Over the weekend, I was running the Q50 Bogue Chitto trail run (10-miles and 5-miles) with a few friends, I wasn’t very optimistic about running the race.
Except for an easy 2-mile run the day before, it had been 2 weeks since my last run. It was caused insanity of the rumors and uncertainty on the job front. I was semi ok with skipping some runs spending a good bit of time working on my future, and it was productive.
After my 2-mile easy run, my thoughts changed to running the Q50 Bogue Chitto trail run. Cesar Torres manages the Q50 races, and they are always enjoyable. And Cesar is a great guy who works hard to make these races excellent for everyone.
The hard part of the Bogue Chitto Trail run is the hills. It didn’t help that I had no idea of the course and elevation. Bogue Chitto unlike the New Orleans area is hilly.
Although there is no real place to train for hills in NOLA, I do have some hill experience. At the end of April, I did run a half marathon in Louisville which had a few hills. And in the last few years, I have run 3 mountain trail runs (Vail 10k@10,000 twice and Pikes Peak Ascent).
Before the race, it was decided the hills was would not be an issue. Plus, I decided there would be no walking any steep incline. And I was shooting for a 10 minute pace for the 5-mile trail run.
The race had two starts, one of 10-miles and the other for 5-miles. I had chosen to run the 5-mile trail run which started 15 minutes after the 10-mile race.
One nice feature of trail runs is the field. Trail runs are not usually overcrowded with runners.
The first two 1/2 miles of the 5-mile trail run seems to be uphill. That was fine with me. Get the hard part of the running out of the way on the first half of the race.
I ran the first mile in 9:02. A bit faster than my expected pace. But since I wasn’t looking at my watch during the run, I didn’t care. I was running a comfortable pace.
As the hills got steeper, I shortened my stride a bit going up hill, and attack the last 1/3 of the hill at points where I could see the peak.
And knew on the downhills, gravity would pull me downhill. I would use the downhill to catch my breath since my legs felt great.
The second mile had the steeper inclines so my pace slowed to 10:36. I did take peak a my watch to check my time. It was very satisfied with the current pace.
Although I didn’t see a marker for mile 3, I did hear the beep on watch marking the change in a mile. Normally, I don’t hear my watch. The trail was very peaceful.
My pace started to pick up a bit at mile 3 at 10:01. The steep hills were done. I was feeling good with the trail being shaded keeping the temperature down.
Somewhere in the middle of mile 3 and 4, we ran by the beach and river. Somewhere deep in the woods, I could hear a tree being cut down. It was very enjoyable.
I finished mile 4 in 9:13. The pace had picked up as I was feeling good, and a bit of downhill.
I did know there was some sand on the trail, but didn’t realize how much on the final two miles. I knew running in sand would take a bit more effort. And I did feel like my strength was growing for the last few miles.
And despite having to increase my effort from having through a good bit of sand, I finished the fifth and final mile in 8:39 to finish the 5-mile trail run in 48:18.
After not training over the last two weeks, I put in a good effort. And it is a reminder of how much I enjoy trail running with the sights and peacefulness.
After the run, the group of us stopped at the Barley Oak for a good meal and a few beers. And despite the drama of workplace surrounding me and my friends, it was a great time. We really forgot about our problems, and enjoyed a great trail run.