I did something new today. I raced in the Xterra 10K Trail Race at Lake Las Vegas. Don't get me wrong, I've run on trail many times but have only raced one other time and it was a 5K. There was a Groupon that made the race only $20 so I figured "Why not!"
They offered morning of packet pick-up which was great since it allowed us to just go early in the morning versus twice. We arrived at about 7:30 a.m. and made our way to the vendor expo to get my swag bag and race bib. They had the lines divided up for 5K, 10K, and 21K so the line moved fairly quickly. After checking in and getting my stuff, we walked over to the port-a-potties. They had about ten of them lining the street so there was no wait.
We saw a few friends who had set up in the parking lot so we went over and hung out there until closer to race time. They had a great set up for tailgating with corn hole, chairs, donuts, drinks and hot dogs. At about 8:05 a.m., I made my way over for one more potty stop and then went to the start line. There were three starting times, one for each race, and our group had several racers in each wave. My wave was set to start at 8:35 a.m.
After the 21K wave went, I gave my husband a kiss and headed to the starting line. There were no timing chips so the race would start at gun time. Knowing that, I made sure I was near the front of the group. They started each wave with a cannon shot. They gave a short 5 second countdown and then "BOOM!"
We started the run on a golf course but quickly made a right hand turn up a hill to get back to the paved road.
The first half mile was up a hill on a paved road. After that, we made our way to a dirt road. It had a gradual incline that led to a few rollers. Then the trail turned into some massive climbs. I had heard about these hills and they were not exaggerating when they described them. I pushed up the hills as fast as I could (which wasn't very fast). I then tried to let it loose on the back side to make up some time. The downhills seemed to be rockier. They were steep too. I could feel my teeth jarring with each forceful stride down. By the third or fourth big hill, I realized that I could power walk up these hills as fast as I was running up them and would expend a lot less energy. I switched to that tactic and it seemed to help. I made sure I ran on all flats and downhills.
The course had four aid stations. I was running with a hydration belt so I didn't need to stop but they appeared to be well stocked with water, Gatorade, and gels. The course offered no shade so the sun was really intense. They had recommended running with water and I understood why. Even with the four aid stations, hydration was needed more than that.
At about 3.5 miles, we began to flatten out and run in a canyon on a wash. The footing became more difficult since it was deep gravel. I tried to scout out the more packed paths and stick to them. The scenery was beautiful in this area though. Just after the four mile mark, we had another big climb (my last walk) and then turned onto a single track trail that followed the lake shore. It was like we had jumped to another state! It was lush and green with cattails and trees. Up until then, we had been in typical desert landscape which kind of resembled running on the moon. This single track was flat and hard packed so I was finally able to run with some speed. I passed a few people and focused on my cadence. My feet started to hurt at about this point as well. During this time, I made the decision to retire the shoes I had one. This would be their last race.
Finally, just after the 6 mile mark, we made our way back to the paved road. I opened it up as much as I could. We hit a small hill but were rewarded with a nice downhill leading to the finishing area. I pushed as hard as I could. At the bottom of the hill, we made a sharp right hand turn. We had one more hill to push up and then turned back onto the golf course. Once on there, we had a short sprint to the finish line.
My official finishing time was 1:20:49 and my Garmin showed 6.9 miles. They had warned us that the courses were longer than advertised so I was prepared to see those numbers. I placed 6/10 in my age group, 32/93 for females, and 93/183 overall. They did not give out medals and I was bummed to find that out.
I was greeted by my husband just after the finish line. We walked around for a few minutes, grabbed some post-race snacks and picked up my official time slip. We then walked over to our friends who were happily tailgating.
This was a difficult race but I am happy with my results. My pace broke down to 11:42 per mile which is really good for me on a trail run. I probably will not do this race again but for $20, it was a good race.
Next up....The Badass Dash 7K obstacle race.