by Danielle Triffitt –
This morning, I woke up not quite knowing how today’s race would turn out. I stretched and rolled as much as I could and while the hip felt much better than earlier in the week, I was still a bit worried that it would act up out in the woods and cause an issue. To say I went into the race without much plan other than to not sabotage my Stonecat training pretty much sums it up. I didn’t even do a warm-up.
I started off near Jamie and Sean, which seemed ambitious, but Jamie was planning to start out slow and ramp it up as the run went along, and I figured Sean would be a good rabbit, as he’s been beating me all season in these races. Turns out I got onto the singletrack ahead of them both, but they caught up not long after I turned into the Island Trail.
We all ran together, both of them saying I was running a fine pace for the moment. As soon as we got out of the twisty Island Trail, Jamie was off like a shot. Sean stayed behind me, content for the time being. Luckily, the large crowd had thinned out nicely, and even just a few miles in, there wasn’t much jockeying for position, just moving forward. Sean and I chatted on and off as we ran along, and it was nice to have him behind me – kept me moving, although with all the mud and puddles, I certainly wasn’t moving gracefully 🙂
I was feeling good. The hip wasn’t an issue at the moment, and I felt like I was pushing without going nuts. Somewhere around 5 miles, Sean fell behind. And then since I was feeling good, I just decided to go for it. What did I have to lose? I hit the Snowmobile Trail hard, passing at least 4 or 5 people on the climb, and as I neared the Fox West turn off, I realized I could see the woman in green who had passed me way back at the beginning, before the Island Trail – she was just ahead. I passed her back somewhere in the singletrack area, and then since I didn’t want her to pass me back, I just kept pushing.
When I got to the last aid station, Jeremy and Zak kidded me that Ryan was just ahead, but I was too smart to believe them! Ryan might not have been feeling great, but I was sure he was far ahead. (Turns out he was too, beating me by 13 minutes. Nice!) I pushed up that darn hill on the Knights Woods Trail and then, into the “O.” I really am not an “O” fan. Too twisty without much space to get into a rhythm. But I had a carrot ahead. I caught him. Then someone caught me. I caught him back. Ended up passing 3 people in the “O,” which I’m going to consider an achievement 🙂 Darn the “O”! Then hurray, the wall, the wall! Only the final stretch to go. Finished in 1:58:17, in 50th place. I felt satisfied with my effort, which wasn’t all out, but which ended up having more umph than I thought it would.
That being said, this whole series hasn’t been the best for me. 2011 was just so awesome. I was fast that year! Last year was a bit of a bust with the whole stress fracture/reaction thing, and I was so hopeful that I could at the very least better those times this year. But I didn’t, not during any of the races. *Sigh* It’s never fun to feel like you’re getting old and slow 🙂 Can’t quite put my finger on why. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t have that fire, that drive, like I did in 2011? I haven’t felt really into any of the races this year, although that doesn’t stop me from wanting to do well. Am I just a bit burnt out on racing at Bradbury, as much as I think the series is awesome? Or that I’ve just been running a lot more slow miles this year and have done no speed work at all? Well, whatever the case, it is what it is, and let’s face it – in the end, I’m still proud to be a owner of a very cool Badass hoodie 🙂
Many, many thanks to Ian and Ryan for the countless hours they put into putting on the Bradbury series! And to all the volunteers who do the same. It is an awesome trail running community that we are part of, and it is always fun to catch up with running friends before, after and during the races!