Last Saturday I ran the February Pickle Run at Ridley Creek State Park. After running the all-road course at the January Pickle, I decided to give the trails a try in February and I am happy that I did!
The race traversed “3.8ish” miles of hilly, winding, snow-covered trails. The trail course started out with the road-runners for the first half mile or so before veering into the woods where the first 10-15 minutes of trails flew by in a blur. I was sandwiched between two guys and the three of us zoomed through the forest making great time with no other runners in sight.
Of course all of that fun downhill couldn’t last forever… with about 1.5 miles to go we turned onto the “white” trail and immediately started climbing. And climbing. I technically never walked, but I’m pretty sure that I was shuffling along at 15++ minute mile pace. Finally the trail leveled out and I realized how completely dead my legs felt with another mile still to go. Trail running is HARD!
Right before crossing over the multi-use roadway on the yellow trail the course plunged down a really steep hill. Halfway down the hill I spotted one of the race’s signature googly-eyed pickles leaning up against a fallen tree but was too tired to go back up the hill for it. I yelled “PICKLE!!” and the guy behind me mustered up the strength to turn back for the prize. (Runners who find pickles on the course get silly awards like old VHS tapes and fake wall-mounted fish. It’s all fun on the Pickle Run!)
The race finally returned to pavement with less than 1/4 mile to go (or something like this… this was a prediction run so no watches allowed!) and the tired trail runners rejoined the 5K road runners who were also in the homestretch. I was thrilled to be back on pavement and I picked up my pace and sprinted into the finish. Trail pickle complete!
My finish time of 35:40 means that I ran at an average pace of 9:23 per mile. Slower than road race pace, for sure, but also much faster than my mid-week trail runs so I’m happy with that! Before the race began I haphazardly guessed that I’d finish in 36:00 not really knowing what the conditions would be like. Wildly, this meant that my prediction was only 20 seconds off which was good enough for 3rd place and another pickle-in-a-beer stein award. Awesome!
My next race is March 7th… the last of the Athlete’s Closet Winter Series. I have been sticking with my speed work and tempo runs and I am looking forward to running FAST on the nice, even pavement!!
Miles since last post: 32
Days since last post: 7
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.84
2015 MILES: 267.2
• February ’15: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/7/15)
• January ’15: SRA New Year’s Day 5K (1/1), Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/3), Pickle Run #1 (1/17)
• December ’14: Jingle Elf 2 Mile (12/5), Brian’s Run 5 Miler (12/7), Athlete’s Closet Holiday 5K (12/14)
• November ’14: Trinity Berwyn 5K (11/1) [PR], Metal Run 5K (11/8), Seven Summits Turkey Trot (11/27)
• October ’14: Martin’s Run 5K (10/5), Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/18), Bark in the Park 5K (10/25)
• September ’14: Talk 5K Trail Run (9/13), Run A Muck Trail Race (9/20), Haverford Township 5K (9/27)
• August ’14: Riddlewood 5K (8/3), Radnor Red Steeplechase (8/17), Pickle in the Streets 5K (8/28) [PR]
• July ’14: Cam’s ‘Moonlight’ 5K (7/10), Swarthmore Independence Eve 8K (7/18)
• June ’14: Radnor Conservancy 5K Trail Run (6/1), Media 5 Miler (6/20)
• May ’14: Elwyn 5K (5/3), Run for Victory 5K (5/18) [PR], Rocky Run 5K Trail Run (5/30)
• April ’14: Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/, Rick’s Run 5K (4/19), St. Tim’s 5K (4/26)
• March ’14: Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1), Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30)
• February ’14: Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1)
• January ’14: Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4)
• December ’13: Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14), New Year’s Eve YMCA 5K (12/31) [PR]
• November ’13: Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2), Turkey Trot 5K (11/28)
• October ’13: Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19), Oy Vey 5K (10/27) [PR]
• September ’13: Run-a-Muck 5K (9/21)
• The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)