The Buckeye Classic is a 10K trail race that I stumbled across a few weeks ago and decided to sign up for. I love 10Ks, probably my favorite to race and I wish that Columbus had more of them. We either have a ton of 5Ks in the spring/summer or they are halfs. In the summer when my mileage is higher, I don’t want to sacrifice a long run for a 5K race. In the winter when my mileage is lower and it’s a lot colder, running 5ks and four milers are perfect! You get to race and you’re not out in the cold very long.
10Ks are great for summer, fall, and early winter racing! Please Columbus, put on more 10Ks!
Anyway, I saw this race was a trail race and decided to go for it. Then for some reason I got it stuck in my head that it was going to be all paved trail running.
Rest assured that it was in fact NOT all paved. In fact the paved parts were few and far between. This was a hardcore trail race. I say hardcore because to me it was hardcore. I don’t run on trails, like, at all. I run in my neighborhood so running through the woods, over bridges, down and up steep-ass hills is pretty intense for me.
And that’s how trail racing is, intense! If you have the chance to run one I highly recommend giving it a try! We can talk more about trail runs in another post though, let’s get to the recap!
Would you believe that Scott and I were another hot mess for this race? It’s like we’ve lost all racing sensibilities! We wanted to leave by 8am because the race started at 9am and the course was about 1/2 an hour away to the north. I wanted to have plenty of time to hit the restroom and then try and meetup with my Twitter Friend, Jess. We’ve been trying to meet for ages and our schedules just were not syncing up. Finally we realized we were both running this race and set out plans to meet before the race started.
Well Scott and I didn’t leave at 8am though it was close. We got just down the road from the house when I realized that I forgot my bib! Yikes! So we had to turn around and get that. On the way back to the house, Scott realized we forgot the chocolate soymilk for after the race. We were off to a great start.
We made it to the park and were directed on where to park the car. We had a good walk ahead of us it seemed and thankfully we passed some restrooms on the way. We each made a quick stop and then kept on walking. Scott asked if we should run and I said we should be fine. Coming up to an intersection where the park ranger was directing traffic, we asked how far away the start was and she said about a mile down the road.
So yeah we ran to the start. I made it to the start with two minutes to spare. Quick kisses to Scott and I started working my way through the crowd so I could inch my way up to the front.
As I was moving through the crowd, I heard my name and turned to find Jess! Yeah! We found each other after all! We chatted and then it was time to get moving. This was a small race, 550 people but I still wanted to work my way through the crowd and break free a bit.
I took off and started running in the grass passing everyone that I could. If you click on the picture you’ll see lil’ old me on the far right side.
Scott and I weren’t sure if we would see each other until the end because the course map was a little unclear about that. However I saw him again right away, maybe a mile in?
I was surprised to see Scott so soon! And then this is when the race got hard. We headed deep into the woods and we got there by going up.
I blew on by Scott not realizing what was ahead of me.
A huge hill. We crossed a bridge and started the climb to the top which you can’t see at all from this picture but trust me it was big. It was at this point that I realized I got myself into a very challenging race. I also told myself that I should have had a bigger pre-race snack to help through this course.
The course took us all over the place and there were lots of hills along the way. Some big and some small. The small ones were rolling, you’d go up, then down, then back up again.
At one point during the race we came along some steps. Yikes! This was after going up and then down a rather large hill. Steps?! I took those slowly and I’m proud to say that was the only time I was going at like a walking pace.
The one big downside to this race is that there were no mile markers at all until you got to the three mile point and someone was there directing the runners. This was because we were at a crossover so runners were both coming and going. Admittedly running past runners who already covered the area you’re about to head into can be a tad of a motivational killer. You just have to suck it up and keep going.
Once I reached that crossover point again, there was a guy standing there telling us we just reached 4 miles and I knew that couldn’t be right. The area we just covered was LONG and I knew we ran more than a mile! I asked a runner behind me if I heard that guy right and she said that he was wrong and we were at about 4.5 miles.
I still felt like we had been running longer! At the finish Scott said that point was just shy of the five mile mark. Aha! I knew it!
That area finished with us coming down a huge hill and I heard the music from the start area so I thought we were close to finishing. I knew I was going to see Scott again and I was ready to knock this race out and be done.
Coming down that hill felt amazing so I was giving it my all!
Then I spotted Scott! YaY! If you compare this picture to the first one of me waving, you can tell that in this one I’m tired. Ha! I was ready to be done running the trails!
Little did I know that I wasn’t done nor was I close to being done.
You know how much of a buzz kill that is? We had like another 1.5 miles to go before we were done.
Yes that’s right! At least it was all flat and mostly paved but still dang.
The finish shoot was right in front of me and I gave it everything that I had left in me. I saw Scott on the side but just blew past him. The only thing on my mind was finishing strong!
Hooray the finish line! I was so happy to be done!
After I was done the first thing I did was look for Scott. Since I saw him on the side, I knew he was close by. Then I remembered to get my medal!
I loved everything about this race. Yes it was hard but that is exactly what I loved about it. I felt amazing when I was done, totally had a runner’s high which I don’t get at all unless I do sprints. The downside is that there are no mile markers so you can start to wonder if you’ll ever make the finish. I think with a GPS device though that would be helpful or running it with a buddy.
It was chilly so it was perfect trail running weather because tackling all those hills works up a sweat!
It worked out that I had to run about a mile to the start because it helped warmed my legs up. Had I started with no warm-up, I think I would have struggled more with those hills.
I went into this race with zero expectations other than to have a good time. I didn’t care what my pace was because it’s a trail race which I’m not used to running therefore my pace is already going to be off. Going into a race expecting nothing is like being free of constraints. You don’t have anything weighing over your head and you aren’t constantly checking your watch to determine your pace. You are just running for the pure joy of running and having a great experience.
I think I might start approaching all my races this way from now on. I have a much better time!
I would race this again in a heartbeat and I’m already trying to recruit others. Wanna run it with me next year? If you say yes, I’ll hold you to it!