I remain quite behind in my race reports. I actually ran this race on June 10, 2012.
In summary: woah. I was unbelievably exhausted and lucky not to have gotten hurt. (Unlike this time)
It's the most tired that I've been since my first marathon. That may be a function of my current fitness level or a function of the craziness of the course or both. I'd suggest both.
When I got back into my training this year, I started to up my mileage so that I was in the 10-mile range. I had completed a couple 10-mile runs in the dead heat, so I knew that I could do the distance (again--in the past, this wasn't an issue... ugh.).
There were two options for the Exeter trail race: a 4.5-mile and a 10-mile race. Since my mileage has been somewhat decent of late, I wanted to do the 10-mile race. Besides, it was the same price, so why not get my money's worth out of it, right? Right?
Well, not really. The race was well attended with about 100 participants, a lot of whom were on the Acidotic Racing team. That should have clued me in that this was no normal race. In the description, they said that this was a very "technical" course. I now know what that means.
We started and quickly got into a fast single file line into the woods. We were immediately dodging roots and rocks and trees, and not even 5 minutes into it, I knew this was going to be a nutty race. The pack thinned out pretty quickly, but I was still having a bit of a difficult time.
I don't train on trails, so I'm not used to only being able to look down when I train. There aren't many big rocks on the sidewalks that I run on, so this was a new challenge. I found that I spent the entire race looking down to make sure that I didn't trip and then stopping from time to time to see if I could figure out where the heck I was going.
The trail wasn't decently marked in that there were a lot of markings. It was poorly marked in that most of the markings were pink flags at eye level. Or rather, it would be eye level if you were looking up. Eye level for me was the ground.
I knew that my pace would be slower for this, but I had no idea how slow it would be. I took my Garmin watch to give me an idea of where I was. I thought that it wouldn't be anywhere close to accurate since 99% of the race was in the woods. When I saw that I was only at 4 miles, I thought that the GPS had to be wrong and that I was certainly much farther. After all, it had almost been an hour. It turns out that my watch was incredibly accurate.
The race was filled with lots of hills and quite a bit more walking than I'd prefer. Some of the walking was to give myself a break. Other times I was walking because the course was too treacherous to safely navigate on the run. I wanted to live to see another race, and I wasn't about to take any more risks that I had to.
For the most part, I didn't have too many issues with the roots and rocks and trees. I was extremely careful (probably more careful than most). I did however hit my right foot on a rock so hard that I thought I broke my toe. I stopped and made sure that I could move it. Thankfully I could and I soldiered on.
After 2 hours, I was finally at the finish. I was exhausted, but very happy to have it over. Because of the course, I don't think that I'd do this race again. I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected, and I don't think that I could responsibly race it without putting myself at risk for an injury. Other trail races have been much better, so I think I'll still with less "technical" courses.
Calories burned: 1,212
I did a tough trail race like this a year or so ago and have to say I agree - I was just struggling to get round, did not enjoy it much. There are much better ones out there - it's finding them that's the trick!
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