I ran my second trail race on July 4th this year. My last one was at the rainy, muddy Race & Roast 5K back in March. And that was also the last time I was on a trail. Like all of my "races" this summer, I planned to run this one as a tempo training run, and I figured it would be a little bit slower since it was a trail, too.
I came in at 33:07 (8:16 pace), which was within just a few seconds of my pace at the Race & Roast 5K, so with the extra mile, the humidity, and the intentionally slower place, it seems that my summer training is paying off. I'm really anxious to see what happens when it's not so hot and humid in the fall! My time was also good enough for a second place age group finish. I guess the fast people stayed home since I wouldn't exactly call that finish time a speedy one.
Anyway, I liked the idea of this race and the course at Laurel Hill County Park was beautiful (and close to home!). However, I'm not sure I'd actually run this race again for a few reasons. I love trail running, but I'm not totally sold on trail racing, even at tempo pace. I like running super easy on trails, mostly because then I can really pay attention to the uneven footing beneath me and not worry about a mid-run faceplant. Plus there's just something relaxing about being out on a trail that just makes me want to slow things way done.
Other than my ambivalence toward trail racing, I also was a little peeved that they stopped giving out pint glasses to the top three age group finishers when they got to my age group. They decided to just give them to first place in each age group after that. What? No. Not that I want another pint glass, but really? Why stop giving them to the top three finishers, even though there were clearly enough, halfway through the awards? Hrmph.
The finish of this one is also a little rough. After running a 2-mile loop twice through the park, runners have to run past the finish line, away from it and the loop back toward it for a very long finish runway. It makes for long-drawn out finish. I'd much rather have the finish line sneak up in the last tenth of a mile than be eyeing it up for what seemed like forever. And running past the finish line when you aren't finished sucks no matter what.
I probably won't run this one again, but I do like the July 4th holiday race, so I wish there was another option in my town. But who knows? Maybe over the next year, I'll decide I really like trail racing and change my mind when the race comes around next year. But I think there may need to be a bigger incentive for me to do that, like the Race & Roast's post-race oyster roast. The Firecracker's post-race hot dogs just didn't get me the same way as oysters.
And that race pretty much wraps up my racing until my "goal" race at the IOP Beach Run 10K at the end of July. August will be pretty easy, too, with just the Montague Mile tentatively on my calendar. Taking just a few weeks of downtime before going all in for fall half training.