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Monday, January 16, 2017

Race Recap: Rocks and Roots #1

Sunday sunrise
Rocks and Roots Race #1 took place Sunday, January 8, 2016 at 8:30am in Alum Creek State Park. The race includes a 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k, and 50k. Alex and I ran the 10k.

Pre Race
So cold before
We picked up our packets the day before (swag included: sweatshirt, long sleeve, sticker, Clif gels, Balega socks, and a water bottle!!), so we left the house around 7:15am and arrived earlier than expected. We parked next to the marina and watched the sunrise. In 2015, the bathrooms at the marina were not open so we had to walk to the start line early. Luckily, the bathrooms were open, so we were able to sit in the car as long as possible.

We walked to the start around 8:20, dropped the gear bag, and lined. The temperature was 10ยบ and I wore so many clothes: two long sleeve shirts, a t-shirt, shorts, pants, capris, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of socks, a wide headband, and a Buff over my face. Brrrr.

I didn't have any time goals because 1. the course was different than the last time we ran R&R (this was the South Loop instead of the North) and 2. I'm running the 20k in February, so this was more of a "scope out the course" run. I suppose if I had a goal, it would've been to run faster than a 12:30 pace (my average in 2015) because I'm in better shape.

The course - we ran clockwise
The 10k had a separate start and I lined up closer to the front than normal. Once we started moving I felt pretty good and tried to maintain a steady pace. I was still really cold, but kept my Buff over my face to keep the breeze from knocking me out. There was a water crossing three tenths in, but it was more of an ice sheet and I had Yaktrax so it wasn't difficult. The first mile was uneventful besides course congestion. I felt like I couldn't get people off my tail. The course was single-track and we were encouraged by the race director to call out when passing. While some people did this really well, others would power by. I saw one person pushed into a bush and another so shocked by a passer he almost tripped. So yeah, call your audibles when passing.
Mile 1 – 2: 10:53, 10:29

By this point I was pretty shocked by my mile times. Besides people passing and course congestion, the biggest issue was slippery snow and SO MANY tree roots and trunks to jump over. If I took my eyes off the ground I would trip. I didn't fall - luckily - but I almost did several times. The people around me hollered "nice save!" twice if that tells you anything. Somewhere in here the inside of my left foot started to hurt. It almost felt like one of my Yaktrax was digging into my shoe and I assumed it was due to one of my near falls. In a normal race I probably would've stopped to check it out, but there was always someone directly behind me until mile 4.5.
Mile 3: 11:04

This was just after the start.
I started to get tired in mile 4, but I stuck with a few dudes. These guys were going a little slower than I probably would have by myself, but I stayed behind them. Honestly, it was a good decision because I got pretty tired later! We passed the aid station around 4.5 and just after that I tripped or something and realized my right Yaktrax was half off! I stopped and let a guy pass me as I tried to yank it off. I only lost a little time, but I also realized my left Yaktrax was no where to be found! I guess it came off during my mile 2 or 3 fumbles. How did I (or the people around me) not notice?
Miles 4: 11:08

This next mile was my slowest and I can't really remember why. I got separated from my pack of dudes while I messed with my Yaktrax, but I could see them up ahead. I passed a few people walking and really appreciated it when they moved to the side. (Some of them were 20-40k runners.) I think there were more rolling hills in this section and my pace took a beating. I caught up to some new guys and while I ran up/down all of the hills until this mile, when the guys ahead of me walked or slowed down, I followed suit. My foot hurt and I was still weirded out by my lost of Yaktrax.
Mile 5: 12:01

Yikes. I think is a pain face.
I walked up a few hills in mile 6 and knew the course ran a bit long (according to the race director) so I just started my "15 more minutes" countdown. I noticed myself sliding around more and more, but who knows if it was lack of Yaktrax or all mental. We came back to the water crossing close to the start and this time I fell on my butt crossing the ice sheet. Whoops! In my defense I was trying to say hi to an instagram friend. ;) My butt hurt when I got up, but I kept on trucking. I felt drunk during this last mile. I was mentally exhausted from making sure I stayed upright and avoided tree trunks and roots, and my feet were tired from all the fancy footwork dodging said objects. I must admit a 20k sounded pretty terrible as I got closer to the finish line!
Mile 6: 11:07, last .35: 10:46

Happy afterwards!
Afterwards, I met up with Alex (who placed 7th and felt "slow"), got a hot chocolate and a cookie and stood around the fire for a bit. Alex, having been finished for about 15 minutes before I crossed, was suuuuuper cold and ready to go so we took off for the car. Honestly, I wasn't very tired after. I was sore two days later, but that's about all.

Oh yeah! The pain on my left foot? Not a Yaktrax related injury, but instead, a run-of-the-mill blister. I changed socks at the last minute and I choose poorly. Bummer.

Final Stats and Thoughts

I'm pretty happy with my stats. I'm a better runner than I was in 2015 and my pace reflects that. However, this loop was easier than the North loop, so I'd be lying if I said I'm not terrified of the 20k next month. I know I can finish it, but not sure I can do it in a decent time. Maybe I need to concentrate on finishing strong vs. finishing in a specific time.

Final Time: 1:10:29 (11:06/mi)
Overall: 57 / 186 (30%)
Gender: 11 / 86 (13%)
Age Group: 2 / 10 (20%)

The woodal.
Up next: R&R #2: the 20k. Yikes!  I'll say this now: if it's terribly muddy I will only run the 10k. 


  1. Big congrats to you on finishing and being 2nd in your age group! A swag bag with Balega socks is a winner, too!

    1. Thanks! I don't usually finish high in my age group in races longer than 5k. I'll take it!


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