Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K

Woohoo!  First obstacle race COMPLETE!  This morning Matt and I ran the Radnor Red Steeplechase 5K at Radnor Hunt in Malvern, PA.  The event web site proclaims that this is “NOT YOUR ORDINARY 5K RACE!” and they aren’t kidding!  The course included multiple horse jumps, ditches, and three trips through muddy, mucky water jumps.  What fun!

Water Jump #1 - we went straight through that muck and up the bank!

I spent hundreds of hours of my childhood on the grounds of Radnor Hunt.  In the 90s I was a proud member of Radnor Hunt Pony Club and I used to love dashing around and jumping over the horse jumps on foot after finishing up on horseback.  (I’m pretty sure this is why I became a hurdler once I started running track.)  I must admit, however, that clearing the jumps today was harder than I remembered… probably because as a kid I wasn’t also running a 5K in between the obstacles!

Today’s course was challenging, with steep hills and tall grass (and jumps, obviously).  By now I’ve done a few XC races but it still surprises me how much harder it is to run on grass than pavement, especially with soaking wet shoes!  Nevertheless, I ran hard and felt pretty positive throughout the entire race.  I’ve been doing speed workouts on the track for 3 weeks in a row now and I kept finding myself thinking in terms of track intervals like, at the halfway-ish point: “only 3 x 800s left to go… I can do that!” or, at the .25 to go mark, “just one more lap!!”  Despite feeling really tired on some of the steep uphill climbs, I was happily surprised at the finish as I kicked it in with what felt like a whole new level of speed than I am used to having at the end of a race.

I finished with a chip time of 27:49, 26th out of 265 women and 5th in my age group.  Matt finished in 27:05, 91st out of 289 men and 6th in his age group.  We agreed after the race that the hardest obstacle was by far the sequence where we ran into a water jump (deeper than the one shown above), then had to climb out of the water up a ~3 ft. bank before going over an enormous log jump.  That’s the one jump I actually sat on in the process of climbing over… it was big (and wet and muddy from everyone’s waterlogged shoes!)  I definitely gained a new appreciation for horses on today’s XC course.  🙂

Our next race will be the Firehouse Pickle in the Streets on August 28th.  This is a prediction format race where you guess your time in advance and then there’s a beer garden and BBQ afterwards.  Oh, and the course is fast, flat and ON PAVEMENT!  🙂 Looking forward to it!

Miles since last post:  72.5
Days since last post:  14
Avg. Daily Miles since 7/18/13: 4.82
2014 TOTAL MILES: 1095


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