2014/11/01 – Rocky Raccoon Trail Race – 10k

Location:

  • Hunstville State Park

What is it?

  • 10k/25k/50k Trail Run – I did the 10k

Official Results:

  • 6th place male (12th over all) with a time of: 0:59:30.5  (Website here)

Experience:

Holy Crap. First race in 2 years! Leading up to this race, I was very excited to get out there and get racing again.  But, waking up race day morning, I was not feeling racing at all.  I really did not want to get up and go race what so ever.  But, I sucked it up, and got ready and up toe Huntsville we went.  The whole drive up, still was not wanting to be up there doing this. Whatever, let’s get it over and not plan on doing any more races again.

Then, the race started and instantly, my attitude changed as I remembered why I enjoyed racing so much and how much I really missed it!  It was 43F at the start of the race, wasn’t completely ready for that temperature, but I did have some clothing to go with. I was smart enough to bring my Smart Wool T-shirt, and a long sleeve shirt.  So, tossed those on.  I was quite chilled at the start line, but in less than a mile, I was warmed up.  I really do enjoy trail running.  The technical aspects of it are what I really like.  Huntsville isn’t all that technical, but it has some sections that are a bit more than average, which makes it really enjoyable.  So, it’s a fast course for sure.

I tried to start off nice and easy, since this is my first race back, and I haven’t run 5k in trails, let alone 10k in a really long time.  Going into the race, I just wanted to have a good time, and be safe.  I did have a stretch goal, of hitting an hour for this race, so that was in the back of my mind the whole time.  I realized shortly after the start of the second mile, that the 1 hour goal was going to be iffy.  I forgot how much sand was on the course, and I don’t run in sand well. I’m just too big and currently having a hip flexor issue, that doesn’t allow me to move quickly through sand.  So, with the sand, I had to walk through it to be safe, the number one goal so that I could get back to training with out any set backs.

For the 10k race, it was an out and back course.  Not my favourite style, but at Huntsville on this day, it seemed like a great way to race for me.  I liked going through and seeing everyone as we passed them either after they made the turn around or after I made it.  You got to see everyone, and cheer them on as well.  One of the great things with off road events, everyone is always very happy and cheerful towards each other and helps to encourage everyone, even your own competitors.  And on this day when I started off not wanting to be there, to an out and back, which I’m not fond of, this extra cheering on was awesome.  Just made for an absolute great race.

On my way back, I looked at my distance and time, and realized I had 2 miles to go, and not enough time to do it with the amount of walking I needed to do because of all the sand.  A couple of time I caught myself walking beyond the sand and so picked it up again.  “Just keep running! You ran 7 miles on Wednesday, this is only 6!” I said to myself and I would pick it up.

Eventually I came around the last turn and glanced down and noticed the clock. “Holy CRAP!” 0:59:something is what I saw. “I might actually make it!” So, I picked it up and gave it a final push through to the end.  My effort rewarded with 30 seconds to spare before the 1 hour mark.  I had made my stretch goal, and was feeling great! Within a minute or two of my crossing the posted up the times on a board, and, not only was I under an hour, but I had made 12th over all! Wow! I was not expecting that at all!

The volunteers at the race were absolutely amazing, all of them very helpful and good at cheering us all on.  It was a very well done race, and was just happy to be out there and hanging out with them all.

Final Thoughts

This race was very well put together I felt.  Definitely a great race to bring me back into the folds of racing.  The temperature was about perfect, started off cold, but I warmed up quickly, so was nice and comfortable for the entire race.  I probably could have been a bit more risky in the sandy areas, which could have gotten me a couple more minutes, which could have gotten me a top ten finish.  But, no sense in risking things and not being able to continue forth.  And I’ve had plenty of setbacks the last several years.  No more.  Time to move forward and start gearing up for bigger things!

Several Day Later…

Still very happy with my race.  I raced it smart, and am feeling good with how it turned out.  Next year I may be back to tackle the 25k (or 50k?)  I have done this races 25k many years ago.  I would like to go back and beat that time. Or go back and crush my 10k time from this year.  But that’s to be determined still.  I’m definitely going to look for another race soon, and get signed up.  I’ve lots of work to do still, and a mini goal will help me get there.

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