Monday, September 4, 2017

WWC Labor Day 15k Trail Race

So I was kicking around where I wanted to race over the Labor Day weekend. With all the miles that I have been piling up at the WWC, why not jump in their 15K race. Many of the trails used for the 15k were ones that I was already running.

Fast forward to Sunday morning, I headed off in wave one. We quickly strung out with a couple of guys putting a gap on the rest of us. This was fine with me. I had my plan for the race, and I sticking to it.

After an out and back along the western edge of the gravel road around the white water section, we hopped on to the trail. I had 4 guys on my “six” and pushing me to run faster. Two miles in, they were still on my tail. A couple of times, I gave them the wide side of the trail to pass. While I was open to letting them by, I was about to slow down for them. If they wanted it, they needed to muscle up the speed and take it.

With them not making any real effort to pass me, we settled into this pattern of my pulling away slightly on the uphill while they came pounding back on the down hills.

We transitioned to the south main trail. Here things flatten out and the trail widens. I expected a flood of runners going by me.

Yet, this didn't happen. By not plunging into the trail section in oxygen debt, I had maintained my breathing and lactic acid levels. Now, we were running long the river, and I was feeling good. Approaching the Wedge Loop, I sensed that I had gap. The Wedge Loop is only about ½ mile but it suites my running style. This allowed my to open my gap on them even further. Adding to my inspiration, the 2nd place runner was floating in and out of my vision at every turn. Nothing encourages a runner more than seeing a runner just ahead.

Within a mile, I reeled him back to me. Now, I was on his “six” and pressing him at every turn. I guess he didn't like the hoofs pounding at this back door because he pulled up and let me pass. Although thinking back now, I didn't believe that I was pressing my point that much because I knew the trail head was about to open up. Giving me my opportunity to get around him.

Entering the Lake Loop, I could tell that I had nice gap. As many of you know the WWC Lake Loop is my favorite. The terrain is pretty similar to running at McAlpine. Every cruise section, I pushed harder to hoping to keep my gap growing.

Trail running makes it tough to gauge distance. How well a runner can handle the terrain means more than raw speed. But when we crossed the parking lot for the final section of trail, I couldn't see any one close.

There were a number of 5k walkers finishing up. I nearly ran over a couple of them. Calling out  “a heads up”, I am coming. They never moved. In fact, they didn't move until I tapped them on the shoulder. They had their ear buds and were tuning out the world around.

Once out on the gravel section, I was free of the roots to run now. Loved their finish along the water on the island. They should have all of their races start and end at this location. In my opinion, everyone loved it.

I finished in second place 4 minutes and 37 seconds behind with a time of 72:34. The guy that I passed for 2nd place ended up some 48 seconds behind me.

My only glimpse of the leader was during our Wedge Loop, I was heading in while he was heading out. He was likely about 3 minutes ahead of me at this point.

Kudos to Adam and his entire WWC crew. They did an awesome job organizing the race, and gave away some nice swag to the age groupers. Interesting enough, the WWC races don't give overall awards. Not sure why, but it is what is.

Loved getting some trail time no matter what. Even with the temps in the 60s, the humidity was awful. My Hoka Race Jersey, shorts, and shoes were soaked. Who knows how many days will need to pass before they dry out.

The Cool Down Runner

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