This morning I headed out to Spartanburg for a 4 mile trail race. I had no idea what to expect. (Warning: I have no pictures today because I forgot to charge my phone. Mom attempted to take some with her phone but was unable to get any.)
When we arrived at the campus of USC Upstate it took us quite a while to find the start of the race. Two other events were going on at the same time (soccer games and a Junior Scholars function) with much better signage than the race.
Finally we figured out where to go and walked over to the start. I had more than a feeling that this would be a really small race when the race director knew who I was as I walked up. I’m not sure but I think I was 1 of 2 female runners who were not USC Upstate students.
As I stood with the others waiting for the race to start I started to doubt myself. All but a few of the runners were cross country team members at the university. In addition, there were only 27 or 28 people running the race. I definitely did not want to be last but with the way I’ve been running lately I had no guarantee that I wouldn’t be.
Finally we started. For the first mile I ran 10 – 15 seconds behind a group of girls and an older gentleman. My first mile split was a great time but I knew it was too fast: 7:56. I’m not sure how many times I’m going to have to tell myself to start slower before it sinks in.
Just after mile 1.5 things started to get interesting. Up until that point we had been running on a fairly flat open trail with some rocks thrown in here and there. The trail was wide enough for ATV vehicles. Then we branched off onto a foot path. I didn’t give myself any time to think as I started to climb. The last quarter mile we rose over 250 feet in elevation. I definitely had to slow down here to catch my breath and my split reflects that: 9:35.
Miles 3 and 4 felt like they nearly killed me. The elevation went up and down repeatedly with all kinds of switchbacks, tree roots and wooden plank bridges over creeks. At times I felt on top of the world and strong. At others I could barely catch my breath. Splits for miles 3 and 4: 10:34 and 10:12.
As mile 4 started to end I knew that the course was long. (either that or my garmin didn’t track distances accurately because I was out on the trail) The last little bit of elevation nearly did me in and I had to walk with less than a quarter mile left. I hate that.
I knew it was a tough course when I literally had nothing left coming into the finish and just jogged. I couldn’t even get a little faster.
I am so glad I ran this race and not the 5k right down the street from my house. I got an automatic PR, saw God’s beautiful creation and learned once again the importance of training well.
Next week I get to run a repeat course but with my 15 year old cousin this time!