Mullin's City of Trails Race Report

This is my personal race report.  I'll be back soon with updates on the Sasquatch Dash standings.

Prep

The two days prior to the race I actually ran.  This was a taper of sorts.  With the bike racing over the weekend, a hard Woolly ride on Tuesday, and the CyclovaXC sprint ride on Wednesay I had 4 hard bike rides in 5 days.  Friday I ran at Elm Creek for the first time.  I was really impressed with the diversity in the area I ran.  Beautifully manicured paved trails, double track ski trails, and dirt roads where I was and I only scratched a fraction of the park.  And the best part?  I didn't have to go in little tiny circles like I did all winter long.

This was my first time making it to the City of Trails 10k and it was a fun time at packet pickup and walking around pre-race.  After a couple of years hanging out in the valley I'm starting to know more and more of the really cool people that make up the outdoor community.  I'm still working on putting names to some of the faces (I'm genetically predisposed to forget names, just ask my kids and I live with them!).

Lining up I said I wasn't feeling great, but that I would probably feel better once on course.  Give me a few paragraphs and we'll see how that turns out.

Race

This was a pretty typical "local" 5k type start.  A bunch of kids sprinting off the line only to slow down 400 meters later.  If it really bothered me, I guess I'd take off like Tammi and the other front runners did.  Holy cow they were flying towards the Interlink trail!

I haven't even gotten off the line and I'm way behind.
I should note however, that at this point I am ahead of the eventual race winner.  So any results can't be blamed on the traffic or start.  My primary concern was not hitting the single track behind someone who was going to slow significantly.  I succeeded in finding my spot by the time we passed Blanding Woods.

I slapped Steve Edling on the back on his way to the 5k course and dove into the single track on the Ice Age Trail. I love technical running.  I think I'm reasonably good at it.  It brings me back to childhood memories of "free running", leaping, bounding, scrambling, sprinting, and sometimes falling.  Luckily I didn't fall, though one poor teenager in front of me did a nice tuck and roll just as we entered the trail.

By my rough estimate I was roughly around 12th place entering the trails.  With no particular analytical reason, I had figured before hand that top 10 would be a pretty good place.  Scrambling through the rocks in Regal Park before the first new section of trail I could tell I was opening a gap behind me, but I wasn't closing anything down in front of me.

Not much to report though the first new section before crossing Fairgrounds Road other than to say I really love this section of trail.



Heading through the new Fairgrounds section I managed to tag onto the tail end of Stephen Clark and one of the teenagers.  If my memory is correct, I passed one of the teenagers in this section.  As we crossed Oregon Street into the field Steve and I latched on to another kid.  I was definitely feeling it by this point.  I had the slightest bit of a side ache.  Steve pulled around the kid and made a gap.  I didn't feel like had the extra energy to make the pass and stick with Steve so I followed the kid.

Through this section Greg Atkinson closed down the gap behind and we were a triplet heading through the second new section into Zillmer.  I prefer to lead in the technical stuff as it makes finding your footing easier.  I managed to not trip and face plant through the rocks.



Coming out of Zillmer the kid swung wide to grab some water and I kept on going, now leading.  Greg was securely latched on behind me and I tried to give it a little something extra on the first downhill into the Mindy Creek section.  I almost went off the trail.  I tried a little something extra coming up from the creek as well.  Greg was still there.  I told him over my shoulder that he should grunt if he wanted to go by.  He said he was having some trouble breathing due to allergies and was just fine where he was.  This gave me a chance, because I think on a normal day, I'd be the one chasing Greg.

Anyway, on down Mindy Creek, through Wert, over into Lions park and then north from there.  It was fun to cheer on the runners coming back.  I forgot to count so I wasn't quite sure where I was.  I thought ninth, but I could have been wrong.  All through here Greg was still right on my tail.

Heading back through Lions Park and up onto Hamilton, all the trail running was done.  All we had left was roughly a mile drag race to the finish.  I decided I was going to try racing a little tactically at this point since I doubted I could catch anyone ahead of us.  I took it steady up the short incline to Hamilton and around the slight corner to the long straight away and then I surged a little bit.  Probably for only 10 or 15 seconds and maybe only 10-15 seconds/mile faster than I had been running.

It didn't work.  Greg was still there.  I recovered for a minute or so and then did it again.  I held it a little longer this time.  It sounded like I had made a small gap this time.  Then with about half a mile to go I gave it one more extra effort and held on.  This one finally did it.  I held on and even had enough for a nice little kick at the end, though it wasn't necessary.



Greg came in about 20 seconds later and we shook hands and chatted for a while about a great race.  I look forward to racing with Greg again.  I think him and Keith Velaski and I could have some pretty epic battles in the coming Sasquatch Dashes.

Summary

In the end I was ninth overall and second in the M30-39 age group.  It was a fun race, great course, and an awesome community.  I'm pretty pleased with my effort on the day.  I said I was not feeling it before the start, but might when the race was on.  I definitely felt pretty good once I was running.

Mullin's What's Next

No racing this weekend.  Scout camp with my boy instead.  Saturday 6/27 though is the next edition of the Sasquatch.  Then that Sunday we are signed up to race the Cuyuna MTB race.  Should be a blast.

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