Race Report: CMRA Chatfield Five and Dime Trail Race
Since I officially started training again on Tuesday of this week, it sounded like a great idea to race 10 miles on Saturday! After a month of being ill with a stomach virus and struggling with related health problems, I was finally starting to feel back to my normal self again. I had only managed a grand total of 13 miles over 4 runs in the previous 5 weeks.
I got out for 15 miles on Tuesday, and felt surprisingly good. Wednesday I did a super easy recovery run, then a hard hill workout on the treadmill on Thursday. That’s it – time to race!
The Colorado Masters Running Association (CMRA) does a great job of putting on low-cost events once a month in the Denver area. In these tight economic times, being able to pay 10 bucks on race day with no late fees is a real treat. There are no t-shirts, but those rarely get worn anyway. They focus their efforts on a quality course, water stations, timing, and results. There was a great turnout (300?) for the 5 and 10 mile races. Thanks, CMRA!
This month’s venue was Chatfield State Park. Close enough for me to run to the start (4.5 miles). I felt great as I left my house in the 23 degree sunshine. Glad I had made the call to wear shorts and not tights. I can’t stand racing in tights if I can help it – too restrictive. Today I used an old cycling trick and rubbed a thin layer of vaseline on my legs to keep the cold air off my skin. It seemed to help a bit.
I was surprised at how good my legs felt on the run down to the park, and I was optimistic that I was going to have a good day. I knew I would be lacking in the speed and endurance department after my layoff, but I was so happy to be outdoors getting a chance to race again. I needed that!
I found my buddy Jeff before the start and enjoyed talking the usual pre-race runner smack with him, his co-worker Steve, and Steve’s wife Jay. Jeff was coming off a nice run at the Denver Marathon last month, and Steve was sporting a spiffy Garmin 405 model that I’ve had my eye on for a while.
We were soon packed in at the starting line and waiting for the signal to be given. The start was very crowded, but I knew there would be plenty of chances for passing as the bulk of the first two miles was on dirt road. I settled into a comfortably hard pace and started trying to move up a few spots here and there when I could do so without making too much of an effort.
Once the twisty and root filled singletrack started, I found myself at the tail end of about a dozen runners. It was actually a good situation because I was being pulled along just slightly faster than I would have been running had I been alone. We kept that up for a couple of miles. I saw a few trips, but no wipeouts – I heard after the race that there were incidents of a sprained ankle, broken ankle, and a broken nose. I feel bad for those runners and wish them a quick recovery. It can be tough running through the woods at top speed with leaf-covered obstacles just waiting to grab your feet and take you down.
I was glad to hit the halfway point still feeling decent and like I had something left in the tank. I started making a few more passes that definitely took me out of my comfort zone. Spiking my heart rate to 183, a number that hasn’t been seen for a long time.
Hills, singletrack, sand, and hoof prints were the theme for the last several miles. It was tough to keep a good pace going through this section, but soon I was on the return trip to the finish line and glad to be done.
I finished the 10 miles in 1:12:52 and was super happy to be able to run like that after just starting up again. My hamstrings felt like they were going to snap, but otherwise my legs felt great. Official results haven’t been posted, but I think I was 29th out of ~180 overall (winner was 1:01), and got 4th in my age group.
Now I just had to get my legs going again for the uphill return trip home. It took me a few minutes to warm up after standing around at the awards ceremony for quite a while. Other than being a little tired, I felt good on the way home and finished off a nice 19+ mile day. It’s good to be back!!!!