Sycamore 8 Race Report
This morning was the Sycamore 8. I urge you to click the link and note the weather update that says "PARTICIPATE AT YOUR OWN RISK!" So here in Iowa, last weekend we got a slush storm, which essentially turned to solid ice the next day. Snowblowers have been futile - essentially homeowners have been chipping through an inch or two of ice to clean their walkways. Then on Thursday, we got four inches of snow on top of that. Now I love snow, so I am not complaining. But all that hidden ice makes things a bit treacherous while walking to the bus.
I signed up for this race early though, so I was going to do it. Kori, her husband, and Mike from my running group all signed up too, so at least I wouldn't be the only crazy person coming down from Ames to run it. (Although Kori ended being sick, so she didn't go.) The snow was one thing, but it is also only 12 degrees out. And that's now at 2! We got there and it was pretty bitterly cold. I had two pairs of socks, three pairs of pants, two shirts and a fleece on and I was freezing while waiting for the race to start. We waited in the car until about 15 minutes before the start and I bravely shed a pair of pants and the fleece. If I have learned anything, it is that I get really hot really fast. But I kept the two pairs of wool socks on under my Gortex trail shoes. Then I strapped on my gaiters, then put my Yak Trakkers on over that. I felt like I was going on a massive expedition, not getting ready for an 8 mile trail race.
The course was out and back and there were actually two course options, a 4 mile and an 8 mile. We all started together and we all figured we could turn around at 2 if the course was too bad. After having to go out on the lake yesterday and walk our boat, marine batteries, an anchor, etc down there because the boat launch was frozen in, I was all too aware of how slick the ice under the snow was. But Yak Trakkers are awesome! I could grip pretty decently and the going was rough, but not impossible.
A lot of people bailed at the two mile marker. I pretty much didn't see anyone ahead or behind me after that. I was pretty sure I was going to finish last, as the weaker runners turned around. But I just needed to get a long run in, so I didn't let it bother me. After I hit mile 3, I started seeing the faster runners coming back. Mike was up front! I hit the four mile marker at 50 minutes or so. Yes, 50 minutes for 4 miles! Trudging through 4 inches of snow is not easy!
The way back was complete solitude. But I did see that two people were behind me, so I wasn't going to be DFL. That was some consolation! But I kept trudging. And trudging some more. It started snowing and it was quite pretty. There was no one close in front of me or close behind me, so there was no stress. I did decide I wanted my pace to be faster than 13 minute miles, so that meant I had to come in at 1:44. When I hit the road about a quarter mile from the finish, I realized I had to book it so I sprinted the last bit (which actually felt easy after running in snow all that time) and came in at 1:43:45. Hey, I'll take it! Especially since my longest run since July had only been 6.8 miles at Living History Farms.
I crossed the finish line and they checked to see if all the awards in my age group had been taken. This was a low key operation - they had nice awards, but there was no ceremony, they just handed you one if you were one of the first three. I saw enough women around my age to figure that wasn't going to happen, but apparently they still had awards left in the 20-29 age group. Stupid turning 30! I have decided that 30-39 is a hard age group.
I crossed the finish line and Mike and Craig whisked me away, as they had been waiting for at least a half an hour in the cold. I got soup and hot chocolate and baked goods and it was yummy. Mike actually won the whole thing and got a really cool and unique trophy. Craig came in first in his age group. So yeah, I roll with fast people who kindly wait around for me at the end and cheer me in. I heart my running group!
Well my last three races have been trail races now. This has totally been a defensive move as I typically don't run races unless I think I can PR. And trail races are unpredictable, so I don't have absolute time goals. But since that was over 1:40 of running, I am totally counting this as a ten mile training run for my half-marathon in January :-)
It's snowing again - tomorrow the cross-country skis are coming out! Considering my a$$ is already sore from this morning, that should be good times!
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