Saturday afternoon I ran the Muddy Trails Bash 10k at the Nature Preserve in The Woodlands, TX. I finished in 53:45, that's an 8:39 average pace. I was a little slower than I wanted to be, though I met my B goal, but also the race route was a little harder than I had anticipated.
The day started out pretty normal: breakfast, chores, kid stuff. Every once in a while I would start shaking as I realized it was race day. I didn't like that. I needed to calm down. Chill lady. It's just a race!
My husband had taken the older kids camping, so I needed a babysitter. She came right on time. By 2:45 I was off to the races.
The temperature had been fairly warm in the days leading up to the race--think high 70s and 100% humidity. However, the temperature dropped to the low 60's and 50% humidity. The race weather was perfect, if not a little chilly for us Texans.
Parking was at a nearby church. Shuttles were provided. I had no trouble getting on one. I arrived at the shuttle area and was immediately ushered onto a bus and within minutes we were at the race site.
The kids 1 mile was first. I ran a little warm up and positioned myself at the last turn so I could cheer on the kids. It was fun to see how my cheers helped them pick up their pace.
My race started at 4:20. I lined up in the appropriate pace position (I was aiming to run 8:30 min miles). The other races all seemed to line themselves up appropriately, too. There wasn't too much passing going on in the early miles, or throughout the race for that matter.
My first mile clocked in at 8:06. Way to fast. I was aiming to run a 9 minute mile for the first mile and then picking up the pace--aiming for negative splits. Spoiler alert. Didn't happen. I forced myself to slow down. I knew I would pay for it later and I probably did.
The course was so sandy. I felt like I was running on the beach, and there were lots of tree roots. I didn't trip, but I others around me did. I don't think anyone was injured. They got right up and continued on. Water stops were nicely positioned every mile. I didn't need water, but my mouth was so dusty from all the kicked up dirt that I did swish water in my mouth to subdue that gritty feeling.
Mile two came in right at 8:29. That was right on with my goal. I felt good. Mile 3 was a little slower at 8:39. This mile, and the next, were mostly uphill and the sand was thick. I was ok with that knowing that what goes up must come down. I tried to keep to the edges of the trail, where the sand wasn't as bad, but I knew this was adding on mileage (not running the tangents). I didn't know what was worse on my time though, the sand or ignoring the tangents. I decided the sand.
Mile 4 was an awful 8:45. I was able to bring it down a little for mile 5 (8:35). Still a little slower than I wanted to be. Mile 6 was the worst. I just wanted to stop. I kept wishing I had just done the 5k so this all would be over! I finished that mile in 8:58. Not good. Finally we were back on paved roads with a little over .2 to go. I managed to find a bit of a kick and finished my last .2 (Garmin tracks me at .29, not running the tangents hurt me distance wise) at a 7:40 pace. I really wanted to run mile 6 at an 8:19 or better. I guess I swapped mile one's time for mile six's. Oops. I really need to work on my mental state in these later miles for sure. I get really down on myself.
The route was harder than I had anticipated. I knew it was a trail run. I had planned for dirt and tree roots--not heavy sand. But overall I was happy with my performance. I managed to find a kick at the end and finished feeling like I had nothing else to give. I definitely will work on my start. I think it hurt me in the later miles. Also, the spectators at the finish were few and didn't cheer. I would've liked a little more support from that area. Oh, well, what can you do?
This was a great race and I will most definitely do it again next year!
Finish time: 53:45
Place: 7/60ish gender, 22/? women, 77/284 overall