I had such a fun time at the trail 5K this morning. Not only is it great to be back to racing again after dealing with my hip injury for so long, but I’m really glad I wound up choosing a small trail race.
The race took us through 3.1 miles of twisting, rolling, rocky, rooty single-track trails here in Auburn. I’d never been out to the Lake Wilmore trails before, so I didn’t know what to expect. My only other trail 5K was at the forest ecology preserve, which is just as twisty and rolling but with, I think, fewer rocks and roots. The challenging terrain kept my mind and my feet busy the whole time and defintely made me feel like I was working pretty hard for every mile.
Because I’m not at the point in my recovery where I can do speed training yet, I didn’t want to get into a race situation where I would wind up worrying about my pace the whole time. I didn’t want to stress about feeling slow. That made the trail race perfect — it’s practically impossible for me to try to speed up because I’m so busy trying not to fall down. At one point I looked at my watch and saw a 14:xx pace and I just thought to myself, well, maybe the Garmin is wrong, but even if it’s right, there’s nothing I can do about it. I basically didn’t look at it again because I was busy watching my footing.
I wound up running the whole race with a few other women right in front of and behind me. I could keep following the woman with the pink top and not worry about getting lost, and it was good to have other people around for company. I did wind up tripping twice: once I went down and scraped my knee and my hand a little bit, but I wasn’t really hurt. The second time, I caught hold of a skinny tree trunk with one hand and I swung around that tree like I was Gene Kelly and it was a lamppost. I have to say, it was a pretty good save.
My goals going into the race were to have fun and not fall — I did fall down, but it didn’t stop me from having fun!
My final time was about ten minutes slower than what I would consider a normal 5K time for me when racing on roads (and not recovering from months of injury). I’m glad I didn’t set a time goal going into the race, because if I had I probably would have felt a little disappointed with a time of 37:06. But you know what? This race was small enough that I actually placed second in my age group — the first time I have ever placed! I don’t even care that there may only have been one or two other women in the 30-34s.
Give me a cute acorn-shaped award and I will happily accept it!
Another fun note: I hung out chatting with the other women I’d been running with, who were all really nice and cool, and they all wound up placing in their age groups, too. How cool is that? Small fun trail race, nice people, and some pretty scenery. Good way to start a Saturday, if you ask me!