June 8, 2008

Chester Woods Race Report

Matt posted on his blog that you might be an ultra runner if the winner of the race finishes on a different day than you do. I almost pulled that off at the Chester Woods 10 mile yesterday! Not really, but I did get a new PR for slowest 10 mile run ever.

How do I feel about that?


Why am I thrilled?

Because my foot doesn't hurt, even though I re-tweaked it a couple of times during the race. And, I like to think that I got my money's worth touring a beautiful park just east of Rochester that I had never visited before.

I was feeling a little nervous about running 10 miles on trails since the tendonitis episode began after Superior a few weeks ago. Even running 4 miles on asphalt was setting me back just a week ago. I hadn't run at all since a 3 miler on the treadmill Tuesday, but the time off appears to be just what I needed.

I woke up to small hail pelting my windows, which wasn't anticipated. I thought we were supposed to have nice weather in the morning with rain later in the day? Driving down to Rochester, the skies cleared up and it was a beautiful morning. As we were lining up at the start, I noticed some dark clouds that seemed to be moving in our direction. Oh well!

Off we went, first through an open meadow with wide, grassy, gently rolling hills that had a few holes to watch out for. I was running pretty conservatively, carefully testing my foot and ankle. My foot was feeling OK, but the warm temps and humidity were very noticable to me, especially since it's been such a cool spring. After my electrolyte problem at Superior, I planned on taking an Endurolytes cap every 2 miles. I also brought my own isotonic sports drink in a hand held, mainly because I wasn't aware that there would be aid stations about every 2 miles.

Soon we came upon the first of the Burma shave mile markers and shortly afterwards were running through a campground with a few curious campers cheering. Short sections of asphalt, then wood chip trails, and then gravel road followed. The 5K leaders began to pass us until we parted ways on different trails. There was a gorgeous view from the ridge top overlooking a valley and a fun run through the woods.

By now, the skies had become overcast, and I thought I heard thunder in the distance. Or perhaps it was my heart pounding, since I was (am) so deconditioned after my 3 weeks of rest ;)
After crossing a bridge over a creek, we set off on an out and back loop, so I could see the faster runners returning as they passed me by. Just about the time I got into another wooded section, the skies opened up and rain came pouring down. Pouring. It was dark enough in the woods that I almost felt like I needed a flashlight! Tweaked my ankle a couple of times, but everything was still feeling OK. I got completely soaked to the skin and my shoes felt like bricks strapped to my feet, but the rain also helped cool me down. Next came a steep downhill followed by deep sand, then back into the woods. Footing was getting a little tricky, and the copious rain was making things slippery.

Another creek crossing, then a steep climb up the Big Dam Hill. This was another good test for my foot, especially since the side slope was causing it to overpronate. Beautiful view from the top! The worst of the hills were over at this point, but it was still slippery enough in the woods that I needed to slow down to keep my footing. Looking at my splits afterwards, I noticed that my pace slowed by 2 minutes/mile during the rain!

Just as I was nearing the finish, the sun came out again and my calves were starting to feel crampy. I stuck to my plan of 4 Endurolytes caps, plus my own sports drink, plus a few cups of Gatorade at the aid stations, but I think the humidity caused me to lose more water than I could replace during the run. I've still got some experimenting to do!

Wayne, Andy, and Judy were kind enough to stick around and cheer me to the finish line. Good thing I had my Garmin because the timer's watch died just then and we needed to use my watch to get my time. Then off we went to have a dill pickle and other post race refreshments. I changed into dry clothes and missed the awards ceremony in the process. Oops!

Still had a chance to meet RD Jim and thank him for the great job that he and his crew did to put on this race. He introduced me to several folks, including Hall of Fame Coach Severt Legred who served as the official race starter. The Rochester Track Club folks really know how to put on a great event, and I highly recommend this one!


Views from a director said...

Kelly, thanks for the kind words. I look forward to seeing you at another race, only next time I'll be a runner.


Runnin-from-the-Law said...

Love your positive attitude! Glad the foot held up ok. Sounds like it was a fun race.

Judy said...

Hey Kel - it was nice to meet you and share a bit of our beautiful trail with you! The downpour was bonus. All I can say is - when the lightning started, I thought, ok, if I am going to get zapped, zap me now (6 miles or so), don't let me run 9.75 and zap me then :). Yeeehaaaa!
Judy Weller, Rochester MN

Wayne said...

Good Job, Kel. It was nice to see you out there, and it's great your foot held up. Next up: Sour Grapes... see you there.

keith said...

sounds like you had a doozy of a race to test your ankle out on! heck of a job and way to gut it out!

Carl Gammon said...

Great news about the foot! It sounds like a great race and that you had fun.

MN Ultra Runner said...

Sounds like a really fun race...see you soon!

SteveQ said...

The PWs (personal worsts) always come with great stories and you never forget them. I might see you at Sour Grapes, even if I probably won't be running.

brent said...

Nice job! Glad to see your foot made it through ok. Good luck this weekend.

Steve said...

Awesome, Kel! I'm so glad to see your well on the road, er should I say "trail" of recovery. Hope to see you at Afton!! Stay healthy!