Allerton Park Trail Race

My goals for the 2010 Allerton Park Trail Race were #1: not finish behind anyone in costume and #2 beat my time from 2007.  While I achieved goal #2, I’m not sure about goal #1.

This race was not an A race but one I had focused on since my Ironman.  While I had good intentions my training did not match my desire.  However, I did put in more effort than usual for the this time of year for this race. 

The temperature was cool enough for shorts, short sleeves, and gloves.  Most people were decked out in tights and long sleeves.  The sun was shining and it was actually a great day for a run.  A few things I forgot about this race.  The funneling down to single track so fast with little opportunity to pass runners at the start.  I actually was stuck behind 2 people in costume through the grove.  The only way to pass in the grove is to get caned by branches as you pass.  I also forgot about the set of stairs you have to climb early in the race (shortly after obtaining a rhythm).  Lastly I forgot about the hills.  It was actually quite hilly this year.

After about a mile I got into a rhythm and paced myself off another runner.  Fast enough to maintain speed and heavy breathing but slow enough to allow for extra speed toward the end.  Once I felt he was slowing I passed him and started to weave my way through the crowd.  By the time I hit mile 3 it was pretty strung out and I wouldn’t pass another runner.

The squishy ground and hills toward the end put me back in the hurt locker.  The grassy field didn’t come soon enough.  The final nail in the coffin was the last 100 yards; uphill, in wet grass, and into the wind.  I stopped the clock at 39:22.  This put me almost 2 minutes faster than 2007.  However, it left me with 4th in my age group, almost 4 minutes behind 3rd place.  I finished 31st overall. Yes, there were quality runners that came over from Champaign.

A tough, quality race and one worthy of attending next year.  Springfield needs a trail race…….