Monday, September 5, 2011

Wildwood Trail Trial 10k race

Monday Labor Day.

8:00 AM

I arrive to Josh's house filled with the usual pre-race excitement.
He is already stepping outside barefoot and more than ready to taste the trail today. While waiting for our last comrade he offers me a shot of his special Chia seeds cocktail. This is the first time I am trying it and it tastes quite good.
Mike arrives so the team is ready and off we go.

We park the car near the finish line and start waiting in a long line for a shuttle to move us uphill to the starting point. It is still cold. Mike pulls up a thermos with a hot tea. It feels good.
We catch a couple of curious looks at our bare feet from a group of runners waiting in front of us.
One gets the courage: “You guys know what the trail looks like right ?”

- - -

The Wildwood Trail again.
Oh yes.
We know it more that one would think.
In the past month I ran 48 miles on it and I feel really good today. It is going to be mostly downhill so we should be flying ! Spirits are high.

The organizer - Oregon Road Runners Club - picked a great course:
"...packed earth trail with many turns. Mostly good surface but with some rocks, roots, and occasional slugs. A 650’ elevation loss in the first 5.7 miles and a 200’ climb in the last half mile. Participants start in 1 to 2 minute intervals, from 8:30 to 11:30 am, in heats of 4 or fewer."

9:30 AM

A beautiful morning forest with sun peaking through the dense canopy. The air is fresh and warming up. Four of us line up on narrow fire lane road.

Josh starts with a wild shout. Him and Mike take no time to warm up and start rolling down the hill right away. I stay behind but not for long. After 4 curves I catch up with Mike and we run and chat together for a while.
Josh is nowhere to be seen which is not unexpected. I decide to go after him. I know how fast he is but it is worth trying.
Soon I start passing some runners from the earlier starting waves.

I feel fast but comfortable and relaxed. The perfect form. The perfect day. Heel pain from the last week is gone.

I reach the lowest point of the course all alone and start running along a creek.
The trail changes to a rocky more technical section.

I am slowly giving up on the idea of actually seeing Josh's back again at the race today. 

Soon enough I register a runner behind approaching with a steady pace. It is only a half a mile to the finish line but all uphill now. 200' vertical climb zig zagging a steep stream bank.

"No way he is going to pass me here on the way up." No idea where that is coming from.

I start pushing more. Passing runners in front who just started walking up. My lungs are on fire and I am rapidly losing power in my legs but still keeping the distance between us.
Last curve and the finish line. I have no energy left for sprinting so I finish nice and relaxed with a feeling of pure enjoyment after a great race.

Me finishing

Josh finishing

Mike finishing

Race stats:
Length: 10k
Elevation change: 650’ elevation loss and a 200’ climb
Time:  00:47:48 (Pace 07:43)
Placed: 35 (from 260) overall and 5th (from 44) in my AG

Race course
Wildwood Trail Trial Ortho

Wildwood Trail Trial Aerial View

Wildwood Trail Trial Profile