Race Report : Emerald Crossing

I know everyone is waiting on the good word from Dirty Girl, but that is a work in progress. Until then, enjoy a different report. Saturday May 5, I did more than the 3 hours of yoga I mentioned last week. Prior to yoga I spent the morning at Emerald Crossing park taking part in a 4 mile trail race.

Back in 2010 I ran the race as one of my first trail experiences. In 2011, I was a little busy graduating and could not make the event. In 2012 I was on my A-game and ready for action!

I arrived at the site mucho early, after dropping Emme off at Mom’s for the day. Walking around I was able to admire the shirts and awards and chit-chat with various friends.

It was also time to drop off the Marathon Bars for a post race or pre race fuel!

Eventually we all wondered over to the start and I handed my camera off to Stacy, who was working the water stop and offered to take pictures in exchange for sending the shots to her to post for Fleet Feet.

The race started off smoothly and I was easily in the beginning of the mid pack. All I know is I was keeping up and passing when possible. Within half a mile of the start though, disaster almost struck! See, the guy in front of me pushed a hanging vine out of the way. Nice of him, but caught up in the moment, he seemed to forget people were behind him. My hands flew up fast enough to catch it and push it away from me, but my feet managed to lodge under and through an exposed root. Down I went and bit the dirt. I was more upset about the people passing me by and losing my place (big deal on a single track trail) than I was about falling down. Soon enough I was back on my feet and flying through the first water station.

After the water stop, there is a section of “trail” which is more rocks and dirt reminding me of an abandoned construction site. Runners weave their way through minor hills and rocky terrain until they come to the parking lot of the Holiday Inn or whatever it is, which is where the finish line is located. Only this is a 3 loop course so two times you divert from the finish into the tall grasses and across the parking lots until you enter the trail again where you started.

At the end of my first lap Mickey told me I was looking great and had about 6 people chasing me. This gave me a boost to sprint it out toward the flat asphalt section of the parking areas.

My second time through the loop I tried to push it out a little harder than the first, as the field of runners was obviously much more spread out. I manged to not trip on anything, and powered over the hills as best as I could. I felt strong and I felt energized. I could see people not too far in front of me who I deemed “much better runners” making me feel like I was really cooking!

At the end of the second loop a few people who were “chasing” me the first time had passed me, but were still in sight. On the third loop I caught up to Tap and she asked me how I wasn’t tired. I explained to her basically I’m still testing my body. My lungs are perfect, my muscles are catching up and I just keep going. In my head I understood it was also the diet and sleep patterns I had recently improved and I also thought to myself, “How can anyone be tired, when having this much fun?”

On the rocky hills of the third loop I finally broke down and walked a few seconds (30 tops) and when I knew the end was near I gathered everything I had and made a sprint for the end. I didn’t pass some of the people I wanted to pass, but I did blow my hopes of a finish time out of the water.

I began the day hoping for under an hour. Then I imagine 55 minutes, and at one point 50. Approaching the final loop I wondered if I could pull off 45 and finally I found the answer….4 miles covered in 43:47 (per Garmin)

Not only was this “good enough” for my own happiness…it was “good enough” for a 2nd place in my age group!

Thanks Mickey and North Coast Multisports for another amazing event!

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