Silver Fox Trot (trail) at Saluda Shoals- August 2010

Silver Fox Trot 5k  8/14/10
This is a true technical trail 5k complete with ditches, a monster hill, long grass, hairpin turns and lots of single track. 142 runners, overcast skies, near 80 at race time (8 am) and about 100 percent humidity. Not very pleasant when youre sweating before the gun even goes off. Spent the first half mile dodging people and trying not to run through mud (I opted for the racing flats – I know, dumb). Total chaos until an incredible mountain of a hill thinned out the field severely. Hills are my strength, and this enabled me to pass maybe 10 people, but Garmin read low 9 pace on this monster. Luckily there was a nice flat, open section just after this which enabled me to catch my breath. Seemed like a lot of people still in front of me. Started passing people towards the end of mile 1 – I think a lot of people were unfamiliar with the course and went out too fast (I ran it last year and died in a similar fashion). Split on mile 1 about 6:45, though the Garmin was having trouble with all the woods. The slower pace seemed to work in my favor, as I actually felt better after that point. I started really throwing myself around the turns and into the ditches and creek beds. Passed several more people, a couple who were walking (injured?). I tried to sprint all the downhills and straighaways, as these were the only points to pass people or to build up any good speed. Hit mile 2 right around 7 minutes flat- thought it would be faster, but it was so hard to keep up a good pace with the turns. In mile 3 I started to die a little, the heat was definitely getting to me, but seeing others in front of me start to really slow down was motivation enough. I continued to pass several people, including who I thought was the top female. I eventually broke free and saw no one else in front of me. I knew there was a pack of high school cross country runners well ahead, but the fear of getting passed myself was able to push me to the finish. Never saw the 3rd mile split – just too focused on maintaining my position. I hadnt been passed since before the hill.  Broke out of the forest and the finish line was only about 20 feet away, crossed at 21:33. This race was held to support the local high school CC team (who also ran the race). Ended up in 11th place, 1st in age group, 3rd among non-high schoolers.  I was real happy with the effort – I knew this course added about 3 minutes to your road times and I barely broke 24 minutes last year.

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