This year was my fourth go at the Pere Marquette Endurance Trail Run (PMETR). As I mentioned last year, it's somewhat of an unofficial STL championship of trail running. It's a REALLY HARD 7.5+ mile route. In 2009, my first year, I remember looking at the winning women's times and thinking...really? The winner went 8:13/mi pace? I totally got this. Uh....yeah....that year I finished in 1:24, good for 11:12/mi pace. See what I mean? PERE MARQUETTE IS REALLY HARD.
So. 2012. How to describe? Pre-race I had some goals that I didn't share with anyone (not that anyone asked, which is a good thing). After two years of being second in my age group, I wanted to finally win the darn thing. And, I wanted to improve on my time from last year which was 1:07 low. I knew this was going be hard since 2011 featured lightning fast trails, and I had somewhat of a breakthrough performance (11 minute improvement from 2010).
Anyway, back to the race report itself. I leave my house about 15 minutes behind schedule so when I get to Pere Marquette State Park I have to rush through pre-race prep. Park car. Get race number. Get shirt. Change clothes. Find water. Go warm up. I've gotten to know quite a few people at this race so it's hard to execute all of these things without getting drawn into well-meaning conversations. So to those I spoke with briefly before the start of the race: I apologize for cutting things short. I had several things on my mind. We are still friends.
I see fellow SLOC member Eric just as I'm beginning my warm up and am actually grateful for this chance at conversation - I want a trail report, and to confirm my shoe and clothing choice with him since he's just returning from a jog. We agree my Salomon Speedcross 3s are appropriate for the slick conditions, shorts and a t-shirt are good choices, and the trails are wet and muddy but not peanut-buttery. OK. Time to go find out for myself - I jog part of the first climb. My HR is higher than I'd like it to be but since I'm not planning on using that for pacing today, I just start ignoring it now instead of later. My legs feel good and the trail isn't as bad as I expected with the overnight rain and fog, but it's still going to be slick.
|The only picture proof I have of racing...can you even spot me? Photo by Brent Newman.|
I let my legs loose and they start churning up the first climb...350' gained in just over 1 mile. It's a rough one, and two girls in my wave pass me: pink shorts (Katie) and high pony (Janet). I let them go (after assigning race names) because my strengths are pacing and downhill running, both of which are not important in the race just yet. Much like the 5k, I try to run the first two miles at an uncomfortable but not crazy pace. On the downhills is where I let things rip. High pony starts to come back to me about mile 3 I think. I'm able to pass her where a tree has fallen across the trail.
Just after passing high pony, I start to have some doubts. Do I have the strength to chase down pink shorts? What about 1:05? You're not even half-way there yet! I'm already breathing pretty raggedly and snot is flying everywhere. Negative thoughts creep through my brain. I start to get scared. But, almost as soon as the bad stuff enters my mind, I remember some words that we start every Monday night yoga class with. I can't quote directly but it's something like "acknowledge thoughts from your day but then release them and focus on your practice now". So I acknowledge. I feel my burning legs and bursting heart. And then I release those feelings and focus on running fast.
|One of the few photos that captures PMETR's steep terrain. Photo by Brent Newman.|
I rip the next descent. I pass a lot of people, many of whom I've been yo-yo-ing with all race. By now we're friends and they make comments like "nice downhilling" and "see you on the next climb". It's awesome. I learn that one of them has been a participant in every single running of PMETR so far. He's in a Team Godzilla shirt and as I pass him he says he's been blessed to run so much. I hold onto that positive thought add it to the cheers from spectators as we approach the base of the last climb. I am leading pink shorts at the road crossing and she is still behind me as we hit the stone steps. I have a race-crazy thought pop in my head and I say it out loud: "Let's rock these steps!" No one is laughing. I go back to my ujjayi breathing.
|The stone steps, about mile 6.5. Photo by Brent Newman.|
I'm flying. Really. It's exhilarating and scary and in-the-moment. This is RACING. I don't dare look back even once I get to the flat. There are still about 400 meters left in this race and pink shorts has excelled so far when the trail is flat. I see Eric jogging backwards on the route cheering, and he yells at me to GOOOOOOOO!!!! I try and then pink shorts comes sprinting past me. There isn't even a half-second for me to latch onto her hip and gut it out. She wins by 2 seconds. But we both run 1:05 for 4th and 5th place overall female. I can't even bear to ask her age so I look it up once I'm back in the lodge. She's 24. RELIEF!!!
|I have never gotten so many facebook likes on a picture before.|
Awesome. Congratulations again!ReplyDelete
A friend posted some pictures on Google+...I'll look to see if you're in any of them.
Woooooot!! You are one rad chica.ReplyDelete
Awesome awesome awesome. So what's next in 2013? :)ReplyDelete
rock star! still sore?ReplyDelete
I got to see you on the downhills and you were flying!! Are you looking at 1:03 next year?ReplyDelete
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Racing is really a tough job for an irregular person. You need proper preparation for the race. You can use walking aids to make your training more cozy. You need to follow the rules and proper diet also.ReplyDelete