I was pretty excited about this race. I knew a long, flat trail race suited my recent training pretty well, and that’s what I thought this was. Well, 6 miles of it was! The other 4 miles had some short, very steep hills, but of course, I wouldn’t find out about those until after…
I drove the hour and a half down to arrive about an hour early. I didn’t warm up much; I just wasn’t feeling it. My leg was feeling only so-so, so I didn’t want to risk it with too much slow running, as that’s what aggravates it. The faster paces makes it better, up until about 10k pace. Go figure! I got my bib, got everything together, did a half mile or so to get the legs moving, and got ready to race.
I got a poor start this time, and ended up pretty far back through the single track in the beginning. I passed a few guys here and there and a bunch more when we hit a field around mile 1. I ended up behind Kasie Enman (World Mountain Champion) and another guy for awhile, but passed them pretty early as well.
I was running by myself for the rest of the 5 miles to the turn-around, running pretty consistent 5:50-6:15 pace. (Though my watch was measuring quote short compared to the mile markers, so it was probably a bit faster than that.) After about 3.5 miles, the hills started. Short, but super steep! I’m pretty sure one was Upper Walking Boss class, though luckily less than 100m long. I was dumb enough to try and hammer up them on the way out, not realizing how much they’d kill my quads. After the hills were done, I encountered the leaders coming back. I was happy to see they weren’t completely putting me to shame. Yet.
I reached the turnaround about 10 seconds before Kasie and grabbed a cup of water before heading out again. She passed me a minute later and disappeared pretty quick while I switched to hiking a lot of the hills. I held back on the steeper downhills as well, out of concern for the nerve injury.
Once the course flattened out again, it took me a few minutes to get my legs to want to move again, but I was still hitting pretty consistent low-6’s (according to the watch) through the last 3 miles. I caught glimpses of Kasie ahead, but she was uncatchable, so I chose not to hammer too hard. I couldn’t see the guy behind me at all, so I figured I was safe.
I finished pretty comfortably, though a bit dehydrated. My time was 1:06:12, good enough for 15th place, 40 seconds behind Kasie Enman’s new course record, and 7:18 behind 1st place.
I was happy with the race. I went out pretty confidently on the flat stuff, and was able to get back close to that pace over the flat stuff at the end. If I would change anything, I’d have backed off a bit on the initial hills, to try to keep some quads for later in the race. I doubt it would have changed the result any, but I would have felt stronger!
I’m happy with a result like this after only a year of trail racing. This year’s Sleepy Hollow race is the 1-year anniversary of my first one!