This weekend I had the great opportunity to run the Ravenna Refresher 12k, part of the Winter Trail Series from Northwest Trail Runs. There was a 4k and 8k option as well.
Saturday I woke up way too early for the 9:30am race start, drank some coffee and ate some pb toast. Then I waited around and read the internet. At around 8:15 we left the house for Ravenna with plenty of time and no traffic. Check-in for the race was super easy, just gave them my name and they gave me the bib. It was about 38 degrees while we were waiting around so we decided to walk the park a bit since it was my first time there and moving was absolutely necessary to keep all feeling in my extremities. I wore my old faithful Zella tights (updated version), Under Armour top, old Nike windbreaker, some rando gloves I found in my underwear drawer, and my lucky hat. Dev was able to hang out with me until the very start, and after the pre-race rundown we were off. It was pretty casual and I almost missed it.
Due to not totally paying attention to what was going on and generally being terrified of starting lines (4,8,12k), I fell into the back of the pack. I never really know where to begin and fear going out too fast when starting races. I think I need to get over this fear and start paying attention to where I start if I'm going to be concerned about timing. The first few minutes of the race were super cramped because of a muddy lawn and a small bridge over a tiny creek. At one point I was standing still waiting for people to single file across the stream, including waiting for a pup that was really freaked out about going over. Not a big deal since I was in no hurry, but I could see that being annoying if I was worried about time. I think it might just be par for the course (lol) with trail runs on skinnier paths. The course was a 4k loop run 3 times. The first lap cleared out after a few minutes post-bridge and was nice an roomy after that. Ravenna park seems just like a big open field that descends into a crevasse with the trail zig zagging up and down the sides. There's also a sulfur spring in the bottom so there was a faint fart smell at the mid-point in the loop. Not much worse than the smell of a bunch of sweaty runners though. Being in the wooded area was pretty chilly, but I peeled my some layers after the first loop warmed me up and was comfortable for the rest of the race.
It was a gorgeous day to be running in the woods, especially in a park that's new to me. The hills weren't really bad at all and the trail was super clean and not slippery at all compared to the Mud and Chocolate 2 weeks ago. After my third lap we had little sandwiches, bananas, candy, hot cocoa, and the awesome raffle. Unfortunately I didn't win any prizes time, but it is pretty awesome and I feel like my chances are usually pretty high for next time. They also sent a link to the free pictures today and asked that we just credit the photographer. Both of these pictures are great examples of my ridiculous race face. It's like I think I will look better if I look away from the camera and directly at the ground, and act really serious. Someday I'll take a good race picture. Someday.
The photos are from Michael Lake Photography and they made me realize that trail race photos are the best photos. Not of me (obviously, see examples in this post) but of the scenery and the happy runners and happy puppies. Seriously, so cute to see happy puppies. Go scan the album here and check them out. I also found a photo from the start of the End of Summer run that I really liked because everyone looks really happy.
I ended up 46th overall, 12th woman, with a total time of 1:14:19. I'm still in a place with trail races where I don't quite know what a good pace is for me, when to push it or when to hold off because of upcoming elevation. I'm still loving being in the woods, running smaller races, and just getting more time with a bib on, but I'm going to have to start running more trails during the week if I want to get a better feel for it. Thanks Northwest Trail Runs for another awesome run!