Sunday, July 15, 2012

Race Recap: Dances with Dirt 10k

Me, writing a race recap the day after the race? Unheard of!

Last week, after recovering from my first ever trail run, I decided to take the plunge and register for my first trail race. I mean, why not?  I was only registering for the 10k, how bad could it be?

Let it be known that the Dances with Dirt 10k is a bastard of a race.  A dirty, rotten, bastard that will make you want to cry and quit and possibly punch someone.  I should have listened to EVERYONE that told be to just run the half--twice the distance, more technical, but no black diamond ski hills to haul my ass up. Lesson learned.  Listen to your elders.

Obligatory pre-race nervous face

Since the 10k didn't start until 8am we opted to drive up race morning.  I couldn't have asked for better weather for a mid-July day--mid 70's and overcast. All of my friends were undertaking much more impressive distances at the race, so I found myself milling about alone in the sea of 10k runners. I seeded myself middle back knowing that I wouldn't be first, but that I wouldn't be last.  I had, after all, gotten out my nervous poops that morning so it was going to be a good day!

The race started with a mix of grass and blacktop path along the golf course, over to the base of the ski hill, along the bottom of the hill over to the undeveloped side of the hill where we made our way into the woods.  It was around this point that I fell into stride with a cool chick named Megan from the Chicago area and she became my running BFF for the race.  We talked and motivated one another along the way, and made the best of what was going to become a really obnoxious run. Once in the woods we ran some not too technical single track with rolling hills, and what not before making our way back to the base of the ski hill...where the masochistic race director had us run up the big ass black diamond at the center of Devil's Head, about 3/4 of the way up we cut across the hill and over to the adjacent black diamond and made our way to the top.  I told you it was going to become an obnoxious run.

At least the view was good...

From there we disappeared back into the woods to run some more single-track-esque trails.  With all of the time I've spent at Devil's Head, I can honestly say I had no idea where we were at times.  We looped and swooped around a bit in the woods, ran up another ski run, partway down what used to be my favorite blue run at the hill (favorite until I had to run down it), back into the woods and eventually all the way down the bunny hill.  From there we were half a mile from the finish line and I was ready to be done.  Sure, I found myself walking up the giant f'ing hills, but what was starting to ache and shake were my quads from trying to be so careful on the downhills.  Another little jaunt through the woods around the corner and down the finish chute.  I finished feeling, sweaty, a little tired, but good. 

Coachie wanted me to run another 2-4m after the race, but I just didn't want to.  And since apparently I think I know more than my running coach,  I decided not to run.  Instead we drove over to Devil's Lake to the "nice" showers so I could rinse off and change into something that didn't stink.  We then settled in to enjoy the breeze and fun of the finish line for the afternoon.

I mentioned earlier that everyone else I knew was running much more impressive distances, so we had a bit to relax before others started to finish.  Krista V rocked the half and I completely missed seeing here and meeting her in real life. Boo! Then came Shayla and Matt, both of who ran the marathon like it was walk in the park!  Shortly after that Jeff, Kritta's main squeeze, came strolling in from the 50k.  It wouldn't be long now until Kritta, Marty and Tracey would be finishing.  And finish they did, in style, like the absolutely adorable runners that they are.

Tracey, Marty and Kritta

From there we spent the afternoon, lounging in the shade, snacking on everything within reach, drinking beers and laughing like the exhausted, sunkissed, fools we were.  It was the absolute perfect end to a great day.

Tracey, Jeff, Matt, Krista, Marty and I
DWD 2012
As far as a first trail race could go, with only one trail run under my belt, I have to say I'm pleased with the outcome.  I finished, I felt good, I didn't get hurt, I wasn't furst...but I wasn't last.  All in all, I should be pleased. I am pleased. But I have my list of shoulda, woulda, coulda's.  I should have pushed myself on the flats and powered through the small hills. I would have been faster if I hadn't held back on the downhills.  I could have, and yes I really do think I could have, broke 1:30 if I just put my mind to it.  

Instead of obsessing over what could have been I am going to relish the accomplishment of my first trail race and a great afternoon spent with some of my running besties.


Final Results are posted!

16/18 AG*
179/214 Overall*

*The results do not include the DNFs which, to make myself feel better I must point out, were A LOT.


Kim said...

Congratulations!!! I think in 2013 (post Goofy of course) I'm going to make an effort to plan out my races to include DWD.

Ara said...

Holy crap! That looks like a tough course. Great job!