9.8 miles is a weird distance, right? Well in the race description, it says the course will be as long as the trail is completed on race day.
Volunteers have been working on the Dixon Trail for years now. Each year, this run increases by about .2 miles. It takes a lot of volunteer hours to construct a trail and I hope to go out and help sometime. The registration fee went to the funding of this trail and I love that!
I signed up for this race hoping to suffer a bit, it has been a while since I have. I couldn’t find an elevation profile and just assumed this was going to just be straight uphill. Thinking this, I wasn’t really thinking of this as a race, but more of a training opportunity. Races are technically training, but you know what I mean.
It was about an hour and a half drive from our house to the park in Colorado Springs, BUT the race didn’t start until 10AM! I wanna kiss whoever came up with that start time. I was able to sleep until about 5:30, take my time getting ready, take care of some… business, and had plenty of time to get there. I was a little worried about the organization of the race, because there just wasn’t a lot of info on the race, but it was SO well organized. Cheers to them!
It was a chilly and very windy day, and I wasn’t really looking forward to dealing with the wind. I was hoping that the trees would keep me shielded from most of it. They did. I thought my Garmin was charged more than it was, so I ended up using my phone (Strava) to track my run. I’ve become obsessed with tracking.
I did a 10 minute warm-up and then it was time to start! Again, I was expecting to start on a hill and just keep going up, but that wasn’t the case. The trail was made up of what William calls ‘kitty litter’ which is really comfy to run on. I had started in the middle of the pack so I had a lot of weaving and passing to do.
My whole body felt heavy and I didn’t really have a lot of mojo, in the beginning. I will admit that I was holding back a bit because I was just waiting for the hills to begin. The trail rolled a lot in the first three miles but wasn’t anything unmanageable. Just after three miles, the walk-able hills began. I had walked a little prior to this but not that much.
As usual, I found myself in the back of the faster pack, and ahead of the slower pack. I always manage to get stuck somewhere in the middle, by myself. I tried to keep up with the pack in front of me, but they were just too fast. Most everyone that I could see were also walking up the hills and running the flatter parts. I’m finding that that may just be the key to ‘running’ the hills/mountains around here. I also remembered to shorten my stride on the hills I was able to run.
The last mile (before the turn-around) certainly felt like the steepest part, and the trail got much narrower. This section of the trail was the least traveled since it is the newest construction of the trail. When we reached the turn-around point, we would have to turn-around and run past everyone still coming up the hill. When folks started coming back down, it was really frustrating because I kept having to move over and let them by. I wasn’t so much annoyed by that than I was that it was just slowing me down; I certainly wasn’t expecting them to move for me. Plus, the trail was really narrow and basically dropped off down a cliff, so it was kinda sketchy. I reached the top, refilled my water bottle, and that’s when my race actually began.
I suck running uphill but am a killer downhill runner, in my opinion. I am able to trust my shoes, and the ground under my feet enough to just let loose. I have learned how to use the whole trail on downhills. I was jumping to the left and right, using the bank-sides to get around people. I was turning to the side to get around people so I wouldn’t have to slow down. I was using the outside edge of the trail in curves, like if you were on a bike, so I wouldn’t have to worry about sliding or slowing down.
I passed so many people on the downhill and it felt so good! I didn’t stop at any aid stations, because I had my own little hand-held bottle. Members of the local search and rescue team were manning them so I made sure to thank them all as I ran by!! Thanks guys and gals!
For a good mile and a half, I didn’t see anyone. When I finally went by a guy, with about a mile to go, I said, “Man, it feels like we’re the only ones out here!” He agreed. I tried to keep a pretty fast pace but I could feel myself fading. I hadn’t taken in anything but water, but I really didn’t feel like I needed to for 10 miles. I was too busy to eat anyway!
I crossed the finish line in 1:45:57. I knew I had probably placed pretty well because I could see everyone in front of me when they turned around at the top.
This profile makes it look so intimidating! It’s a little less peaky on the Strava website…
Overall: 53/130; Female: 12/47; 35-39 Age Group: 1st place!!
They only gave out age group awards to the 1st in each age group, but I’m glad they broke it down from 30-39. I got lucky that the first and third overall females were in my AG, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten it. The award was a piece of wood that was from some of the trees cleared in constructing the trail. I love that! There were no race medals, and I’m ok with that because I have a ton.
A guy that flew by me coming back down the hill said, "Hey Pippy!" Haha!
I thought I was running halfway up that whole mountain behind me, but we only went up to just above where that far left cloud ends...
I look so Amazonian compared to the others!
We were in order from oldest to youngest (left to right). The lady on the far left was in her 70s! You go girl!
I would love to do this one again. It was awesome and very well organized.
Thanks for reading!