On February 16th, I ran my 3rd race of 2014 as part of the Winter Off Road Series with the Memphis Runners Track Club. You can check out my recap of the 5k here. You can also read my review of this race from last year here. Last year, the day after this race, I was diagnosed with my stress fracture. Silver Lining = I met 2 of my running buddies, Nikki and Jennifer last year at this race.
I was so excited to be running this race because I am healthy and the race director changed up the course! It used to be 3 horrible loops that involved lots of running across fields. A lot of people really disliked the course and I guess the point was taken. Since it's at Shelby Farms, basically a runner's playground, it makes sense to take advantage of all the trails there!
The weather was unseasonably mild that day and it was such a beautiful day to hit the trails! I met Debi early at Breakaway because I really wanted some trail shoes (Mizuno Wave Ascend 8 of course), but they didn't have them. So I was stuck running in an old pair of Wave Rider 15s, since I wasn't happy with how the Wave Creation 13s did in the 5k. Anyway, I keep trying to be patient because word is Mizuno is coming out with a new trail shoe this year!
I ate a Picky Bar, drank some cherry limeade Nuun, and took some EnergyBits, and then we lined up at the start line. I love how casual these races are, and how friendly all of the runners are with each other. They blew the horn and played "Rocky Top" (awesome) and we were off!
It felt so good to run with Debi since this was the first time we had gotten to run together since New Orleans. We were having a great time navigating the trails and making our moves. Luckily there is plenty of room on this course to make moves when needed, even though I wasn't looking for any PRs.
|I have to say that Debi and I took some pretty amazing pictures during this race. Again, I am so grateful to MRTC for letting us share these pictures at no cost.|
The first 2 miles went by pretty quickly with times of 10:48 and 10:56, not terrible for trails (for me). I felt alright, but honestly a little winded. The third mile ended up slower at 11:06, but I'm pretty sure this might have included a water stop. I was definitely only out there to have fun, but I couldn't help but feel totally out of shape.
Luckily Debi and I remembered the wonderful running picture taking advice that Mindy had given us and we put our arms up! The girl behind us even got in on the action. We actually ended up talking to her quite a bit as she was having some hip pain. It was obvious she was needing some encouraging words along the way.
|There is no way I could ever complain about this scenery!|
Mile 4 and 5 had us running up quite a few hills and I quite honestly had no desire to run up them so we walked. These miles clocked in at 11:50 and 12:01. Yikes. But whatevs, we were having fun. Mile 6 was also pretty hilly and a bit more technical and we came in at 11:57 for that mile.
|Showing off my #NuunLove and my guns.|
We picked it up for the last 0.2 and came in with a time of 1:10:21 (11:20 pace). No 10k PR obviously, but a huge improvement over my hobbly performance last year! We finished strong and had a great time together.
After we crossed the finish line, volunteers were there to cut off our chips and hand us the coolest swag ever:
I can't wait to get some trail shoes to put my Race Kred on! I love this instead of a medal. It's something I'll be able to look down at while running, and remember that I can do hard things. Like run trails and run hills. And come back from injuries.
I also absolutely loved this course. It was so beautiful and so much better than previous years. I'm so thankful to the race directors for making this change! I can not wait to run this race next year and I highly recommend the whole series to anyone interested in something different than regular road races. The camaraderie at the race series is so inspiring and it's so nice seeing familiar faces, like our new friends Angie and Brian from RUN365 that travel an hour and a half to run:
And now, for what I wore: