Last Sunday I ventured out to the Chef Center for their annual Cowboy Trail Run. It is a great race to run as you run on the trails through the woods instead of running a race on the road, so you are engulfed in nature.
I've done this race all three years and each experience was different. The first year I was not ready for all the little hills and burned myself out in the race and made the decision not to come back next year. While I did come back the next year and the trail was all muddy, but it was fun to run in and I was well prepared for the trails and enjoyed it.
Now this year it was a cool morning with an abundance of sunshine, perfect conditions for running. I was ready for this edition of the run as I knew the trails were going to be mostly dry, however I didn't get a good chance to run most of the week, so I wondered how fast I would be able to run.
We started on the grass near the horse barn and then hit the trail running downhill and crossing the street heading into the woods. In the beginning quite a few runners were passing me and I found myself just outside the top ten. Once we hit the trail in the woods, I began to make some gains and started passing these runners back and some started to walk because they had went out too fast.
I found myself in fourth place as we started to hit the hills and one runner behind me saw my ankle roll as I ran downhill, but I told him I was OK. I have twisted my ankle so many times it has become a natural motion for me.
The trail is uneven in places, but you can run on it without a problem. You just have to watch out where you are running. I kept an eye on the third place person in front of me and I thought I might catch him and the second place runner as well, but as we went farther into the woods, the less I saw them.
Once I hit the bridge and the open part of the trail I knew we were only a 1/2 mile from the finish line and the downhill we had in the beginning now turned into an uphill. I didn't catch the third place runner, but I did finish fourth overall and first in my age group. I ran the course, which is 3.4 miles in length, in a time of 23:08.
I love running on trails and do not get a chance to do it enough so I will definitely be back next year.