Friday, January 29, 2016

Trail Running - Tashka

The Tuscaloosa area has some beautiful lakes! There was a flyer up at Wagner's for a trail race to be held at Lake Lurleen, so I decided to do my once a year trail run and sign up!

The Tashka Trail 50K & 25K was on January 16th. The official name was the Nicholas Wilson Memorial - this was the 7th year for the race. Initially the race started as a way to give back to the community, preserving the memory of Nicholas Wilson, a little boy who passed away in 2008. As the years have passed the race has raised over $35,000 for different children's needs. This years beneficiary is the Tuscaloosa Children's Theater, and Kid One Transport.

A couple weeks before, Bill and I drove up to the lake to see where it was located. Definitely a plus for race morning - to know where you are going. It was really foggy the morning of the race, but there was hardly anyone on the road so I got to the race much faster than I though I would. Parked the car facing the lake and sat and watched the sun come up.

The 50K, and 25K started at 7:00 am. It was pretty chilly out, people kept telling me that "last year it was much colder." Have you ever noticed that when we are at a loss for words talking to a stranger that the weather becomes a typical topic of conversation? Honestly I don't really care that it was colder or hotter in previous years. It has nothing to do with the race today. It is what it is.

Race tip: Check the weather, plan to dress accordingly.

I raced the 4 mile - it was an out and back to on the Lakeside Trail. I worried a bit about the return trip and congestion on the trail, but it was a needless worry. Failed to look at the application where it says they cap the 4 miler at 30 people. The race director announced that he had blown off the first mile of the trail of all the leaves, and pine needles, so that all the roots and rocks were exposed. Nice!

Oh, this is interesting, just before the race I saw one of the guys who works at Wagner's. He said one thing to me that really helped for this race. Just a small comment that I shouldn't have any problem at this race. Meaning he knew the women's competition that were there. Funny how one small thing like that can completely change your confidence level, as well as race plan. I was planning on running hard, but being new to the area, I have no idea of who is who. So it made me run even harder, hoping that maybe I could win this thing.

The race started, two men went off in front and I was behind them. For a little while I worried that it was going to be like The Trail Run that I did last year in Shreveport. I had some trouble there getting around a couple men in front of me. But the two at Tashka quickly sped up and I didn't see them again. I heard a woman talking behind me as we first started, and resisted the temptation to look back and see where she was until we made a sweeping turn and I could just look sideways to see who was behind. At that point there was no one that in sight. I raced hard to the turnaround - funny how in trail running, you feel like you are pushing so hard and going so fast, only to look at your Garmin and see 9:30 pace. Haha!

At about 2 miles my left calf started hurting, and then it moved up to my glute, so once I got a about a half mile from the finish, I backed off and ran easy. An interesting observation in the days after the race was just how sore my calves were. In thinking about it (yes, I analyze everything), it does make sense. The majority of time I was up on my toes, either climbing between rocks, and roots, or descending between them. You have to kind of pick your way around them, and most of the time there isn't room for a full foot plant. I can see where regular trail running would be so good for all those little muscles in your lower leg. It would add a lot of lateral strength - the foot is constantly adjusting for the imperfect ground. It was a great workout. I should really do more trail running. Maybe I can get Bill interested so he can go with me!

Back to the race - I didn't pass anyone, and didn't get passed by anyone. Finished 3rd Overall, and was the first woman. When I crossed the finish line the RD handed me my award and that was it. The 4 miler awarded only first male, and first female. So there were no results to tabulate. Got my award, walked back to the car, took a few photos, and a selfie and then drove home. Had to be at work at 11:00. A post race nap would have been nice, but not today.

Next up on my schedule is the Masters Swim Meet in Auburn on February 13th! I've been swimming a lot. This week 6 days. I'm pretty tired, hopefully when I back off the yardage a few days before the meet I'll snap back. But my birthday is just before the meet, and I want to do a Birthday Swim! I finally decided what I'm going to do, just haven't picked the exact day for it. Don't want to do it too close to the meet.

Birthday Swim 5500 yards = 55 x 100

10 x 100 @1:40 warm up
9 x 100  @ 1:40 pull
8 x 100  @ 1:45 25 stroke / 75 free IM order
7 x 100  @ 1:40 25 back / 75 free
6 x 100  @ 1:45 negative split
5 x 100  @ 1:40 25 breast / 75 free
4 x 100  @ 1:45 descend 1-4
3 x 100  @ 1:40 25 fly / 75 free
2 x 100  swim down
1 x 100 kick

And since I'll be swimming for the Crimson Tide Masters in the meet at Auburn, I got this! What do you think?