May 16, 2013

Do It in a Bush

Yes, that was the name of the 5k XC/trail race this past weekend. (What can I say; my running club has a sense of humor.) Like I said in the previous post, my sole purpose for this run was to secure my win of the Grand Prix. The Grand Prix consisted of 9 races. (I only did 6.) The winner gets a pretty sweet free race entry deal for the following year. I didn't set out to win it, but as the year progressed, I found myself in the lead. I couldn't help but want to follow through with it. To secure my win, I really just had to show up. Even if Sam beat me, I would still win the series.

Sam, other Becca, and I met up before the race to run the entire course. Sam had gone off course there last year, and we were nervous it would happen again. As we did our warm up, we noticed a dark cloud looming, and in the final mile, the bottom fell out of the sky with POURING rain. We made mental note of all the tricky spots on the trail. And after the warm up, I decided to change out of my Pure Connects and into my Pure Grits. Falling was my biggest concern. I also decided to ditch the Garmin at the last minute. I realized during the warm up that the signal was not good, and I didn't want to risk ruining it by it getting soaked. Plus, I could see myself staring at the stupid thing and not paying attention to the roots. If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know that CRAZY weird stuff happens to me the closer I get to marathons. Furthermore, I am the most accident prone person on earth! I had a feeling other Becca would get first, then me, then Sam. That's just the way we roll these days.

The rain actually settled down a bit for the early minutes of the race. We started in a large field and ran the first half mile through the grass. I was actually pretty excited to *race* this (but using self control since I had to do 5K twice), and decided to start off hard to jockey for a top spot. I knew that I should also try to bank some time, being that I would slow way down on the tricky trail parts of the race. We started out and I took lead female immediately (which was on purpose). I fully expected to get passed back somewhere in the race. I just wanted to make up some time when the terrain was easier for me. I latched on to a guy (The Mailman) that recently ran Sub 3, silently hoping the my fitness matched his. We sped through the wet grass and at about 3/4 mile entered the trail portion of the race. The early part of the trail was pretty easy. For some reason the clock wasn't working at the 1 mile marker; so I have no clue what time was for that mile. I weaved in and out of the woods. Sub 3 guy (The Mailman, if you have read earlier blog posts) left me at about 1.25. I was paying close attention to the roots. However, I felt strong and fast, and other Becca hadn't passed me yet. Just before 1.5 (about) there was a huge gully with mud surrounding it. I slowed to nearly a stop and leaped over it. Other Becca sped past and shot up the hill. I followed and watched her pass The Sub 3 Mailman. I wanted to focus on other stuff, but unfortunately all I looked at was root after root. I was leaping and bobbing inside and out to avoid those suckers. I tried to run fast and keep a steady pace. I had no idea how fast or how slow I was running.

Mile 2 flattened out for a quarter mile. I caught up to the Sub 3 Mailman. I just love The Mailman. I have mentioned before, but he has been very instrumental in my marathon training- always encouraging me and giving me sound advice.  The roots got more tricky after this, and the rain fell harder. I was glad I wore my Run Happy visor, as it protected my eyes from the driving rain. We passed Bo, The Dog Whisperer. (Remember the story about the guy that bowed up on the pit bull, saving me from attack? Well, that's him.) I tried to bring myself more on my toes or forefoot, making it easier to dodge the roots. My eyes would not leave the ground. There was one more gully, not steep at all, but fairly wide. I tried to clear it, but because I stuttered a bit before leaping, my foot slipped and I ended up with one foot in ankle-deep mud. The Mailman took off a bit, or rather I slowed down because of the slipping, the mud, and just trying to regain composure in general.

Unfortunately, I wasn't really able to regain my rhythm until we exited the trail. We exited around 2.75 to the back of the same large field we had started in. By now, the entire side of the fence was mud. I have no idea why, but I wouldn't run straight through it. I continued to dodge the puddles and huge areas of mud until I realized they were unavoidable. I was able to catch The Mailman, and I could finally see the finish line. He was yelling at me to "come on and keep up with him." I knew I could never catch other Becca, and I also knew Sam was out of sight. My clothes also weighed about 50 tons at this point, thanks to being so wet. I had no intention of sprinting it out at the end, especially knowing I had to go out and do another 3 mile tempo AFTER the race.

The clock was covered, and I hadn't worn my watch. However, I was roughly 4 seconds behind The Mailman (and surprisingly only 8 seconds after other Becca), putting me at 20:11. (The official results of this race are messed up. Apparently, there was some confusion about who was clicking in the finishers and then there was some lightening that got people off track of what they were doing. You know how runners are, though, everyone huddled around comparing Garmin times. LOL.) What that means, I have no clue. I did some stalking later and found that most people raced this about 1:30 slower than their recent road 5K. When I do the math on that, it makes me pretty happy. However, a race is a race and you can only count what you did that day, conditions, etc. That was just my way of trying to see small progress in myself.

Just like I predicted- other Becca, me, Sam, top 3 females.

I am still not ready nail down any goals for RnR San Diego. And probably when it comes down to it, I will listen to what my coach tells me to run and just try to stick to the plan the best I can. For now, I am going to finish up these last few hard workouts. Remember the motto for this cycle, Run the mile you are in.


Run Happy, friends!


  1. I think a trail 5k might be the hardest race ever: you're supposed to be going fast, but you risk wiping out on the trail. Good work.

  2. Nice work, you're always so inspiring with your positive attitude and grit even on days with tough courses/conditions.

  3. Nice running, now were are the pictures of you at the finish... would love to see just how muddy you ended up...

  4. What fun post! Congrats! Not that I'm surprised-you collect victories like a nerd collects stamps;)

    Keep running that mile you're in, my lil rock star-you just may be onto something!