Race recap: Hope for Haiti 5K Trail Run
Well, this is more like it (mostly). I wasn't sick (just recovering from being sick), my asthma was fine, and I managed to run a decent race at the Hope for Haiti 5K Trail Run on Thursday evening. Yes, evening - it was an evening race (love!).
This was a complete trail run with the exception of a short stretch somewhere between .1 and .2 miles at the beginning and end of the course, which were on road. The trail was a mix of sand/dirt with some grassy patches, all grass with lots of bumps, and a rooty wooded trail. It was probably one of the more difficult trail races I've run (out of the three I've done). Since it had rained the previous day and earlier in the day on race day, I thought the trails might be muddy, but they were fairly dry, so that was a nice surprise. I've run a rainy trail race and that was sort of ridiculous.
Because GPS signal is sort of spotty on trails, I'm not entirely sure my mile splits are completely accurate, but that's not really the point of trail running, is it? Not for me anyway. It mostly about enjoying the views, the trees, the sounds...being out in nature with no cars and limited noise. I do know that while I was on the pavement, both at the beginning and end of the race, my pace was in the high 6s/low 7s.
But even though this was a trail race, I went in with a goal to run better than I have at the past two races earlier this summer. Given my past trail race times, this was easily a possibility. And I knew if my time was faster at this race than my previous summer races, that I'm starting to get healthier and running may actually start to be fun again.
And I'm happy to say I hit my goal!
I finished in 25:57 (8:22 pace), which is faster than both the Floppin' Flounder and the IOP Beach Run and a little closer to my prior trail race times (just slightly slower since those were both approximately in the 8:15 pace range). And like the other trail races I've done before, I didn't run it as an all out race. Because trail running. This was the hottest and most humid trail race I've run, although it wasn't as hot as it's been for a lot of my summer running, and it was the first time I've run on a trail since my last trail race in July 2015.
So all of that probably indicates - and especially considering the nature of this trail - that my road race times are probably getting back to "normal" as well in the 23/24 minute range. I certainly felt much better than I've felt at my previous two races this summer. Not quite as good as I felt at the Moms' Run, but that was probably just the higher temps and humidity affecting me.
I struggled to get my footing a bit while out on the trail since I'm not used to trail running right now (and I'm still not a big fan of trail races) and I instantly felt better the second my feet hit the pavement for the last stretch of the race. At that point, I was really able to pick up speed and pass some people that had passed me on the trail.
Even though I'm not a fan of trail races, I did this one because it was so close to my house and I like to support Mount Pleasant races so we get more of them. And this one also had a fun post-race party with free beer and live music. B was drumming and dancing up a storm. He loves music!
My time was good enough to snag me first in my age group (a 10 year bracket for this race of 30-39), which got me a Chick-Fil-A gift card, a one month membership to O2 Fitness, and an O2 Fitness water bottle. Since I don't really eat chicken too much and I already have an O2 Fitness membership, my husband will be benefiting from my win and using those gift cards. These were certainly nice prizes, but I really like medals the best so I can add them to my collection.
They also only gave awards to the top finisher in each 10 year age group and then only the top male and female overall. I'm sure that was because it was the first year for the race and they didn't know how many people would come out. Maybe next year, they'll do at least 3 deep with the awards.
The funniest thing about this race? I had to run it while carrying my son's shoe. He had been playing in the grass prior to the race, then D took him over to Chick-Fil-A to play in their play area and realized he was missing a shoe. I found it in the grass, but not in time to get it back to D before the race started. So I ran with a toddler shoe in my hand. I'm calling it my lucky shoe since this race went well overall.
Race: Hope for Haiti 5K Trail Race
Date: August 4, 2016, evening race
Location: Mount Pleasant, SC
Course: Trail, looped course, combination of packed sand/dirt, grass out in the open, and rooty, wooded trail
Cause: Christian Haitian American Partnership
Weather: 85 degrees, 89% humidity
Performace (1/worst to 5/best): 4
Health: Generally good, recovering from a sinus infection. No asthma problems!