On Saturday morning Matt and I ran the Elwyn Maximum 5K, a road/trail/XC race held on the beautiful grounds of the Elwyn school just west of Media, PA. This was our first off-road race since our racing debut at Run-A-Muck last September. All of my races since Run-A-Muck have been on pavement and I had forgotten how much harder it is to run off-road. (This also made me realize how hard Run-A-Muck really was… I’m lucky I didn’t quit running immediately after that race!) Mixed surfaces aside, the race course was beautiful, the other runners were friendly and supportive, and I had a blast!
After going out way too fast in the St. Tim’s 5K last week, I was determined to run my first mile at a reasonable pace. I curbed my competitive instincts at the start and let people run by me, keeping myself to what felt like a comfortable jog. The first mile ended up being mostly downhill and was all on pavement, so my split was still pretty quick at ~7:34, but I felt much more under control at the 1 mile marker than I was during St. Tim’s. This was good because the next 2 miles were very challenging, with trails, grass, and loooong up hill climbs!
At around 1.25 miles the course left the road and entered the woods, where we were greeted by a steep climb up a wood chip trail. Then we exited out into a soggy, grassy field (where I passed two people… that never happens in the middle of a race!!) and started a steady 0.8 mile climb that felt like it lasted forever. (And those people passed me back, oh well!) The wet grass footing was challenging but I pushed through, knowing that eventually we’d return to pavement. At one point around mile 2 we ran down a short driveway and I remember feeling so excited that we were back on the road, only to realize that the volunteers were actually directing us to yet another field for another 3/4 miles of XC running. During this last stretch on the muddy grass I was only about 50 feet behind Matt, but just as I thought I might try to pass him he put on a burst of speed and pulled ahead.
We finally returned to the road with about 0.35 miles left to go. I was SO HAPPY to have pavement under my feet again! I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that I apparently also had enough energy left to pick up some speed and run my third mile faster than my second. Woohoo! I finished in 26:17… FASTER than my St. Tim’s run despite this course being much, much more challenging. I know that the trick was going out with a more controlled pace and I can’t wait to get a chance to try out that technique on an all-road course!
Matt finished strong, passing a few people right at the line for an official time of 26:12. He ended up 2nd place in his age group and won this fancy blue Elwyn mug. Doesn’t he look happy? 🙂
Our next race is Victory Brewery Company’s Run for Victory 5K on May 18th. They have a beer garden and BBQ after the race, which is apparently a very fast and flat ROAD course. Looking forward to it!!!
Miles since last post: 42.4
Days since last post: 8
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.85
2014 TOTAL MILES: 605.0
• St. Tim’s 5K (4/26/14)
• Rick’s Run 5K (4/19/14)
• Las Vegas Security 5K (4/3/14)
• Color Out Cancer 5K (3/30/14)
• Athlete’s Closet March 5 Miler (3/1/14)
• Athlete’s Closet February 5K (2/1/14)
• Athlete’s Closet January 5K (1/4/14)
• New Year’s Eve 5K at the YMCA (12/31/13)
• Athlete’s Closet December 5K (12/14/13)
• Turkey Trot 5K (11/28/13)
• Trinity Presbyterian 5K (11/2/13)
• Oy Vey 5K (10/27/13)
• Fueled Up & Fired Up 5K (10/19/13)
• Run-A-Muck 5K (9/22/13)
• The Challenge Begins: 100 Mile iPad Mini Challenge (7/23/13)