The Flag Day Trail Race was put on by the base. While anyone could race (and it was promoted to all of South Jersey), the majority of people who ran were in the military. It was a really cool event and one I had been looking forward to all month.
The race itself was located in central NJ at the Brendan T. Byrne State Park. It was about an hour north east of me. This summer I’ve gotten lucky that most races are only 20 minutes away (including Philadelphia races). I hadn’t driven an hour for a race in quite some time!
I got to the race pretty early. After helping out with a few things, I warmed up. It was extremely muggy and also buggy. I’ve never attracted that many bugs before. They were swarming around me.
The 10k went off at 8:30. Immediately I positioned myself as second person. I stayed there and by the end of the first mile, I found myself alone. I couldn’t see anyone ahead or behind me.
The only thing that kept me knowing I was going the right direction was the course arrows every half mile. We were running through sand and it was hot. I already knew this would not be a fast race. I hit the first mile in 7:10.
During the second mile, we came across a few logs that had fallen across the course. I didn’t know if that meant I went the wrong way but I still kept going. I hurdled the logs (just so I could blog about it).
The second and third mile were the hardest due to the hilly terrain, logs and the never ending sand. I ran mile 2 in 7:40 and mike 3 in 7:30.
The halfway point took deeper into the trails. I was happier because the terrain was less sandy but more cross country and woodsy. It gave me a flashback to good ole cross-country days (7:14).
At mile 5, I began catching up with some of the 5kers that had started the race later. (The 5k did half of the 10k course). It was a narrow course but not a big deal. They kept telling me I was first overall. I knew there was man in front of me but I hadn’t seen him after mile 1.
The final mile was back on the sand and there was no tree cover. This was by far the hardest mile. By that point I was tired, hot and my calves were extremely sore (from the sand). I powered to the end and finished with a time of 45:40.
I was told I had finished the 10k first. Shortly after I finished the man who I had thought won came in. He had gotten lost and taken a wrong turn. I congratulated him and told him he was truly the winner. Realistically, he was running faster and he would have won if he hadn’t gotten lost.
I had a great time at the trail race. While it wasn’t my usual weekend 5k, it was nice to race something different. My only regret is not wearing my cross-country spikes. It was one of the few races I could have gotten away with it! It was also nice to familiarize myself back with the 10k distance as well.
I won a giant gift basket full of Earth Balance Peanut Butter and snacks. It was one of the coolest and most unique prizes I’ve won!
I don’t have any races until the end of the month. I’m tentatively doing another 10k. I remember last year that the Pineland Striders 10k was extremely hot and humid. Oh well, that is what summer is racing is!
Questions for you:
Have you run a trail race or sandy race?
Do you like the 10k distance?