Sunday, March 25, 2012
Race Review: Black Mountain 5k
Trail races are a different breed. The fields are more laid back, the courses more difficult and the scenery more appealing to compensate for the high-grade hills, ankle-turning ruts and isolation. Some people love trail runs for all of these reasons, and I'm one of them.
That said, this race that takes place just a couple of miles from my house remains the hardest I've done, and this year I even downgraded to the 5k. Like the 15k, the distance is imprecise and at the start the announcer told us to think of it more like a 4-miler. It was excellent advice to keep from giving your all too soon on the final mile up a long, winding and steep hill to the finish line.
The elevation chart made it appear the first half was downhill and the last half was all up at an eventual 10 percent grade. But that must have been net elevation because we encountered our first serious hill about a half mile in. And when we finally got a good downhill, I often put on the brakes to keep my ankles from rolling in the ruts or slipping on the wet grassy "medians."
Here's Deborah's Garmin readings:
The course was well marked and the weather was perfect. No rattlesnakes this year either. My running friend Deborah and I both finished first in our age group. However, we also were the only female participants in those age groups so I'm not counting mine as a big win. I did see though that Meghan won her much more competitive age group in the 15k - congrats! And I finally got to meet Phong in person when he went to check results. We ended the morning with my extra-strong mimosas (thank you for the idea and ingredients, Deborah!) and brunch at our condo (thank you to my husband for serving as chef).
I still recommend this race to anyone up for a real challenge. Just know going in that you will be spent by the time you get out regardless of which distance you choose.