This past Saturday I hit the trails for a couple of races instead of hitting the roads. I participated in the 4K and 8K runs at the Battle Creek Education Outdoor Center. It was a lovely morning as it was cool, sunny, and had just a little wind. Last year's conditions were snowy, windy, and cold. I took third overall in the 4K and 4th overall in the 8K. I was looking for a similar performance this year.
I started right in the front row and when the gun sounded I got off to my usual fast start as I headed down the trail and up the hill past the cabin where a few people were cheering us on while some old fashioned music was being played for us. However as we entered the woods it all started to go bad for me as I found it becoming more difficult to breathe. It wasn't to the point where I had to stop, but I had to slow my pace down. It might have had to do with the cold air. This led to a lot of runners passing me, but there was nothing I could do. I struggled to get up the hills and then I headed across the open field and then past the water stop where more people were cheering us on. I headed back for the woods and then past the cabin and toward the finish line. I still took 9th overall, first in my age group and finished with the time of 19:09.
At this point I was debating whether I was going to run in the 8K or not. I had only 25 minutes to decide, so I drank so Gatorade and walked around a little bit to gain my composure. I talked to some of the other runners and they said they were having the same issue with the cold air so we decided we were not going to run as fast and take it easier.
So I headed to the starting line for the 8K race and when the gun went off, I started off at a slower pace. Now the course layout was the same and we had to make two laps around the course. It felt easier this time around although I still felt some discomfort with the trouble breathing and I developed a dull stomach cramp. I did pass a few runners through the woods and some passed me up as I headed up through the hills and to the open field. I wasn't worried about this though as I just wanted to finish. I headed back though the woods and began the second lap. I ran by some of the other runners who were still completing their second lap and by the cabin again and back into the shady woods. I headed up a hill and deeper into the woods before I hit the last big hill of the course and then to the open field again. During the second lap, I felt like I was beginning to catch my second win and it felt easier. Their was one runner on my tail and since I was approaching the finish I began to push the pace and I headed back into the woods, past the cabin, and headed for the finish. However I could not hold off the other runner. I finished 8th overall, first in my age group, with a time of 37:25.
I took home a couple of small prizes and a couple of small plants in honor of Earth Day. Overall I did not improve on the times I ran last year, but I finished the races and that is what counts. I hope this Saturday when I run the BC Spring into Action 5K I can run fast with no problems.