Thursday I ran the Twilight Trail 8K. I’ve done this event a few other times. 2009. 2010, 2011 and 2012, but no report in 2012. Couldn’t tell you why I missed last year. 2011 I called my “best” year since I finished in under 50 minutes. Other years I cleared around one hour. Back when I thought finish time was the most important aspect of a race and thought it proved if you were ‘doing well’ or ‘improving’ from year to year. Spoiler alert, I finished in 1:07:55 this year loved it anyway!
I arrived for the 7 PM race around 6:40, I had planned to arrive much earlier, but I used BING for directions and it sent me who knows where and on a wild goose chase. Bad experience. I finally came across the area and was surprised at how many parking spots remained. In years past, you had to park across the street and/or down the way, unless you arrived massively early. I assumed sadly this meant not as great of a turn out for this year’s race. It was in the low 60′s (rather chilly compared to the usual weather) which made for GREAT running weather. There were years it was in the 90′s and everyone was dying of heat stroke or something. Maybe because there are more races constantly popping up people backed off? Maybe because the 100 miler happened closer to this event this year? Maybe because of the Gay Games so people were already tired and spent money? Who knows.
Either way I slipped easily into parking and went about my business of collecting my bib and using the facilities. I ran into my friend Kelli, then caught up with her again at the starting line. It was nice to play catch up. We were both a little worried about our performances due to not being in a regular routine and the ever so common “I have a pain here” runner issues.
Funds from this race help benefit the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Since the park only allows so many people on the trails at a time we have a staggered start. With a $ 5.00 donation you can “jump up” a slot This race has an interesting wave start. Based on your age you begin at varying times either at or after 7 PM. The first people back will win. AKA you get a handicap if you’re not expected to be as “good” as the people behind you.
Twilight Trail IS a trail race. You start by zigzagging through a grassy field, which makes you question everything about life and your choices. Then you enter the woods where you have to cross a stream. Some people tippy-toe on the rocks, I go into the water. After you finally start to get your footing again you have to go up a MASSIVE muddy and rocky hill. I don’t have the elevation, but FitBit tells me it was the equivalent of 20 floors, which Google says is roughly 200 feet. Then across some rolling hills. The first 1 – 1.5 miles are ROUGH. I made it to the water station after countless attempts to run after stopping and cursing myself. My watch said it had been 21 minutes. It took everything in me not to feel discouraged. Here is an elevation chart from a previous year.
I missed the marker for mile 1, but I saw mile two! I passed it around 26:20 and was THRILLED. I found my positive vibe again and a more “flat” part of the trail for a mile. I listened to some music and took off. I cleared the next mile in about 13 minutes. Along the way I saw a beautiful hawk swoop from tree to tree in the woods. So much better than Netflix. Haha. Around mile 3.5 to 4 I wanted to slow down or quit, but that’s when my friend Pete showed up. I expected him to blow past me, but we run and chatted. Up past Squire’s Castle and over the last part of the rolling, rock, muddy hills. He did take off in the grassy fields of doom though. I pushed it as best as I could and managed to come across the mat at 1:07:55. VERY HAPPY.
My pretend goal was less than 1:30:00 and my personal goal was 1:15:00 to keep a 15 minute pace. I finished with a pace just under 14 minutes per mile, and I LOVE it since the end and beginning are so rough, it means a few other miles were less than 13/14 minutes! Mom even told me before the race not to be so hard on myself, and I would probably be surprised as to what I’m still able to do. It certainly makes me wanna get back into training mode a lot more.
So once again, thank you Kate for a fabulous event. I especially loved double-fisting some watermelon slices the size of my head. I will be back again next year!