Wednesday, January 28, 2009

splish splash at the wtrs 15k

Baz's professionally-made sign directs high speed drivers along Ortega Highway to the Winter Trail Run Series.

Saturday morning was a wet and fun adventure at the Blue Jay Campground for the Winter Trail Run Series 15K (the 2nd of four runs). The course was the same as the previous "12K" which had to be rerouted because of trail damage. I didn't do particularly well at that run (2:09:51) so I was anxious to do better on this one. But with the rain coming down, the already treacherous and technical singletrack required more agility and care to run it.

Runners gather around for the pre-race briefing. Everyone was anxious to get the race started and start to warm up.

When we were given the go signal, the speedsters led by Dean Dobberteen, leaped out and wasted no time in taking the pack to the skinny singletrack. I didn't want to go too fast. I think that was my problem last time which led to those miserable shin splints. I stayed with Molly for the first part of the course. She wanted to run with someone since she was worried about the trail conditions. At about 3.5 miles, as the trail was going uphill, I pulled back and Molly soon left me behind. I knew she's a strong uphill runner and I really couldn't keep up with her.

The rain seemed to relent at first but soon came down and kept the runners and the trail soaked. Although I was feeling a lot better than I did two weeks ago, I was being very careful out there. One wrong and careless move could cost me some blood and DNA. I was wearing my low profile New Balance 790s and surprisingly, they held up well considering the wet and slippery conditions.

Mile 6 marked the attack of the shin splints that hobbled me two weeks ago. This time though was a 180 degree turn from that day. My breathing was better, my legs felt fresh and whereas I seemed to be tripping on every root and rock on the trail last time, this time around I felt like I was floating on the trail especially the downhill sections.

I saw the cars with about three quarters of a mile to go, and I knew that the finish is near. As we came out of the trails, our friendly forest service rangers pointed the way to the finish line. I sprinted the last 100 yards finishing at 1:45:49. I was very happy with the 24 minute improvement especially with the wicked and slippery trail. Surprisingly I didn't see any signs of anyone falling on the trail (i.e. blood) unless of course the rain just washed them away.

By the time the most of the runners were finishing, the rain had been coming down nonstop.

All in all, a great morning and definitely worthy of a 5:30am wake up. And by the way, it's hard to beat a great morning run especially with cold beer and hot pancakes (thanks to Jon R.) at the post-race festivities.

Jon (in red) volunteered his pancake cooking services for the cold and hungry runners. From L-R , Rich, Leon, Mike and Ted wait their turn.

Baz was warm, cozy and dry inside his RV as he was doing the awards ceremonies.

Click here for the recap from Baz, our friendly race director.

Photos courtesy of Doug Malewicki.


Anonymous said...

You managed the rain perfectly. Rain and trail don't mix well when you are supposed to race.


e-rod said...

No, I suppose not, Steph, but it was loads of fun! Thanks. :)