Sunday, July 24, 2011

Happy Trails to ME! Recap of Northern Ohio XTERRA Trail Series 8K Chapin Forest

[The Run Smiley Collective Administrators Note: This post was forwarded to us from Jennifer Caccamo.  Who managed to find fun in the longest race she has run for a while.  Her blog can be found here:]

Sunday I ran in the longest race that I have done in years! I ran in the Northern Ohio XTERRA Trail Series 8K in Chapin Forest.

I have to admit going into the race I had butterflies. I was worried about being able to complete the course. I haven't done much high mileage training. My longest run prior to this was 5.5 miles about a week ago.I was also worried about the hills. I struggled with gentle rolling hills in Rocky River which were nothing compared to what I would be facing at this race.

This was my first time to the Chapin Forest. The park was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! The rolling hills made for amazing views everywhere I turned. The weather was absolutely perfect, low 70's and no-humidity!

Parking was easy. We were able to get a spot that was literally feet from the start/finish line. The registration process was quick and the staff was super friendly. I also liked the people that were at this event. There were a number of fellow Grunt Girls there. It was nice to talk to them as they were a very calming presence for me. I am going to try to get out to more of the group training events.

My family and I also had a nice chat with another runner who was inquiring about my Vibram Five Fingers. He told me that he runs barefoot! I was so excited as there are not too may barefoot runners in this area. It was nice to talk to someone in person that actually gets barefoot/minimalist running.

The race was awesome! The first mile was a bit hilly and muddy. I admit I did speed walk up a couple of the super steep spots. However I was quickly able to regroup and get running again. I laughed when I got to a muddy spot where the trail got very narrow.  A guy came up from behind to pass me and said, "those things (referring to my shoes-Vibram Five Fingers) aren't made for the mud."

Well I beg to disagree :). The Vibrams stayed on even in the spots where the mud was very thick. I also felt like I had more traction wearing these versus regular shoes. I was very pleased with how they performed.

As I started making my way toward the third mile, I felt super strong. My legs felt great. My new Yurbuds headphones were actually staying in place and the tunes from my iPOD were keeping me pumped up. There is nothing like running to, "Welcome to the jungle" by Guns N' Roses.

The course also had me reminiscing about my high school and college cross country days. Running on that course made me feel like I was a kid again. Getting a little bit muddy was so much fun!  I had an amazing time.

At about 3.5 miles I ate my Chocolate Outrage Gu packet.

I only had about half of the packet because I could tell my stomach was a little bit out of sorts. The GU provided me a huge mid-race energy boost. By the time I got to the fifth mile I wasn't nearly as fatigued as I anticipated. I even was able to pass 4 people I had been trailing for the whole race.

I looked down at my Garmin and noticed the finish was really close. When I emerged out of the woods my husband was there with our boys in Bob. My husband knew how badly I wanted to hit a certain time in this race. He shouted to me, "look at the clock." I did and about started to cry. I was under 60 minutes! He then let our oldest out of the stroller and he helped run me into the finish. My final time was 59:48. I have kept that time in my Garmin since Sunday. Just a little proud of myself. I set a goal and hit it! OH YEA!

The post race festivities were wonderful. There were plenty of good things to eat and drink. I was SUPER excited to see a Muscle Milkrefreshment station there. I became a fan of Muscle Milk after the LULA 5K. This time I got their chocolate flavor.

As you can tell, I love all things chocolate! Like the strawberry flavor the chocolate was very refreshing.

I would highly recommend this race series to everyone. I will definitely be signing up for more races in the series soon.

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