Sunday, January 26, 2014

Chilly Cheeks 7.2 miler: 1/26/14

If I hadn't mentioned it already, I'm a fan of Pretzel City Sports' trail races.  They put on great races, although they're a small hike from where we live (it's worth it), I try to do as many as possible.  I'd signed up for Chilly Cheeks just this past week, a race new to me I wanted to run and do well in.  I had a good training week with my new gym class and put in some good solid miles leading up to the race.  I was fully prepared for the weather which I realize sucks to talk about in the first place but nonetheless is a factor.  At a whole 21 degrees at the start, it was warmer than the last week or so has been.  I'm sure all runners there were psyched about that and I think I layered appropriately for the balmy run in the forest, maybe just a little lighter than we did for the single digit temps for Watchung.  My gear list for Chilly Cheeks:
  • Long sleeve Nike base layer shirt
  • Another long sleeve tech tee over that
  • Random hoodie sweatshirt
  • Outdoor Research liner gloves
  • Fruit of the loom boxer briefs.  I might as well share all gear.
  • Nike "pro combat" tights (for battling the cold?)
  • Some polyester "athletic" pants from Old Navy
  • Smartwool ski socks
  • New Balance MT810's
  • Ice Trekkers
  • a Buff.  These things are awesome.
  • a knit cap
  • Camelbak
  • GoPro, Garmin and ipod
And I received new gear:
PCS, as always, has pretty cool race swag. 
I expected the typical trails that meander through the normal network that PCS usually uses.  Having never run this, I did not expect a chin-scraping, bushwhacking scramble up a hill only a half mile in.  Looking back, it's a far tinier hill than it felt like but I let myself get back into bad habits and scrambled up as fast as I could.  Here's the maps and course profile from my Garmin:

Not the typical PCS routes I'm used to but very challenging.

Total gain was 1529 ft
Right off the start, I felt pretty tired; my legs didn't feel like they had much juice.  I figured I'd just need to get them moving and warmed up but that quick scramble a half mile in took a toll while I considered it an opportunity to move up in the field as the single track would be a little more challenging to navigate with other runners once we got past the climb.  I managed to keep a pace to finish that mile in just under 12 minutes.  Perhaps I should have taken it a little easier on that climb.
Approaching the scramble up the hill at the half-mile mark
My view for the entire climb.  All extremities were used to get to the top.
Leveling off a bit near the top.
A bit of flat for some recovery.  At this point, I'm assuming I'll hold together pretty well.  I mean, we're only 1/10th of the way in... 
My anonymous pacer for several miles.
I am victim to another female runner!  What am I even doing out here?!
 The trail was in pretty good shape, the most technical challenge were the steeper downhills that were a mix of powdery snow and leaves making for a pretty slick footing.  The Ice Trekkers were a great pickup.  They're comfortable and I know they aided my footing on the loose downhill and in general all over the snow.  So glad I had them.  The way the race was going, there were certainly times where I thought trekking poles might have been good addition to the gear I'd brought.  No one wants to be that guy, so I'm glad I didn't.

I slugged through the first few miles below my expected pace.  I wanted to be around 10.5 min miles and that wasn't looking feasible.  Negativity was taking over and usually I'm thinking of random stuff on my training runs like "why would the robots develop a Terminator with an Austrian accent?  What even makes sense about that?" but it was so rough on me today I was dwelling on my overwhelming feeling of physical weakness that I'd resorted to walking the hills around mile 3.   I'm confident it was lousy fueling preparation prior to the run, nothing to blame other than myself.  That whole nutrition thing and I need to train harder on hills to the point where I outgrow the local hills and have to move west.

At least the course was beautiful, I was warm, maybe a little woozy after 5 miles but as I pressed on, I could taste the finish line at the peak of the last climb at 5.5 miles.  The long, gradual descent to the finish was a Godsend.  
After the final climb, as I walked and collected myself.
Finally through the woods.  And pretty much proof I did finish (20ft is a gimme, right?)
From the top of Reading, PA, I got my legs moving and eked out a finish in a race I find difficult to compare to others.  Certainly there have been harder races, longer races, colder or hotter races but this is in it's own category.  Kudos to Ron Horn, the RD, and his crew!  I finished pretty upset but moved along after making my way to the indoor breakfast banquet they had set up for runners.  Live music, eggs, coffee and best of all, no more running!  I housed a plate of eggs, chatted with other runners a bit who were mostly interested in the GoPro and departed for home.

Another race, another lesson or 2 learned.  Next week, half marathon!  Applying what I learned and bouncing back!

No comments:

Post a Comment