The Iron Furnace Trail Run took place Saturday, April 2 at Lake Hope State Park. The race included a 13.1 ("Ohio's hardest half") or 4.5 option. Alex and I chose the 4.5 miler. [Race Information]
|Before dinner on Friday|
Alex had a storm call Friday, so we left late. With traffic, we weren't sure we'd make packet pickup. Luckily, we arrived at Lake Hope Lodge at 7:01pm and the table wasn't quite torn down. We grabbed our packets and ate dinner at the lodge. The restaurant was fantastic and featured tasty local foods and beers.
After dinner we went to the campground and found a walk-in spot. Since it was chilly, there weren't too many people camping. We didn't get there until after sunset and had to put the tent together in the dark, but at least we had our headlamps. Somewhere around 10:30pm Alex was ready for bed. I sleep pretty well when we camp, but maybe because we usually hike a ton. I couldn't fall asleep forever because I had to pee. I tried to forget about it, but it never happened and I finally left the tent at 3am. Blargh. After that I slept well until our 6:45 wake up.
It was 42 degrees and very windy. I really wanted to wear shorts, but I gave in and put on capris. We sat inside to stay warm, then headed out around 8:45 for announcements. The race director went over vital parts of the course. (He also posted videos of these directions on the IF Facebook event, which was a good idea.)
First off, look at the elevation chart below. Alex said he was going to go all out for the entire race, but I wanted to keep it conservative and not risk injury before next week's half. I looked at last year's results and decided I'd like to finish somewhere in the middle with a 12-something pace. In lieu of normal A, B, and C goals I made two mini goals:
1. Finish under 55 minutes or in the middle of the pack
2. Run the whole thing
We lined up at 9am. Alex went to the front and I stood in the middle. When the race started and we went downhill for the first half mile, I tried to keep my pace conservative. I could have sprinted, but what was the point if I needed to save energy? I saw someone I knew (running the half), so I kept my pace slow, watched my footing, and stayed tucked behind her until we hit mile 1 and the halves turned off.
Mile 1: 11:32
There was a guy behind me for a few minutes and I could see a dude in green up ahead. Just as I could tell I was gaining on the guy in green, the dude behind me stopped to walk. I don't like running alone during trail races because I concentrate on my footing so much and don't want to focus on the trail markers and directions. During mile 2 and part of mile 3 I joined a pack: green shirt guy, an older gentleman, and a lady. I stuck with them during a fairly technical section along the lake. The view was absolutely gorgeous and the trail was up and down and only wide enough for one person. I didn't think about passing because I knew I needed to keep myself in check to avoid walking. They did walk uphill a few times, but that was ok. The pace was very consistent and I felt like I was covering a lot of ground.
Mile 2: 12:15
|This doesn't belong here, but I'm not sure when race photos will be posted|
Mile 3: 11:09
At the water stop I saw another dude up ahead. He was walking, so I knew it was about to get tough. I turned the corner and all I saw was a switchback trail and a constant uphill. Remember my goal not to walk? Well, I pretty much broke that at mile 3.02. Looking at my Strava data it was a 17% grade! No wonder I walked! I walked again at 3.2 (16%) and for a longer period between 3.4 and 3.5. I was beat! I tried to power hike, but settled on walking... slowly. Any forward motion. I passed the walking guy around 3.2 and I saw three ladies up ahead. One of them kept glancing back. I was still pretty far behind them until we came to an arrow sign on the trail. I recognized it from earlier and knew we were almost finished! When we came to the paved road we were on at the start, I was so happy to see asphalt. It was much easier for my shoes to grip and I started gaining on the three lady pod.
Mile 4: 12:50 (pretty awesome considering I took three walk breaks)
Mile 4-end: 8:01 pace
|I liked the shirt a lot. And the lake.|
It was a fantastic day and I would highly recommend the event. We will be back next year!
Final time: 49:44
Next Up: The Scarlet Sprint 5k was the next day and the ORRRC Half is next weekend. Yikes.