June 6, 2009

Chester Woods 2009 Race Report

Got out for another trail race after a few weeks off after Ice Age, this time a 10 miler down at Chester Woods just east of Rochester.

Last year when I ran here, I was struggling with some tendonitis in my left foot and had my slowest 10 mile time ever. This year I've been having a little trouble with minor plantar fasciitis in my right foot, but really wanted to beat last years time even though my training has been almost nonexistent lately. Alrighty then!

The weather was shaping up to be pretty miserable: upper 40's, steady rain, and wind. Once again, right on the edge of "what should I wear" decisions. Got to the park with enough time to get checked in and find the start, but didn't really have time to socialize. I was cold enough that I decided to keep the light water/wind proof jacket on over my long sleeved light weight tech shirt and shorts.

The race started with a very short road section before turning on to a grassy trail. My foot was feeling a little stiff at first, but warmed up quickly and never bothered me the rest of the race. Everything felt just right for about half a mile, then I was getting too warm and decided to shed the jacket. Some day, I will learn how to dress properly!

I soon came upon the first of the Burma Shave mile markers and I noticed that my pace for the first mile was about what I would run tempo intervals on roads - a little faster than I planned to go at this point, but it felt good so I went with it. The early part of the race is run on fairly flat grass, some asphalt through the campground (not too many campers out cheering this year), some wood chips, and a short dirt road section before hitting the nice dirt trails in the woods. At about the 4 mile mark, the 10 mile and 5K courses split at an intersection that overlooks a beautiful valley (one of the trademark photos of Chester Woods park, I'm sure). By now I had slowed a little and was settling in to a more comfortable pace that I could sustain for 10 miles.

Running in the light rain was actually kind of nice, and the wind was hardly noticeable in the woods. There were a few rolling hills, and I was walking most of the uphills when Judy caught up to me. We had a nice chat about Ice Age and a few of the local road marathons while we ran together for a bit, then she went on ahead. After crossing a creek and coming in to the 6 mile aid station, I refilled my water bottle and then was off to an out and back loop. Got to see Dan and John, both of whom were looking strong!

After coming back and passing through the aid station once again, the trail passes through some deep sand with a short, steep, tricky-if-you're-not-paying-attention downhill. Back into the woods, another creek crossing (boy is the water ever low), about a mile to go. I had forgotten all about the Big Dam Hill, but here it was :) The views from the top were better than last year - you can see much farther during a steady rain compared to a downpour! Perhaps some day I'll get to see it with blue sky and sunshine.

Chester Woods 10 Mile Elevation Chart

Just a few small roller coaster hills through some woods and open meadows, then in to the finish. While my time wasn't stellar, it was still almost 10 minutes faster than last year. Got to chat with RD Jim for a few minutes, but then started getting cold now that I was soaking wet and no longer moving. Had a post race dill pickle, changed into some dry clothes, and was still cold so I ended up driving home with the heat turned on the whole way.

Thanks to Jim and all of the folks who volunteered so that the rest of us could play in the rain! It's much tougher to volunteer in lousy weather than to run in it, and I think I can speak for all runners that we really appreciate your support. The Rochester Track Club puts on lots of great events, and this is one that I highly recommend!

Time to get some hills in and get ready for Afton!


wildknits said...

Nice job Kel. Had thought about coming down for that race, but two trips to the Cities last week meant no travel this weekend.

Stayed home and ran the SHT instead ;->

Jean said...

Very nice job, Kel, and congrats on bettering last year's time by such a large margin! They put on a really nice race out there at Chester Woods. That is such a beautiful park!

SteveQ said...

Hey, a minute per mile improvement over last year! I'd say the weather agreed with you. Congrats on the good race. I'm thinking of doing it next year (yes, skipping FANS and Kettle)

Anonymous said...

Nice job, Kel. You're right...it was hard to resist gong a little hard that first mile since it was short grass and flat. That switchback towards the end is maddening!

Wayne said...

Nice job, Kel. Quite an improvement in time over last year! I just can't believe you forgot about the Big Dam Hill! :) I like the Chester Woods race, unfortunately I think I might've caught the FANS bug.