Blueberry Challenge XC 5k (20:01)
On Sunday, I ran the Blueberry Hill Challenge 5k. Even though I had raced on Saturday, I opted to run. For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to run this particular race. This year when I had the opportunity I took it. After racing the day before, I knew it wouldn’t be fast and opted to use it as a fun workout. The race benefited local Veterans, and as someone with many military ties, I wanted to run for a great cause.
I got to the race around 8 am, warmed up the entire course, and made it back to the start at 8:55. I was glad I warmed up on the course, so I knew what the “challenge was.” The course was a mixture of trail and pavement, a lot of hills, plus climbing up stairs around mile 2.5. I heard it was tough but understanding something is tough versus experiencing it, is two entirely different things.
At 9 am, we were off. The first mile is net downhill. It’s a narrow, winding trail, and I felt like I was back running a cross-country race. There were several people around, including another woman. We hit the first mile in 6:12 and while it was faster than I anticipated. I knew what goes down must go up and so I wasn’t looking forward to the next two miles of climbing back.
During the second mile, we were running uphill, as well as through a section of woods that was covered with leaves. The covering made it challenging to see roots and possible things that could cause you to fall, or create injury. I told myself: Just take it easy…no need to roll or sprain an ankle. I was running by myself with a few people in front, so I just focused on the ground. I hit the second mile in 6:35.
The goal of the third mile was to continue to stay strong. I knew there were stairs to climb and the course was also still going uphill. At that point, I was running next to a young kid wearing spikes. I usually win for “most noisy runner” but every time we would hit the pavement for a second, you would hear the spikes click. We got to the staircase, and I just floored it. I figured I would be tired anyway. My strategy for hills is run fast up because of you’ll be exhausted either way. After the hill, I found myself as the fourth person overall which I was happy with.
The staircase causes the mile to feel a lot longer than it is. I felt as though I should almost be done, but we still had over half a mile. I began pushing a little too early, and by the time I knew it, it was only mile 2.75 and I felt exhausted. I just pushed towards the end and crossed in 20:01.
Like the day before, the goal was 20 minutes, and it all evened out. On a difficult cross country course, I am happy with that. In all, I had a great time and would do the race each year it works out. It’s by no means a fast course, but it’s a lot of fun.
Questions for you:
Have you run up stairs before? What are your techniques?
Do you like trails or pavement better?