We signed up for this race just about a month ago, after each of us had been on only a handful of trail runs in our lives. We figured it best to set a goal and have something to work towards. So we registered, dropped big bucks on new trail running shoes and created a short "training plan". We ran trails together every weekend and track during the week to keep in shape. After 4 weeks of training, it was time to race!
This race was all women and was much smaller than a road race, as I'm sure any trail race is. We ran on dirt roads at the beginning and end but spent at least the middle 5 miles on single-track through the woods. We learned that it can be hard to get a rhythm at first because people are still figuring out their speed and it can take some time, or be awkward, to pass people.
I went into this race thinking we were taking it easy - as Ingrid was getting a cold and I had had stomach issues the week before. But Ingrid's "easy" turned out to be hard for me. I was pushing to keep up with her for the majority of the race, especially on the longer hills. I really learned how different trail running is from road running. It's so much more about muscle size and strength. And that girl has bigger and stronger leg muscles than I do... damn her.
We sprinted to the end, crossing the finish line at the same time. After grabbing some food and lounging in the grass, we checked the scores to find that we'd tied for third place in our age group, finishing in 1:01:11. I was pleased with this time, given that one of the first things I had to drill in my head about trail running is that you can't compare your times to your times on the road.
We left feeling high and ready for more. Bring on the trails!