Last weekend I ran the Cheatin’ Woodchuck Chase, the last race in the Grand River Valley Charity Race Series. After the race I drove back home to attend the trail conference we were having here in town. It doesn’t come up much on the blog, but I do my best to stay active in our local trail community. My running club adopted a local trail in town, I do some trail maintenance from time to time, and most recently I became a trail agent which allows me to take a small work crew to any of the local trails and maintain them when needed. It was really important to me to run the Cheatin’ Woodchuck Chase but it was equally important to me to attend this event even if it meant showing up several hours late.
Anyway, part of the trail conference was an uphill challenge! Runners ran one mile uphill on one mountain and bikers rode up another mountain. This wasn’t an organized race with an official start time, but rather an open event from 7am-2pm. Participants were to use Strava to record their effort as they ran uphill and then the person with the fastest time at 2pm would win! The uphill challenge also included a prize for the most average athlete in both the biking and running categories. This prize was awarded to the athlete that finished exactly in the middle.
I had gone back and forth trying to decide if I wanted to participate in the uphill challenge after running a 5 mile race that morning. On the car ride home I was leaning toward not running the uphill challenge. By the time I got to the trail conference it was noon and extremely hot, so hot that I was walking around with my hydration pack on. My legs were tired and the thought of running uphill wasn’t something I was excited about, but I did have my Altra Superiors on so subconsciously I must have known I’d end up running the uphill challenge. After about 30 minutes of debating whether or not I should just go do it and several people in town convincing me that I should, I jogged across town to run up Mount Medaris.
I made my way to the start and stood there for a few minutes trying to figure out how to use Strava. I’ve never used Strava to track a run before but I have an account for GOALden Peak Performance so I can track some of my clients. As I stood there, confused, another women I know was running up the hill to the start. She had also never used Strava to track a run. It was really reassuring to know that I wasn’t the only one struggling to figure this out. She took off up the hill and I tried to follow behind her but Strava wouldn’t start. I had to stop, come back down, and figure out why I was getting a weird error message. In the end I had to turn on some kind of setting (I don’t even remember what it was) in order for Strava to actually work on my phone. I had to start a second time and I was even less thrilled the second time. My legs were tired and I could feel the sun sucking away what little energy I had left in my legs. Usually a one mile run feels really short and passes by really quickly, unfortunately that wasn’t how this run felt. In fact, the trail seemed extra long that day. I know I slowed down a lot in the last quarter mile. I had no energy left and I abruptly stopped as soon as I saw the flags indicating the Strava segment had ended. Then, I proceeded to walk back down the mountain while texting my friend to find out how fast I ran because Strava wasn’t telling me. She told me I ran 9:28 and that I had the fastest time for women with only an hour left in the challenge. Going into this I knew the time to beat was 10:xx? but I wasn’t exactly trying to win. I Just ran the best I could and that happened to be good enough to put me in the lead. Secretly though, I wanted to win the most average runner prize because it was a really cool Yeti tumbler that said Mt. Averagest and it could hold an entire pot of coffee–it was really cool. My prize was cool too though, I ended up winning an osprey hiking backpack. I could probably get a large bladder for it and fill that with a pot of ice coffee…..