.....or "What a Difference A Year Makes"
It was a nice morning for a December trail race. 20F at the start up in Redding, CT. People that had run this race before were looking forward to the single track, water crossings, and mud. New participants were asking a lot of questions about what they'd gotten themselves into. Much bigger crowd compared to years past. But more on that later.
I wrote about this race last year and I've had three good years racing at this event. This year, however, not so much.
I didn't bother wearing my heart rate monitor, as I was instructed to "not race" by my lovely wife. She has a good point with that bit of instruction: My ankle just isn't quite up to full 'blasting through trails' fitness yet, so I never planned on trying to duplicate my efforts from last year. I felt calm and relaxed as we warmed up, and was content to just "run" it and have a great time. However, it wouldn't have mattered what my original plans were.
Fitness, or lack there-of, really showed. I never felt good....not even at the beginning. The hills were just crushing. Last year, by the first 'peel off' into
single track, I was amongst the top 5 runners. This year as we headed
into the woods I might have been lucky to be in the top 20. I just never got into a
groove. It's a good thing I didn't wear my hear rate monitor as I'm pretty sure I would have seen my theoretical max today.
By the end I was absolutely ready to stop running. Quads were barking….lungs were burning. I thought of my triathlon this past October and how good I actually felt after an entire season on the bench. Heck, I even had a good result at that race. Have I fallen that far off the fitness wagon? Clearly there's lots of work to do this off-season.
But, let's not stray too far from the facts: This is a great race. The folks over at Team Mossman really put on a nice event here. The course was marked "just enough" for a trail race, and there was plenty of mud and water to keep things interesting. Some of us were a little, what's the word here: Disappointed? Not sure. But the race has grown from a small event with 40-50 die-hards, to close to 150 people this year. While we were sad to see our niche race become more mainstream, this is great news for Team Mossman. Great events will always draw crowds.
Anyway…..I was home by 1000a, and having a nice breakfast and coffee by 1030a. A premium nap followed. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.