Today I competed in one of Renegade’s Summer Trail Races. It’s a nice little 5-mile trail race through Peter’s Canyon in the early evening [6pm]. This is the second of three Summer Trail Races hosted by Renegade [I signed up for all three of them]. This is one of my C-Races, which means that I treat it more like a hard workout, and thus do not taper for the race: I swam 2200 yards and biked 30 miles today in addition to the race. This, further augmented by a hard 5-mile interval run yesterday, made me a little sore going into the race, but I still planned to push myself to get a solid time.
What made this course unique were its killer hills. When I was in high school, we ran a 3-mile race called Mt. SAC that was notorious for its hills. I checked out the elevation for this race because I wanted to compare. It turns out that today’s race had almost twice the amount of climbing as Mt. SAC. I knew this going into the race, so I planned to take it easy on the flats so I could hammer up the hills.
In the morning and early afternoon I completed my swim and bike workouts, trying to give myself some time between them and the race so that my legs could get some rest. At 3:45pm I ate half a cheese pizza and drank 700mL of water mixed with CytoMax Performance Mix. I hopped on the 90 Bus at the Dana Point Harbor and made it to the Tustin MetroLink Station an hour and half later. By the time I arrived to the train station, it had started raining outside and my bike was soaking wet. I threw my extra pair of shorts on over my racing shorts in an effort to keep my race short dry. From there, it was a quick 5-mile bike ride to the Peters Canyon.
When I made it to the venue, I noticed the level humidity when I saw how much I sweat despite the cold and rain. With this, I made the decision to run without a shirt on, which ended up working out great. I checked my blood-sugar, and it ended up being very low [56 mg/dL], so I ate four shot blocks [33 grams of carbohydrates] and half a banana [12 grams of carbohydrates] I did a quick 1-mile warmup at the local middle school where I locked up my bike, which conveniently had a nice dirt trail that was similar to that of the race course. I then walked over to the expo to put my bib on and do some stretching before the start of the race. When they announced that the race was about to start, I made sure to slip into a spot near the front of the start line, in order to avoid spending the first mile passing slower runners [a mistake I made at the last race]. I noticed that my blood-sugar was still a little low before the start of the race, but I knew that my body would react to the running and shoot my sugars up as a result of the adrenaline and increased heart rate.
I ran the first mile conservatively [6:50], as it was entirely flat, and I actually had a short conversation with some other runners who were competing as a team for a local high school. Right at mile two we hit the hills, and I starting passing quite a few runners. I actually had very little difficulty with the hills, and I think this is because of the swimming and biking that I’ve been doing. Most people slow down and walk on hills because their legs get tired, but I have more strengths in my legs right now than I ever have before, so I took advantage of that to pass other runners [about fifteen]. The hills were nonstop for about a mile and half, with three significant climbs. Around mile two, I got a slight cramp in my stomach, but it wasn’t very painful. It felt like it was from bloating [It appears I ate and drank a little too soon before the start of the race] so I just ran through it and did not use the aid station, except to pour water over my head [yes, in the cold weather].
About halfway through mile three, we hit the flats/downhill, and it would be flat/downhill all the way to the finish line. It was here that I got passed by a few runners [about four or five] because my body demanded what I was [and currently am] lacking: pure cardiovascular fitness. I simply haven’t put in the mileage to feel comfortable running sub-7-minute miles consecutively, at least not without a taper. Halfway into the third mile it started to rain, which felt wonderful on my skin. Around this time I noticed my sugars dip down again, so I just had to tough it out and finish the best I could. I again did not use the aid station around mile four because I felt it would make my cramps worse, and I knew that I only had to run through it for another six or seven minutes. I ended up neck-and-neck with another runner with about 150 meters left, and we actually had a little duel and I out-kicked him, so that was a little rewarding.
Overall I finished in 35:34, 41st place out of 320, with an average of 7:07/mile. I think I got a solid workout in, and I am satisfied with my performance. I actually ran a 5-mile workout yesterday in 35:00, but it was very flat, so I am happy that I was able to repeat the time despite the hills changes.
Here are my mile splits:
Mile 1 – 6:50
Mile 2 – 7:40
Mile 3 – 7:19
Mile 4 – 6:52
Mile 5 – 6:53
Following the race I had to do another quick 5-mile bike ride back to the bus stop [in the rain], and I actually decided to keep my shirt off as a way to cool my body down, as I was definitely over-heating. But I have to admit, I looked pretty ridiculous biking down the road in the rain wearing nothing but skimpy short-shorts.
My next race is the third [and final] of Renegades Summer Trail Race in three weeks. My goal is to go under 33 minutes. Hopefully between now and then I will get my fitness close to where it was a few months ago so I can hold 6:10/mile on the flats/downhills. [I will get official results and photos up when they are available]