Sunday, October 2, 2011

Ridge To River Trail Run 6-4-11

The Ridge to River Trail run was probably one of my favorite runs of the year.  Set in Barboursville Park, this 10 mile race took runners through single-track trail, spongy bottomland, and rocky ridgetops.  The weather was warm but nice and sunny for this race.  Vance, Jay and I made the trip to Barboursville early that Saturday morning.  Unfortunately Daisy had to miss the race due to an injury to her paw sustained earlier in the week.  A bonus to this race was meeting up with a fellow DailyMiler and his DMing pooch.

Vance and I decided to run together so that he might actually enjoy a race.  On long races in the past, Vance has burned out early, making for a miserable final few miles.  This time, I was out to prove to him that races can be fun!  We had heard that this race, although farther, was easier than the Dirty Dog because the hills were fewer and less steep.  However, when the gun went off and we started out the main road of the park, we weren't so sure.  The first mile of the race was up an incredibly steep hill on the pavement before it ventured off onto the trail.  We overheard lots of nervous kidding going on around us, wondering if we were going to survive this race.

To our relief, the first turn onto the trail took us through miles of single track.  This is where I get confused on a trail race.  On almost every trail race I have done, this is the part where the logjam occurs. I am not a front-of-the-pack runner by any stretch of the imagination, but I get frustrated with this early part of trail races.  Inevitably, I get stuck behind a long line of walk/joggers, making it difficult to go around, and I never know the race protocol to remedy this.  Do you risk an ankle injury and go off-trail and pass?  Do you ask for them to move over for you?  My love of trail runs usually outweighs this frustration, but I'm always curious as to what I should do.

Vance and I stuck together, which was enjoyable for both of us.  He kept commenting on how nice it was to not be "blowing it out."  We had lost Jay earlier, as he zoomed up the giant hill and ran out ahead of the logjam while still on the pavement.  However, we knew he'd be running his own race and would see him at the finish line.

Post Race Party
About halfway through, Vance decided to be a little more aggressive in passing other runners.  He soon left me behind, and went on to run a great race.  However, I believe his easier start is how he was able to sustain a great pace for the rest of the run.  The course was a beautiful mix of trail types, and did end up being easier than the Dirty Dog.  Many other runners had run the Dirty Dog a few weeks prior, and made the same comments.  I personally love the terrain and challenge of the Dirty Dog, which is why it remains one of my favorite races ever.

The finish party after the race had great food and a festive atmosphere.  Each runner received a raffle ticket, and lots of prizes were given away.  All finishers received a medal, and the locale next to the lake was beautiful.  The race itself was a ton of fun, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Compression shorts
2 GUs
Trail shoes:  Mizuno Wave Trails x 2, Brooks ASR
Visors, sunglasses

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