The morning after running a mile track race, my husband convinced me to do a cross country style race. He’s into the trail and cross country races, and I’m more into the road races. It worked out well since with cross country terrain; you can’t compare yourself to anything. If you are running through a giant mud pit, you won’t run as fast as the road. So I was easily able to throw my expectations right out of the window…
We arrived at the start around 8 am and warmed up. Not surprisingly, I felt tight and sore after racing the evening before. I had no goals and wanted to run. Something I haven’t been able to do much of since running last week…
Once the race started, I found myself as the third person overall. I stayed there the entire time. The race was smaller because there were so many races that weekend. My husband and another male were further up front, and I lingered behind. During the first mile, I felt tired. The mud allowed me not to worry about pace, and I thought about how beneficial spikes would have been. I hit the first mile in 6:15 and thought, oh geez if I can maintain this it would be a miracle!
During the second mile, we went into a wooded trail section. The course was well marked in the woods, but there were a lot of roots. Knowing my track record with falling, I knew it was better to be safe versus sorry and focused on not falling. Around the halfway point, we went out on extremely muddy and grassy field. It was like running through a swamp. I preferred the less muddy trails.
I hit the halfway point in 9:45. I knew it was slower than most races I had run, but I didn’t care. It was a hard course; I was tired, and mentally I wasn’t upset. I saw my husband fly by. He had taken the lead.
Since the race was out and back in the woods, after the turnaround got crowded. We headed back into the woods and while it wasn’t a single lane track, it was narrow. It was great to see other runners working hard, however, at a few points some runners were running side by side, and there was no room for me to run the other direction. I was pushed a couple of times into actual trees.
I ran the second mile in 6:49. To give you perspective, that’s much slower than a half marathon paced mile for me. You have to race the terrain you are given.
The third mile left the woods and did a loop around a large hill. I had lost track of my husband but saw the second place male about a minute in front of me. There wasn’t anything interesting during the third mile, and my focus was to finish. I finished the 3rd mile in 6:11 and ran a 19:20.
When I got to the finish, I noticed my husband was not there. I knew he had a great race, and I was concerned. I went over to the car, and he told me a volunteer had directed him the wrong way, and he only ran about 2.5 miles. It’s a shame because he was having a great race. He ended up running a tempo run and finishing his workout while I cooled down.
I’m happy with my race after running the mile. I am, however, jaded by the disorganization of the entire race. While it’s typically the race participants responsibility to know the race course, being told to go a certain direction by a volunteer is unacceptable. They should have had a lead cyclist.
It was fun to get out and run on terrain I don’t normally get too. I’m happy with my effort during the race. I got my fill of college style racing (a mile on the track and cross country). Eventually, I’ll hit up the roads again.
Questions for you:
Have you ever run a cross country race?
Have you ever been directed the wrong way during a race?