Xterra Trail Run 21k was a race I have been looking forward to since April when I signed up. This was going to be the most awesome running experience I have ever had, and I was SO excited. Unfortunately, I started having major issues with my hip flexor at my last trail race in early August, which stopped me from running trail and intervals for more than a month now. Had it been any other race, I wouldn't have been on the startline, but I really wanted to run this this one. I decided to do the race, but started thinking of it as a slow trail run and not race, though that was a lot easier before the race than during the race 😁
As for any other OCR or trail race this year, I wrote down my goals pre-race:
|Admiring the amazing view|
- Run slow
- Enjoy the race
- Listen to your body
- If the pain is too much, stop after one round
My plan was not to stand up front when we were starting, but in the race briefing before the start they told us that if you wanted to run for the podium you would have to be in the first start group (we were sent off in waves); I figured it wouldn't hurt being in that start group, as long as I remembered to keep my own pace and not let me get carried away by a crazy start. I kept my pace and a lot of runners passed me on the first kilometre. We weren't many female runners in the first group, but I knew one was in front of me and the one in third was right behind me (see picture above).
The race consisted of two 5km loops we had to do each loop twice plus an extra little 1km loop to get us to 21km 😊 After about 6km I am right on the heels of the woman in front, but there was no room to pass her as we were running up stairs (she walked I was running). When we got to the top she started running downhill, I had to remind myself not to run after her, but to keep my slow pace as that would limit the pressure on my hip flexor, and give me better odds at completing the race. I was there to enjoy the surroundings and the experience, and not to race.
I got back to enjoying the race; the trails were amazing and the view was breathtaking (or perhabs that was the elevation, 711m in total 😅) We got down to the beach, and I think my eyes lit up like a kid who have seen the presents on Christmas Eve 😍 In front of me I had about 2km of rolling rocks on the beach, and I love running on that; it's so much fun. I just kept running, passed the woman in first place along with lots of male runners, I really didn't care who I passed, I just had so much fun running 😊
|Dacing my way down the beach|
I decided to walk up the stairs, I tried running a few steps but it was not good for my hip flexor, and I wanted to finish the run if it was possible. When I came up from the stairs, I headed to the 1km lap before going back out on the last two 5km laps.
My hip flexor and abs started feeling tight, I slowed down my pace and started focusing on my breathing, it helped and my hip flexor started loosening up again.
The 1km loop went back into the event area, going up the hill towards my second 10km lap an offical on a mountainbike came towards me. I could hear he said on the walkie that; the first woman on the 21km is headed out towards the second round! - "Yay that's me" 😊 It was so cool running through the event area where people were cheering for me.
Out on the first 5km loop I met my mom;
Me "Mom, I'm in first place"
My mom "Yes, you're doing so well"
Me "I'm not supposed to be in first place" 😁
|Enjoying every step of the race|
I kept my pace, at about 12km my hip flexor got a little tight again; I slowed down and took some deep breaths, it loosened up and I contunied on the beautiful trails, with a BIG smile on my face. I knew I wanted to do anything I could to finish the run, because I was really looking forward to getting back down on that beach😁
Going into the last 4km I was still feeling strong, besides the stairs leading up from the beach I had managed to run the entire route without any issues, many people were walking up some of the steeper inclines or stairs in the forrest (even on the first lap), but I felt good on every trail. Then suddenly I started doubting myself "am I winning this because I am a good runner or because the compettitors aren't better?"
The answer came about 1km later, when I passed 3-4 male runners who were struggling, that's when I knew I was winning this because I didn't burn of all my powers on the first part of the race and I followed my race plan to perfection!😉 A little downhill run and suddenly I found myself back on the beach and it was just as much fun the second time 😛
I passed a few more male runners down on the beach, I was one big smile, as I had been throughout the run; I truly enjoyed every kilometre out on that course😍
|The last few steps before the finishline|
It was time to run back up the 497 steps to the finishline. This time I dared pushing my running on the stairs a little more as I knew I was done soon. I ran up some steps, walked a few, ran some more; made it to the top and crossed the finishline as the first female and 10th overall.
This race is definitely the best race I have ever done. The race was so professional, Xterra, really know what they are doing. The surroundings were amazing, the trails were fanastic, and I had the best time out there. The fact that I won of course made it better, but I could have finished last and it would still have been an amazing experience 😍 These types of race experiences are what I am focuing on going forward.
|A little run on the beack|