I could have taken the weekend off and have done my 12 mile long run. I also could have run an easy 4 mile race that I have done before.
But no. I like a challenge so I signed up for this race. All I knew was what it said on the website:
This challenging course is intended for competitive participants. The course is front and back loaded with rolling hills as it winds through Saratoga’s east side, it evens out with just over 5K left as you approach the City’s beautiful Spring Run Trail and finishes back at High Rock Pavilion.
Here’s the Course map:
and the Elevation:
Yeah, right. Perfect for a runner who hates hills.
I told myself that it wouldn’t kill me (and hopefully not injure me) and I would be better prepared for hilly Central Park in two weeks.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… And with quite a few women over 60 entered in this race, this one also wouldn’t tempt me to run for an award (and it was a medal of which I had enough…now if it were food, a different story.)
The plan was to take it slow. I’ve never run an 8k so an automatic PR, right?
How far is an 8K, anyway?
Well at least it was less windy than last weekend and this race was a little closer to my house (about 45 min.)
Again I tried to wear spring running clothes. I was determined to pretend that it is warm enough. (It was near 80 this past week.)
Well, when I arrived, it was in the 30’s so very chilly. I wore a shirt under my long-sleeved shirt, had gloves and a jacket. But there was no wind and it was sunny. That would make a huge difference over last weekend.
I got there pretty early, found parking in the hotel parking lot and went inside the hotel to pick up my race packet. (Real bathrooms, yay!)
I went back to my car to stay warm. At the last minute, I decided to shed my jacket and walked to the starting line down the street in front of the Farmer’s Market location.
In honor of the race’s charity (Code Blue Saratoga offers emergency shelter to individuals who are street homeless or might otherwise remain unsheltered during nights of extreme cold and heavy snow), I did wear blue.
I also bumped into some familiar faces from previous races but not as many as usual because this race was far from where I live (and many of my friends were running the local Rabbit Ramble race.)
I did eventually find Judith and we started together as we did last weekend.
I was warned about the hills in this race plus I didn’t want a repeat of last weekend’s performance (no energy for my extra post-race miles.)
I made a conscious effort to run the first mile slow. After that I didn’t have to try since there would be numerous water stops and several steep hills to slow me down.
As soon as we started, I lost Judith in the dust. That was expected. She is super speedy. We started with a slight uphill but nothing steep. I’ve become lackadaisical about my running, I think. I never double-knotted my shoes and even before we finished the first mile, one came untied and so I stopped and re-tied both of them.
Mile 2 arrived with our first big hill. I managed to shuffle my way up it without walking. The rest of the race continued with uphills and down hills. There were many twists and turns which made it interesting.
Toward the end of mile 3, we ran on a paved bike trail and then one more hill before we ended up right where we started.
There were many water stops and I quickly stopped at a few but the amazing part was that I ran up all the hills (a first, I think for me). And I had a lot of energy during the last mile.
So it turns out that an 8k is almost 5 miles.
I didn’t look at my Garmin at all during the race so I was surprised that it was almost 45:XX when I saw the finish line.
Official stats say, I crossed at 46:26 (but my Garmin says 46:01). I was happy. It was much faster than I expected especially since I was trying to run slow.
I quickly made a beeline for the food. There was the usual energy bars, bagels and fruit but also rice and beans and chocolate milk (I had 2 of each).
Judith and I hung out waiting for the awards. She won 2nd but I was 4th. I guess you can’t always win (besides it was just a medal.)
This race is definitely on my to-do list. I enjoyed the challenge of the hills (and they’re weren’t as bad as I feared). I liked the variety of the course, as well.
mile 1 – 9:08 (much slower than last week’s 8:30)
mile 2 – 9:22
mile 3 – 9:29
mile 4 – 9:38 (positive splits 😦 )
mile 5 – 9:14 (better!)
46:01 (Garmin time) My most recent 5 mile race time was 46:10 and my PR is 45:26 (on a flat course)
Of course, after a race, no one wants to go back out there and run 7 more miles. But I was determined to get the miles in. My run was so horrible last weekend that I did not have high hopes for this week’s.
After a long chat with Judith, she recommended that I run at Saratoga Spa State Park. So I headed there.
I parked by the Gideon Putnam hotel so it would be easy to find my car again. It’s a big park and I don’t know it well.
My plan was to run 7 miles. I stumbled upon a 5 mile trail and decided to run that first. It was really nice and I tried to follow the red signs so I wouldn’t get lost.
Around two miles in, I took a detour because I saw an interesting spring and another trail.
Well, I got too cocky with the trail running and down I went…HARD. Lots of folks around the spring offered their help. I was bleeding badly and it covered my nice white socks. But I fell right near the fountain from the spring. I rinsed my knee and my socks. A nice passer-by gave my tissues and another band-aids. So I was good to continue my run. Even if I couldn’t, I still had to get back to my car.
I went back the original trail and tried to continue but somehow, I never got to 5 miles. Only 3. But I decided to stop in the park office since I was still bleeding and the band-aids were not doing their job. They gave me alcohol to sterilize my wounds and more band-aids.
I wasn’t lethargic like last week but it was getting rather warm and my leg was still bleeding so I continued running on the park roads, the bike path and made a loop back for only another 3 miles.
So not the 7 miles that I planned but considering the circumstances, I was happy to have 11 (interrupted) miles on my legs. (I WILL NEVER DO A TRAIL RACE!!)
After a nice long shower, I got my nails done, went grocery shopping, had dinner and then went out for drink and dessert with a friend.
I am also sharing in the support love by linking up with a Sunday Fitness and Food Linkup hosted by
Happy Running! How was your weekend? Any running or racing? Ever run an 8K? Anyone combine their long runs with a short race? Have you ever fallen while running on a trail?