Backyard Burn 10 Miler Race Report
|March 6, 2013||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
This weekend I ran the Backyard Burn 10 Miler at Hemlock Overlook in Clifton, VA.
The race was actually 10.3 miles. (Not because my garmin said so. My garmin actually had no say in the matter. Per usual for a trail outing, my garmin put up a poor showing in its race day round of hide and seek with the satellites and stopped working around mile 1.)
The officially advertised distance of this race course was 10.3 miles. These trail crazies just love to defy conventional race distances.
10.3 miles also happens to also be the shortest distance I’ve ever raced on a trail.
Considering I was fresh off of no sleep, 18 rounds of ‘Shout!’ on the dance floor of my friend’s wedding, and got schooled by Panther Dave as he ran the full 50 miles while I stumbled through 13…I don’t.
A super fun weekend-most definitely. A “race”-not so much.
On Sunday, I got schooled again. This time in the hard lesson of the difficulty of short distance trail racing. You would think that the shorter the race, the easier the race, right? But no, that is most definitely not the case. I guess this should not have such a surprise to me considering my deep disdain for anything 5 or 10k.
In a marathon or longer trail race, you get to settle into a pace that might be challenging to sustain for a long time, but is really a very pleasant pace. A speed that allows you to chat, safely (unless you’re me) navigate roots and rocks, and easily snack on chocolate donut holes and peanut butter pretzels.
10.3 miles allows for none of these things and is a straight up recipe for disaster. Trying to run fast on trails is downright unsafe for this girl. I can barely stay upright when I’m cruising along at 9 minute miles.
And by “I can barely stay upright”, I mean that I usually don’t.
You can imagine how safe and confident I felt trying to sprint my way through 10 miles while hurdling over logs, creeks, roots, and rocks. There is a slight chance that this was not the best choice for a race during marathon training.
I’d run long the day before the race, so I wasn’t really looking to do anything too crazy on Sunday, but I still wanted to run it kind of hard.
Usually when I go into a race with this mentality, I have a very specific plan and pace that I’m trying to run. Tempo miles at 6:30, marathon goal pace miles or maybe a negative split. But for this trail race, I had NO idea what or how to run.
So when the race started, I just ran hard-ish.
I’m not going to lie to you, this was not my favorite trail race. Not because the race was not well organized and well supported. It was. The people behind this race are absolutely top-notch.
I just really didn’t love trying to sprint my way through 10 miles of trails, especially with heavy legs from a long run. I didn’t love that I had to stop and walk downhill and on especially rocky parts because I was terrified of plummeting to a broken ankle and ruining my marathon season. Even though I wasn’t race/racing I hated hearing footsteps closing in on me every time I slowed down to avoid broken bones.
The normal trail culture that makes ultras so much fun just wasn’t there. People were most definitely not interested in chatting while we ran through the woods and there was a very noticeable lack of snacks. Making new friends and eating junk food at aid stations are two very important parts of trail racing and I missed them greatly on Sunday.
I forgave the lack of snacks when I found the heaters at the finish line
I finished in 1:27 and change. More importantly, I didn’t fall. I didn’t break any bones. And I had no blood on me at the end of the race. In my mind, I won.
The race organizers did not agree. They decided that the clock trumped my lack of bloody knees and gave me third place woman and second in 20-29 age group. I decided not to contest the results when they revealed that the bling was pint glasses.
A fun day on the trail, but I think I’ll stick to the endurance events from now on.