I went to a 10k trail race at Black Partridge Park in Metamora this morning. The plan was to help the race director out with pre-race registration and other logistics involving the race. He told me to bring my running clothes just in case. I did and am glad. About 5 minutes before the race I laced up my shoes and grabbed a bib.
The course was fantastic. Mainly single track with a few nice hills, several bends and curves and a handful of well hidden water hazards. I really enjoyed the scenery and the variety of the course.
As for the race itself, I had no real race strategy going in as I did not plan to run. At the start I took off and was near the lead group. I was not too sure that I wanted to hang with that group or just have a laid back run, but before I was really able to make that decision we hit the single track. Once in that area our group split into two groups. The new lead group did not contain me and put some space between themselves and the rest of us rather quickly. I found that I was feeling pretty good and not happy with the pace my group was running. At about the half way point we hit the water station and an open area in the trail. I took advantage of the open space to make my move. I passed a handful of runners and settled into a quicker, but more comfortable pace for me. With about 1 mile left I caught part of the lead group. They had slowed and I was not able to find a way around them, so I fell in behind them and waited to hit the home stretch which would be in an open field. Once we emerged from the woods I kicked into high gear and left the guys behind.
I ended up with a time of 54:09 and in 8th place overall. As the race director said, "Not too shabby considering no warm up and a bloody knee!"
Oh, did I not mention the bloody knee? I have a history of falling on the trails. I have even earned a nickname, "Sir-Trips-Alot". Todays crash was due to indecision. As I approached a steep downhill I could not decide whether to run down slowly and in control or to enjoy some free speed. As you cannot do both at once gravity made the decision for me. I did a nice 4-point slide on my hands knees before scrambling to my feet and back up the hill. No one had the pleasure of watching my crash, but everyone got to see the result at the finish.
All in all a good day.