Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Whitewater Center Memorial Day Trail race

First, I would like to send my congratulations to Adam and his entire Whitewater Center staff for putting on a great trail race. Every time that I visit the Whitewater Center they have either made an improvement to the facility or expanded their trails. Businesses investing in themselves show what is really important. They are giving people what they want and enjoy. By doing so they are enticing people like me to return again and again. In my opinion yesterday was a great sign that their hard work is paying off. They had a great turn out.

As for why I was at the Whitewater Center yesterday, I was running their eight mile trail race. Each weekend either Saturday or Sunday, I typically do my sixteen mile long run. Being a Memorial Day weekend getting company for a long run can be hard. Thus, I opted for mixing my long run in with this trail race.

My trail running has been few and far between lately. This would be my second trail run this year. Previously, I have to go back to last year some time to find another one. Trail runs can be fun. Running on the roads is such a repetitive action. Stride after stride occurs will very little variance. On the trails, I am twisting and turning. I am going uphill and downhill. I am making sharp turns left or right. Trail running just forces my muscles to work more and differently than in my normal road runs.

After getting my packet I headed out for some miles over part of the trail which we would later be racing. I have to give these guys credit. The course was marked. Every turn was marked with either green or orange arrows and in most cases ribbon was used to clearly tell the runners which direction to proceed.

Nearly seven miles into my run I made my way to the starting line with just a few minutes to spare.

I saw Chris and Cory warming up.

Adam gave us a quick count down and we were off. The start didn’t seem particular fast. I watched as Chris and Cory plus a few other guys started to separate from the rest of us.  After an easy half mile or so we hit the trail. I fell in behind two other runners.

Watching them run reminded me that trail runners and road runners attack courses differently. I like a nice even pace. Each downhill they were simply flying. I could not keep up. Yet, on the uphill I would draw them back. At least on the flatter sections, I could hold my own.

The first four miles or so were along the more technical sections of the Whitewater Center trails. I have a love/hate relationship with this section of the course. There are parts that have a ton of roots and rocks which make running difficult. Then, there are nice soft pine needle covered sections that I just love to run on.

From four to seven miles we ran along the lake loop. Again there are a few roots but lots of pine needles and relative flat and open. I took up leading our group. I was doing well until my legs started to feel the effects about fourteen miles in to the run.

With about mile to go in the race both runners surged back by me. I let them go. There was no point. I was clearly on a different agenda. I need to get to the end.

We popped out along the back side of the Whitewater center and finished with half mile run back to the bottom part of the facility.

I finished with a couple miles cool down on a section of the trail that I hadn’t previously run. Then, I headed over for the awards.

My legs were completely spent.

I placed 9th overall, first in the 45-49 age group, and ran 60:30 which is about 7:30 pace. I am happy with my effort.  

Like I said this was a great race and I had a great time running it.

Look for Adam and his crew to put this race on again next year. Also theyWhitewater Center has a number of free Thursday evening runs and trail races this summer so check them out.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner



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