Pre-race: Let's do this.
Saturday morning's promised storms failed to make the event, so I ended up slogging in much hotter weather than I'd trained for in grueling humidity and finished several minutes slower than the last time. The cold front didn't move in until roughly my last mile and a half, and it brought me a second wind. The official clock put me at 1:47 total, with a 17:16 pace. The training run was 1:44, and my goal was 1:40, but considering the circumstances, I'm OK with this.
My head wasn't in it this time, and the back half was truly brutal. I felt very strong through the first half, which is the easier part of the trail. There's a particularly fierce hill near the midway point and lots of steep climbs and descents after it. There are no hills in my town, so it was a helluva struggle for me.
Post-race: Hiding the pain
But I finished in one piece and view this as good preparation for the 6-7 mile Savage obstacle race I'm running on November 23. I finally have the motivation to incorporate hills and trail running into my training on a regular basis and am scheduled to do a training run with a friend tomorrow at a local nature preserve. Its hills are kinder but still difficult for me.
Major kudos to the event staff. This is Rugged & Raw's third year, and the race is capped at 200 runners. For such a small event, I was thoroughly impressed. The trails were marked wonderfully clearly. There were two aid stations on the course in addition to the one at the start/finish, and they all had water, Gatorade, AND Gatorade energy chews, which have been my product of choice so far. The swag bag included a sweet tech tee, a cool rubber bracelet, a package of energy chews, a package of wheat flatbread, and a couple of small product samples. Though I typically go for medals, I was perfectly happy with the shirt and overall organization.
I just found the overall race results. I placed 89th out of 101 10k runners and 43rd out of 53 women 10k runners. It's not good but not last. I'm eager to see how much I can improve and will try to fit this race into my calendar next year.
The Rugged & Raw 10k/20k race supports Back on My Feet, an organization that uses running to inspire self-sufficiency and independence among the homeless population and to help them find employment and housing.