As I planned out my race schedule for the spring in January, I decided I wanted to add a trail race to my schedule – just for a little variety. Ragnar was off the table, but I liked the idea of testing out the Northface Endurance Challenge and settled on the 10k race.
Packet pickup was the least wonderful part of the experience. You had the option of going to a Northface store, the closest one being 17+ miles from the race site, or picking up the day before or day of the race (via a shuttle bus). Because I HAVE TO have my packet before I run, I went to the closest store on my way to a client meeting. It wasn’t TERRIBLE and I was pleasantly surprised by premium long sleeve, hooded tech shirt. From what I could gather, each race received a different color and they were gender specific.
In my typical fashion, I laid out my “Flat Erin” the night before the race to post on social media and was pretty happy with how the shirt from my Etsy shop turned out!
The morning of the race, Sunday, I headed to the shuttle location and met up with two of my amazing MRTT friends who were running the half-marathon. Our races were held on the second of two race days – Saturday had been the 50 miler, 50k and full marathon. We hugged and photoed, but unfortunately my buddies started at a different location and we only had time to say hello before heading off on our respective busses.
Upon boarding the bus to Algonkian Regional Park, I found a family from my neighborhood who were planning on running the 5k. We chatted on our way to the park and while we waited for the race to start. It was warm, but not nearly as bad as the day before had been. And it was overcast, which actually made it quite pleasant.
The 10k started right on time at 8:00 am with several waves of runners. I seeded myself in the middle of wave 3, knowing that I had not put in enough trail miles and didn’t want to hold anyone else up. When we were released, we started out in a field, ran along a road, and onto the trail. One water stop was there at about mile 2, just before heading into the more technical portions of the trail. (And allowed for 2 stops from one location.)
I was surprised at how good my legs felt and how well I was navigating all the trees and limbs. So good, in fact, that after we turned around I decided to see how I could do for the second half. As we hit the paved portion of the route, I kicked it up and found myself passing several people along the way. As I crossed the finish line, I realized that most folks around me looked quite a bit younger and maybe I placed in my age group. Sure enough, after checking my time in the “hut”, I found out I had placed 3rd among women 40-44! There were no age group awards (aside from 1st for each catagory) and no ceremony, but I’ll take it anyway.
Upon crossing the finish line we received a nice water bottle and attractive finisher’s medal. Apparently the medal is the same for all races, with only the ribbon color changing. Had I run 50 miles, I don’t know if I would have been pleased about that. But I was happy to get a new addition to my medal rack.
My favorite chiropractor’s office was giving out massages after the race and the line was short, so I chatted with Jane from Beyond Wellness while she got rid of some of the tension in my calves. After some more water and a quick snack, I ran into my neighbors boarding the bus. The son had placed 1st in his age group and the dad 2nd in his age group. We chatted while we waited for the busses to arrive and return us to our cars.
I would definitely recommend this race as a nice, well organized trail option. The mud was good for my legs and the nature good for my soul. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning.