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Xterra Trail Series Estrella Mountain 20K - Run20k

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Goodyear, Arizona
United States
AZ Trail Race
90F / 32C
Total Time = 1h 57m 49s
Overall Rank = 32/87
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 8/18
Pre-race routine:

Started the day at 4:30am, took in my usual mueseli with honey and then hit the road at 5:30am. My friend Pam was running as well so swung by her place and then we were off. Arrived at the trail at around 6:00am with an hour to spare until the 20k start. Blueberry Pomegranite Roctane 15minutes before the gun.
Event warmup:

Just a light run for ~1 mile to get the joints loosened up.
  • 1h 57m 49s
  • 12.43 miles
  • 09m 29s  min/mile

First ever trail race so I had zero idea what to expect. Considering I found out about it last minute I planned to use it as a training run and just try to have a good time. I questioned even running the 20k but the only other option was 8k which I didn't feel would even warrant the hour drive.

From the start I took it easy and settled into mid pack. I had never been on this trail before and from looking at the elevation charts knew there was a bit of a climb from mile .5 to approximately mile 3. I felt pretty strong through the initial climb up 300', passing a number of people on the way. Mile 3 to 4 was descending those 300' and although a touch challenging with some of the rocks, was a fun trip down. Then it became interesting.

The whole descent I was recalling, or trying to recall, what the elevation chart looked like after mile 4. I knew there was another climb coming that covered around 500' and continued to the 7th mile. I plodded away and while not exactly attacking it didn't take it easy because I knew after mile 7 it was all downhill. That's where everything went wrong. I cleared mile 7 and started to descend, really trying to turn it up a notch or two. Then suddenly, we started back up! What, I could swear it was all downhill for the last 5 miles and I ran the last ascent believing that. So much for having a good memory because mile 7 to 8 was the steep part of the run and I found myself getting gassed. By the time I cleared the peak I was starting to hurt and my calves were really starting to tighten up. I'm not sure if the calves were the new shoes or lack of running much hills (I suspect a combination of both) but I suffered the rest of the way.

Remaining 4 miles was coming back down the 500" with a short climb to the finish. I crossed the line under 2hours which was really my only goal but I wasn't terribly happy. While I didn't come out to really race it was my own unpreparedness that really cost me a decent time.

What would you do differently?:

Familiarize myself more with the elevation profile to limit surprises. More training on hills and single trek terrain.
Post race
Warm down:

Zero. Grabbed a banana and some orange slices, drank some water, stretched out and hit the road for home.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Numerous things. First and foremost my lack of serious hill work, at least something that would prepare me for the hills of a trail run but I expected that. I picked up some new trail shoes specifically for this (New Balance 101s) and think I could have used more time adjusting to the heel drop. I've always ran in a low ramp shoe but the very low nature of the 101s I think really caused a lot the tightness and fatigue in my calves during the final climb.

Event comments:

Xterra put on a great event and I'm happy to have three and a half months to really train for the next event.

Last updated: 2011-09-28 12:00 AM
01:57:49 | 12.43 miles | 09m 29s  min/mile
Age Group: 8/18
Overall: 32/87
Performance: Below average
Course: 20k trail consisting of mostly single trek, lots of loose stone
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2011-10-03 2:27 PM

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Scottsdale, AZ
Subject: Xterra Trail Series Estrella Mountain 20K
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