Yet another trail run for me yesterday – a field of about 70 or so at a county park about a half hour from COlumbia in Chapin,SC. The field was notably missing the rail-thin, singlet-wearing types. The course was through woods and around an athletic complex – mostly grass and dirt with some paved areas. It was an out and back course so you could see where you stood in the field most of the race. I decided to go out fast, which is against my usual negative-split inclination. I guy flew by me in the first 400 meters and I never saw him again. There was a 4 wheeler that directed the lead runner, so there was litle direction for the rest of us. I was all alone as the lead runner for the rest of the pack for about 3/4 of the race. First mile split was in 6:27, which was ridiculous for this course, so I had to put on the brakes a bit. I paid for the first mile the rest of the race, but I was able to maintain about a 7:10 pace the rest of the way out. I was dying in the last .75 mile and got passed by two people, but managed to hold on to 4th place. The finish time was about 22:10, which was not bad considering the cross-country course and nearly continuous rolling hills. My Garmin had me at a little over 3.2 miles, which probably was more of me meandering off course trying to lead the rest of the group. That is something I’m definitely not used to. The winner finished in 18:58 or so, and the other two ahead of me were above 21 minutes. It was fun to run in a smaller, less competitive race. Now that I have some hardware for this weekend, I can concentrate on just finishing my 15k on Monday. It is known to be a grueling, hilly course, so I am going to take it slow and have fun.