Monday, April 4, 2011

Race Report: Indian Trails 15k

Yesterday I ran the Indian Trails 15k in Navesink, NJ. Despite its name, it was not a trail race. Parts of the course were on dirt roads but it was definitely not a trail race. The night before, I got a voice recording from Coach Jeff. He told me to run the race hard, not to sell myself short, and that this race will be a good test to see where I'm at 8 weeks before the Vermont City Marathon. Coach basically gave me my race plan in an 18 second voice recording.

The drive to Navesink from Teaneck took about an hour. After picking up my race packet and warming up with some strides, it was time to race. The did give out chips but since there was no starting mat, scoring would be against the gum time. Not such a big deal in a small race. When am I going to learn not to go out too fast? As I approached the clock at mile 1, I saw 6:57. I knew there was no way I could hold that pace on this course for 8.3 more miles. I settled down into an effort that felt hard but sustainable. The race is described as "a challenging race through the scenic hills of Navesink. If you like flat and fast, sorry this course is not for you." It's one thing to know the course is hilly but until you start racing you really have no idea what to expect. This is elevation profile as recorded by my Garmin
This course was no joke. The good news is, I was able to run up all the hills and I recovered well on the flats and the downhills. I saw plenty of racers running way too fast on the downhills and walking up the hills. I made sure to hold back and conserve energy so I'd have enough strength to run up every hill.

The last hill was a doozy. Not only was it steep but is was also on one of the aforementioned dirt roads. This made running up the hill harder (for me) as the footing was uneven and I could not push off as quickly in the soft dirt. I worked together with some other runners, each of grunting and cursing.  We put our heads down, put one foot in front of the other, pumped our arms and we made it to the top. The final downhill treated us to gorgeous view:
Picture courtesy of Indian Trails Road Race Web Site
Once at the bottom of the hill, I felt good so I kicked up the pace for a strong finish. My official time was 1:10:36 for an average pace of 7:38/mile. A great effort on a very tough course.

I really like the small, locally organized race experience. Thanks to the Sandy Hook Triathlon Club for a great race.

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