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Potomac Overlook Trail Run 4K - Run

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Arlington, Virginia
United States
Virginia Happy Trail Running Club
45F / 7C
Total Time = 17m 9s
Overall Rank = 3/48
Age Group = N/A
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

6am wake-up. Leisurely breakfast and out the door at seven. Arrived at 730, registered, and tried to stay warm.
Event warmup:

Ran for ten minutes, then did a couple of striders periodically to keep the heart rate elevated.
  • 17m 9s
  • 2.49 miles
  • 06m 53s  min/mile

This course was harder than any cross country course I ever did in high school. I didn't have time to do the course in advance so I never really knew what it would throw at me. The course started out with a half-mile of road before you entered the woods. The woods included two river crossings, two downed large trees that you had to jump, countless steep inclines/declines, sharp turns, rocks, and awkward footings. This course tested as much your ability to navigate the terrain as your running abilities.

The race started off very fast, with people trying to spread it out before we hit the single-track. One runner went off the front immediately. Three of us tried to keep him from getting away, but by the time the road ended and we entered the woods we had given up. We brought it back to a quick, but more reasonable pace and let him solo off never to be seen again. I later learned that he was a 15-flat 5K runner, so it was definitely a good decision to let him go.

I immediately fell behind the other two runners in my pack trying to navigate an awkward downhill staircase. A short surge afterwards and I reattached to the group. The group consisted of me (a 22-yr old former high school cross country runner), a 16-yr old HS cross country runner who had just finished his season, and a 27-yr old former collegiate cross country runner. Being out of practice at navigating the trails, the other two were constantly gapping me on the highly technical areas. Once I'd recover from that I'd do a short surge and reattach.

We settled into a very quick pace, with the 16y/o in the lead, the 27y/o in second, and me nipping at their heels. Feeling good after a short, steep uphill I put in a surge and overtook the 27y/o. I quickly moved to the heels of the 16 y/o and could hear the other falling back. We forded the river twice where I'd lose ground and quickly reattach. Then the path narrowed, he slowed down, and I couldn't get by. I was stuck there for probably a quarter-mile before I squeezed around and picked up the pace, moving into second place. Little did I know, but this slow-down had let the 27y/o reattach and he quickly passed me. I reacted quickly and followed him closely for the remainder of the race.

He finally gapped me on a steep incline with steps built into the hill. The steps were each too long to make taking them one step at a time comfortable, but too short to do two steps efficiently. I slowly and awkwardly climbed, but his shorter legs took the steps easily. He opened a ~7 yard gap on me, which remained steady through the end of the race. He steadily increased his pace, which counter-acted the surges I put in to try to catch him. No matter what I did the gap stayed exactly the same. As we turned the final corner with my thighs on fire and the gap steady as ever, I gave in and cruised to the line in third place. Officially he beat me by 10 seconds, but it was much closer than that until I gave in and enjoyed the finish. Oh, and the winner beat me by 1:25.

While I'd consider my time very slow, the nature of the course made this race not remotely about time, but all about place.
What would you do differently?:

Try to force my way around when the pace slowed.
Post race
Warm down:

Jogged lightly for five minutes.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I haven't been able to log huge mileage and what I have done has been mostly on the treadmill. This didn't give me the opportunity to prepare for such steep inclines that just killed my quads.

Event comments:

Loved this race! The course was magnificent. It was very difficult but in an enjoyable way. Definitely on my to do list for the future. Would love to come back better trained and win this race!

Last updated: 2010-11-13 12:00 AM
00:17:09 | 02.49 miles | 06m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 3/48
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-11-14 3:25 PM

Subject: Potomac Overlook Trail Run 4K
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