This weekend I ran my first official trail race! It was the Emerson Trail Race in Concord which helps raise funds for the Emerson Pre-school. There were two race options available; a long course (9.9 miles) and a short course (5K). I opted for the short course since I’m still working on SLOWLY building my mileage back up this year to prevent more overuse injuries. I woke up Saturday to a beautiful sunny day, and was excited and anxious on my to the race. I met some of my friends from Runner’s Alley at the race and for most of us it was our first trail race so we were all pretty excited for a new racing experience.
Coming into the race I had looked at last years results and saw that a lot of the really competitive runners from the area ran the long course last year. This made me hopeful that I might be able to place on the short course. I’ve also been running these same trails in Winant Park since it’s literally right behind the hospital that I work at. My friend Ty and I lined up near the front since we were hoping to get out front early. The race went off and a few guys speed right to the front. I knew they were in the long course so I didn’t try to catch them, but they were flying at a pace faster than my 5K pace. It was really impressive to see how fast these trail guys can motor up the hills we hit about half a mile in. There was a split where the long course and short course separated and when I looked back I couldn’t see anyone behind me. I was didn’t realize how fast I had gone out until this point. From that split on I just tried to keep a steady pace and not burn myself out before the downhill finish. Luckily I was able to stay up front and ended up winning the short course! I have never won a race before so this was kind of fun, and my friend Ty came in second right behind me. I know that most of the real competitive guys ran the long course so it’s not real impressive, but none the less it was fun leading the pack for a change.
All in all I had a great time racing the trails. I liked that it was a much smaller field than a lot of other races, it made things more laid back and you could tell a lot of the other runners knew each other pretty well. I knew running a trail race would take a lot more out of me as I’ve been running more trails this spring already. I had no idea just how sore I would be after racing though. Even just doing the short course really beat me up. My knee feels normal, but my quads, glutes, hips, and calves were pretty sore the next morning. I took Sunday off but ran yesterday (in the middle of the hottest day we’ve had yet…yes I’m a glutton for punishment) and my legs still felt pretty lead filled. Despite my soreness I can’t wait to do more trails this summer and I’m already planning out my next trail race.