The race itself was a learning experience, I learned three things today. The first is that you can start a trail race too fast just like a road race. Secondly I learned that you do not listen to your brain and do not give in to pain. Finally I learned that trail running is amazing!!! Trail racing is just you and nature, and for this race 30 other family members. Before this race I had read that trail running is a cult, it's a race but each person is like family. If you pass someone or run with someone for a little while you talk to them, unlike road races where people ignore you and don't want to talk. I had a great conversation with a gentleman while we both struggled up one of the many rocky hills that the course presented. As I headed back to the start/finish I was being cheered on by other runners, I also did the same as I passed them.
I started the race way too fast, I was running on adrenaline and excited to be on a trail. For the first couple miles I was holding on to 4th, at the time I felt good but didn't know that the course would be full of very technical ascents and descents. With roots and rocks all over the place I couldn't run like a little kid and just go full speed down the hill. That's my secret in trail running, I'm not the fastest on the flats or while climbing but on the downhills I don't care and go down the hills with reckless abandon. The hills beat me up, as I was finishing I was tripping over roots and rocks because my legs were so tired and picking them up to run was not easy.
I quickly learned that trail running is painful. It is the pain that makes the average runner great on the trails, on the road speed wins. On the trail speed helps but it is the ability to deal with pain that makes you great. Today as I was struggling up very steep hills it was my inability to "run" once at the top. I walked a lot more than I should have, the pain was taking its toll. I would ignore the pain late in the race and finish strong but needed that mind set the entire race. I would finish in the middle of the pack which I was happy with. Can I do better, of course. Will I do better, yes!! Am I addicted to trail running? You better believe it!!