It has happened again. I have totally been slacking on my blog posting. I am getting ready to run in my third race since my last post, so I decided to start writing about my past few races. Here is my race recap for my second Montvale 5 Miler that took place in March.
I have been looking forward to this race for quite some time. Not only are these trails practically in my backyard, they are also the trails I run on the most. When I decided to race all of the Mountain Junkies’ RNUTS races, I had planned to run the longer of the possible races at every event (except for Carvins Cove). But as the weeks lead up to the Montvale race, I had not been able to get as many longer runs as I needed. I was really stressing about running the 10 miler for several days leading up to the race day.
I got up and ate my normal pre-race breakfast of a banana, as slice of wheat bread with Nutella, and a cup of black coffee. I was still worrying about completing the 10 mile trail race and still being able to enjoy the rest of the weekend. I had no doubts that I could finish race, but I was really starting to worry that I would be so tire and sore afterwards, I would end up not being able to enjoy playing with the boys. So, while in the shower (yes, I take pre-race showers for some reason) I had a moment of clarity. I started running to improve my physical health while at the same time improve my mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. Why was I letting myself be stressed out about running? I knew I would be disappointed with myself for not sticking with my original plan, but it wasn’t worth the extra stress. So I decided that I would show up a little early to the race and switch to the 5 miler.
I was sort of glad that I decided to change my race distance because it would give me a chance to compare my time to last year’s race. Even though I have raced quite a few races over the past two years, I have only repeated one race. So I do get an opportunity to better my course time too often. Once I made the long 1 mile trip to the race, I was able to switch distances with no resistance. I had a little time to go for a short warm up run. Although I run on the Montvale trails right often, I usually park in the lot off of Quarterwood road and run the top portions of the trails. Since the race starts near the 460 entrance to the park, I was able to take a warm-up lap to the creek. There has been a lot of work done to the creek area. Thousands of trees had been planted and each one had a protective plastic casing protecting the small saplings. It was a very surreal sight to see all of these plastic tubes. The area resembled a graveyard more than a nature trail.
Although a lot of work had been done the surrounding area, the bridge was again the biggest obstacle. Recent storm flooding had once again washed away the small footbridge. So, in its place was a large log cut in half lengthwise. The bridge had a lot of bounce to it, even with only one person walking across it. I could only imagine how it would perform with several people running across it. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about that for a while. The race started on the other side of the creek and the crossing was encountered during the last 0.25 mile of the race.
Once all of the runners had made it across the bouncing log bridge, the race was about to begin. After giving the 10 milers a 10 minute head start, we 5 milers were sent out our way. I knew the first 0.25 mile was on a wide access road path, so I took advantage and ran faster than my planned pace to get in front of some of the slower traffic. Once on the single track, there was not a lot of room for passing, so I settled in for the next few miles. I was surrounded by a group that was running at a good pace; therefore there was no need for me to risk passing anyone. It was nice actually racing on trails that I am familiar with. I knew exactly what was around the next turn and I could plan accordingly.
After making up to the top of the main hill at just over 2 miles, I knew the last 3 miles were going to be mainly downhill. So I let gravity take over and just tried to maintain my foot turnover rate. The next couple miles were really uneventful and passed by fairly quickly. The next thing I knew I was approaching the bridge. I was all by myself at this point, so I didn't have to worry about the extra weight bouncing across the makeshift bridge. I took my time and tipped toed across with no issues. The last 0.25 mile was on nice soft grass, so I tried to use my last bit of energy to finish strong. I made it to the finish line in 43:58.55. I was very happy with my finishing time. It was my fastest average pace for a race longer than 5 miles and it was almost 1 ½ minutes quicker than last year’s race (45:26.55). I later found out that I was second in my age group, although I think most of the faster guys ran the 10 mile distance (but I will take it).
Overall, a great day of racing in the great metropolis of Montvale! Since the race was so close to home, I was still able to go to a neighborhood Easter egg hunt that with the boys. This was another reason I wanted to run the shorter race. I would have still been in the woods running the second 5 miles otherwise. So until next time, keep on runnin’.