Better late than never...

Guess I should post some sort of race report from the Run With A Cougar trail race 3 days ago.

Heather and I arrived at Hoffmaster State Park to find that there were a lot more people running this year than last...and a long line for pre-registered runners to pick up their race packets. On the bright side, us procrastinators were able to walk right up and register.

Due to the large # of runners they delayed the start 15 minutes. No biggie...it was gorgeous, around 50 degrees, and full sun. Gave me a chance to chat with the guy parked next to us who had a car that was virtually identical to mine...color, year, features, body-style, manual transmission, sunroof, etc. (my car is not at all common around here, so it was kinda freaky--and I've seen his car before...I recognized his running-related custom plate). Though his was much cleaner than mine, heh. He was an older guy with no messy kids and probably doesn't park his car under a tree, either.

We got to talking about trunk-mounted bike racks, which was useful, as it can be difficult to fit a rack to a hatchback without a trailer hitch mount. It appears that there are a couple of Thule models that may work well. I can fit my bike in the back of my car with the larger portion of the split-fold rear seats down, but then we can't fit any luggage in the car if we were to go somewhere with DS along. With a rear rack we could take my car on trips without having to deal with a roof rack (and no one has to mess up their back getting the bikes up there, either).

Back to the race. I PRd by almost 1:30, but I swear it felt tougher this year. My right ear plugged-up maybe a mile in (and didn't resolve until at least a half hour after finishing...weird), so I spent much of the race swallowing and yawning trying to get that to clear. Ever notice how the sound of one's own breathing is amplified with plugged ears? Yeah, that sucks during a race.

The last mile or so of the race is on the beach. So one has the choice of running in dry sand, which is REALLY hard, or running on the wet area down by the surf...easier, but with the high probability of wet feet as waves wash up. Yep, my feet got soaked. And I forgot how heavy shoes and socks are when wet--whoa! Wow, that last mile was TOUGH! I have never come so close to puking at the finish of any race. Took me maybe a minute after crossing the line before the nausea abated. Ick.

There was one annoying tool of a guy who was attired in Under Armor beefcake compression wear with a Camelbak (yeah, for a 4.3 mile race in cool temps...moron) and a headcam. At the top of each hill he would stop, turn around, and videotape the people behind him slogging up the hills. Jackass must have done this on at least 3 hills. I think I eventually lost him. Thank gawd. What a creep. If I find that shit on YouTube I'm going to leave some not-so-friendly comments.

I finished 14/17 in my age group (165/222 finishers--14 people DNFd, which seems pretty high for a relatively small race)...which burns me, since there were THREE women who finished just seconds ahead of me. Ack, if only I had known. I'm sure if I'd have realized we were in the same AG I would have put on more gas and gotten around them. I am relatively sure I know which group of women this was and I was behind them for the entire race...I could have sprinted around them at a wider section of the trail, but didn't feel driven to do so...which I would have done had I known they were my direct competition. Ack. The older gentleman we talked to before and after the race said he likes racing tris for that reason--competitors have their age written on their calves, so each person KNOWS who they are directly up against.

3 days out and my calves have finally stopped feeling so sore and stiff. Man, running on sand for so long really does a number on a body.

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