill. Then we wind through a little woodsy area, speed down a quad-crushing hill into another field, and a long/less steep uphill for another downhill into the woods, up ANOTHER STEEP, gravel-ridden hill, for yet another quad-crushing downhill, repeat the field/hills, and back around to the finish! I pulled ahead of a current team member (a.k.a. high school kid) in the first quarter mile and pushed to stay only steps ahead. The group ahead of us was at least a minute away, so I focused on keeping my place (and pace for that matter). In other words, a challenging practice in not giving in to fatigue and doubt for 3.1 miles. For all the effort I felt I put forth in the first 2.5+ miles, I realized in the final quarter mile or so there was more to give. I picked up the pace and bolted down the final stretch across the field to the finish–with a smile of course! (Oddly, but not really surprisingly, I smile a heck of a lot more during a strenuous race than I do in everyday life, but really, who can smile ALL the time?)
The nostalgia continued post-race as I chatted with old high school friends, our former coach (newly crowned the namesake of said CC meet), and indulged in Rocky Rococco pizza.
Jen and I had a few days of recovery time for race #1 of the 4-part Salomon Autumn Trail Series.
Salomon Autumn Trails Series – Race #1 – 4.2 miles
This is our second year participating in the Salomon Autumn Trail Series (2 years ago we ran just the 4th race, last year we loved running the entire series), a lower-key trail run at Hyland Park Reserve in Bloomington, MN. Weather-wise, the night was perfect! Performance-wise, it seemed like I started out too fast for my current fitness, but I ended up placing in the top 10 for women (9 out of 65) and shaving off some time from last year’s first race. Must’ve been the new trail shoes–a pair of Nike Terra Kigers that fit more snugly than my Lone Peaks, yet still offer ample room in the toe box.
A trail run with 160 other runners, some mango slices, a bottle of local beer–not bad for a Wednesday evening.
Next race: Salomon Autumn Trail Series – Race #2 and the Discover Whitewater Series 1/2 Marathon