Sunday, February 21, 2010

Race Report: Eisenhower 10K Challenge

Race: Eisenhower 10K Challenge
Distance: 10K
Goal Time: 1:20-1:30
Actual Time: 1:24:47

This was the first of two trail running events.  The next one is the Salado Creek 8M next Sunday. I wanted to do events that were longer than 5K to help me get to my eventual goal of running a marathon.  So when I was looking for February events, this was the only one that was a reasonable distance for me at this stage.  I have been nervous about it for the last week or so because of the event's description on the race website:  "This race is recommended for trail experts and for those that are trying to get used to running on trails."  Something good for both experts and novices? Is that possible?

This was my first venture out to Eisenhower Park.  After a little blip with my iPhone GPS, it was relatively easy to find.  The entrance to the park is right before the entrance to Camp Bullis.  It had a nice pavilion and picnic facilities next to the parking lot.  The restrooms reminded me of family road trips long past (nothing quite like metal toilets).  But overall, very impressed with the park.

It was around 62 degrees at race start.  It was cloudy and misty, which made it between dry and humid.  The clouds kept the temperatures from rising too fast, so it was very nice for the whole of the race.  I lost the pack very early into the race, which isn't unusual.  I ran solo for most of the run with a few patches of waving as the faster runners passed me up.  Twice.

The course switched between paved trails, paths covered in wood chips, and rocky off-road type terrain.  The wood chips felt like running on a natural fiber track, soft and squishy.  It was a welcome relief after a hard hill. Both the rocks and the paved trails were slippery, so I'm really glad I got the new trail running shoes.  (Added bonus: They're pink!)  The surroundings were very similar to what we have on my family's ranch, so if felt really familiar.  The rocky parts reminded me of hiking during our vacations out there.  Our ranch just has a lot fewer trees! 

The paths had lots of turns such that you couldn't really see where it was going twenty feet in front of you. Footing was challenging in many areas, but it kept my mind in the moment. On the whole, it felt like there were more uphills than downhills.  My legs were definitely feeling it about halfway through. This picture on the right looks less daunting in photo than it did in person.  That was probably the worst of the hills.

There was a few places where it looked like they had put in speed bumps on the trail.  Massive foot-high speed bumps.  I think they were put in to keep the trails from washing out when it rained, but somehow the idea of putting in speed bumps to help runners manage their speeds was amusing.  There were a set on a steep downhill in the last mile of the race.  I leaped off the speed bumps, hanging in the air before landing on the wood chips.  It felt equivalent to the car chase scenes in San Francisco.

I had a blast.  I'm pretty sure I was smiling through most of the race.  I walked when I needed to, but I still ended up with a time I am really happy with.  It's only three minutes slower than my 10K personal record.  That means on my next 10K road race, I should do really well!  So far my quads, calves, and glutes feel worn out, but more like they've been well used rather than abused.  Tomorrow might be a different story.

There were a bunch of photographers on the course, so if some decent pictures come out of it, I'll post them.

Edit: Decent picture of me at the finish line.  You can tell it was a good course since I'm still smiling at the end!

Bring on the 8M race next weekend!


Amanda said...

This impresses me so much. I don't know that I could ever run this far.

Faith said...

I love Eisenhower Park, I go there all the time!