Race Report: 2014 Dirty Feet 21 km #1

Ok, so before I get into my race report from the weekend I feel like it’s my duty to share with you the pictures from behind my fridge and stove. Here is the state ours was in after 1.5 years without being cleaned… Yes that is a little candy coke bottle in the left hand photo. HA!

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Consider that your PSA for the day 😉

Anyways, moving on to my race report from the 21 km trail race I did on Sunday morning! Something that was really cool about this race is I did the exact same race last year so I spent some time last night looking at all these cool graphs and charts that RunningAhead created for me to compare my training.

March 2013:

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March 2014:

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What a difference, hey? As you can see I obviously did a lot more training last year but I actually felt stronger physically this year. Thank you strength training! In fact, if the conditions of the trails hadn’t been much worse this year (very mucky and muddy) I think I would have beat my previous time.

It was a beautiful sunshine-y morning on Sunday, which far exceeded the blustery blizzardy day we’d had on Saturday! But thanks to snow on Saturday and Saturday evening there was a fresh dusting on the trails, which soon melted and turned to mud.

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So right from the beginning my friend Sam, who is training for the Vancouver marathon and had already ran 11 km that morning to get a 32 km long run in, decided to run easy with me. Sam is a very strong and fast runner so she easily could have finished this race much faster than me. I was so grateful she decided to stick with me so we could chat away the whole race. There is nothing better than running a trail race with a friend!

We started out at a decent pace running the 5 km loop, which is a pretty flat loop and I would consider it all “runnable”. Unfortunately because of the mud and muck it was not all runnable on Sunday!

Mile 1 – 10:34, Mile 2 – 12:18, Mile 3 – 12:31

After the 5 km loop comes the biggest hill of the race. This hill is very steep and a tough one. My hamstrings and butt were killing me by the time we reached the top!

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Mile 4 – 17:48, Mile 5 – 10:35, Mile 6 – 9:46, Mile 7 – 13:49

After we peaked the major hill we had a lot of downhill as you can see by the elevation map above. Unfortunately due to the mud and slippery snow we really had to watch our footing so couldn’t rip down the hill and make up time like we would have liked. Whenever we hit a dry spot though we would pick up the speed as much as possible and we were definitely flying in a few spots.

Through all of it it was so great to have someone to swear and curse at the hills and mud with!

Mile 8 – 15:05, Mile 9 – 14:50, Mile 10 – 9:32

They switched up the course this year so you did the 5 km loop, two hills back to back and then the 5 km loop again to finish it off. Last year you did that second big hill right at the end. I much, much preferred this years course! It was nice to get the two big hills over with and finish it off with the flatter 5 km.

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This was what the trails looked like for the vast majority of the race. Very mucky, muddy and slippery. You had to hike it to avoid a possible twisted ankle and the sides of my hips were killing me by the end from the slipping and sliding. The conditions were very tough.

When we came in towards the last 5 km of the course I plugged my music in and told Sam to let it rip for the last 5 km and I would try to keep up but she shouldn’t wait for me. I always had her in my sights but there was awhile where she was very far ahead of me! I just kept chasing her even though I was getting pretty tired of running by that point.

Unfortunately poor Sam ended up twisting her ankle so I caught up to her with about 2 km left to go. We decided we started the race together and we would finish it together! So we ran in together for the last couple of km and even linked arms as we made our way across the finish line side by side.

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Big smiles at the end of that race? I’ll take that as a big win in my books!

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Mile 11 – 11:27, Mile 12 – 12:18, Mile 12 – 12.4 – 13:30

Final Garmin Stats: 

12.4 miles / 20 km – 2:35:57 – 12:35/mile pace / 7:49/km pace – 1540 feet of elevation gain 

The course change did end up cutting off a bit of the course so I’ve heard a rumour they are adding more hills next year to make up for that. Greaattttt!

Despite the crappy trail conditions it was a really great way to start off the 2014 racing season. There really is nothing better than running on the trails with a good friend. Laughing and chatting and having a good time! Big thanks to Sam for running with me!

Our other friend, Carmine, who is also training for the Vancouver marathon completely killed this race in 2:24! It’s been amazing seeing how far Carmine has come over the last year. Last year I had to practically force her to bump her registration from the 5 km to the 10 km at this same race and this year she killed the 21 km course. So proud of her!

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What this also showed me is my body can and does thrive on less mileage and more cross training. I specifically remember my lower back killing me during this race last year (probably because of the two steep climbs) and this year it barely bothered me at all. I definitely had a couple of low points in this race (thank god for Sam helping me out of them) but overall I felt really good physically. And yet again I have recovered extremely quickly with just a bit of soreness on Monday and no soreness left yesterday!

My next big race is a 25 km trail race on May 4 (another Dirty Feet race!) I will be increasing my mileage a bit over the next month to prepare for it but overall I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing! Oh and I’m also doing a road 10 km on April 27 which I may try to run hard and see what I can do in terms of a time. I haven’t done a hard road 10 km race since 2011.

When is your first race of the year? If you’ve already ran it how did it go? Have you ever ran the same race two years in a row so you can compare your results? 

9 Responses

  1. Way to go! You did so well on this race. And it’s super interesting how less running + more strength training had you equally prepared for the race. I am actually a huge proponent of lower mileage training because that is what worked super well for me when i joined my running club. I used to run 5 days a week when I trained on my own but dropped it down to 3 when I joined the club. I didn’t do strength training and did other cross training stuff, but I would have benefited from doing more ST, I think. So now that is something I will try to incorporate in the future.

    I did my first race a couple of weeks ago. It was just a 4 miler but it went super well and I was shocked by my pace as it was consistently around 8:30 and I NEVER run that race for 4 straight miles when running during the week. My next race is a 10k on 4/12 which I am excited for. My goal for that race will be to maintain a 9 min mile pace.

  2. Caroline says:

    Awesome job! I can’t imagine running in that mud for 12 miles. Trail running seems so awesome but hard!
    I am a total running buddy convert after doing all my long runs this winter with my roommate. I feel spoiled! I was planning to run a 5 mile race next Sunday but I don’t even know if I want to do it alone anymore haha

  3. Leigh says:

    Congratulations on a great race in gross conditions! I just ran my first race of the year on Saturday and it went well. I don’t have another race until the end of April

  4. phil says:

    Awesome race report Amber, Great to read about your experience in our race. Can’t wait to see what you have to say about our 25km race in May. It’s a good one!!! Happy training and I suggest lots of hill work for may.

  5. Heather says:

    Wow. Thank you for making me want to think about under our fridge. Who knows what “treasures” we will find when we move that and the oven.

    The conditions look so yucky, but way to finish strong and start this year off right!

    My first race is a 5k April 19. So very pumped to be back into running!

  6. Kelly says:

    I love that you felt stronger physically even with less running 🙂 That’s great! I also love running buddies. I basically won’t do a race alone anymore, I don’t care if it makes me slower- it’s just so much more fun and really what is the point of waking up early on a weekend to exercise if not to have fun?

  7. Marisa says:

    Yay! See I told you your strength training would see you through. It’s really amazing how much stronger it makes you as a runner. I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I so wish I lived near the mountains I would love to have those views when I run!

  8. Sherry Sim says:

    Congratulations on a great race but better still glad listening to your body is paying off…more is not always better and it’s a mix of strength, running and hill traning that will kick those hills in May!!! Always a great race with Dirty Feet!

  9. […] Right after we crossed the finish line! You might recognize Sam from the last half-marathon we ran together on the trail. […]

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