This past Sunday, February 16th marked the first timed event of the season for me, the Run for Regis Fun Run!
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the race. I have been pondering how many years now that I have ran it…I am guessing 5 or 6.
Despite the snowy cold, winter, our Sunday trail run group had a hearty group of faster runners that showed up every week despite the cold. There are several reasons I run this race every year. One, trail running in the winter is beautiful and one of the few things that you can comfortably do one the coldest of days. Two, I think trail running just really is more of a full body workout that really strengthens so many muscles. Three, it provides me the motivation to get out and log lots of miles, even when the weather just makes you want to pull the covers back over your head. And last but not least, every year it seems I have been fortunate to have an awesome group of friends to run the trail miles with an I truly enjoy the many laughs and stories!
In going into the “Fun Run”, of course I wanted to run well, but not only did I want to run well, I wanted to run smart as not to overdo it and jeopardize the season. The Wednesday before Regis I came down with a cold and frankly I was having second thoughts about running so far being sick.
Yet as the day arrived, I was not feeling too bad and was excited to head to the Ledges Shelter to see so many of NE Ohio’s trail runners. There is just such a laid back community feel to this event which I enjoy. The morning kicks off every year with one of the most comical moving talks from race director, Tanya. I really cannot say enough about her and how much I have appreciated all of her efforts over the years. At the same time, lots of other volunteers deserve a lot of credit too! There are no prizes for the fun run , not even for first but every finisher, no matter the distance would get a nice jacket and a SPORK! Score!
I took off in the first wave at 7:30 am leaping and bounding through the deep snowy field. OMG, this field was SO.MUCH.WORK! My first thought, was oh this is going to be a long day! As we hit the trail, conditions improved on this very chilly 10 degree morning. My friend, Ashley, and I chatted and ran along, just as we did most Sundays! I felt good and we were making good time. First loop 41:30.
Headed out onto the second loop and my newly screwed shoes were not feeling great. The lightweight soles were just not thick enough for the screws. Everything was going pretty smooth and we came back through the second loop with a time of 1:17 and a half time of 1:58. Some quick math and I was excited that maybe it would be a quick day. At this point, I switched into my back-up trail shoes.
Yet the snow was falling and it seemed the conditions were getting tougher as the day wore on. I started slowing down on the 3rd loop which took another 49:50 to complete. The hills on the way back just seemed so much bigger the second time around and I don’t think walking them made them any easier.
I had now turned into a frozen ice cycle. I was working up a decent sweat but then the moisture was just freezing on my face and my gloves. Additionally, my eyes were just tearing away much of the morning with the snowflakes hitting them. As we headed out onto the last 8 mi loop, I just could not keep up with Ashley. Maybe it was the hard work in the early miles or maybe my cold, but I just felt like I working harder than I wanted to. Just after mile 23, she went ahead and went on to take first female (Huge props to her)! At this point I think I was a little relieved that now I could just run my own race and not hold her up. I knew there were not too many people ahead of me, but I would be lying to say I was not discouraged that I knew I was slowing down a lot. Finally made it back 1:42 minutes later (25 more minutes longer than the first time…Yikes!).
I was not really feeling like the last loop, but I knew I could keep going so I grabbed a little coke, gatorade and off I went. After all, I couldn’t pull an Eddie! He is one of my fast training partners that we made good fun of for the past year after he signed up for 50k last year, going out like a wild bull waaay out front and then bagging the race at 26 miles after getting passed! If you knew him, you would understand why we must pick on him for this :-)! So, I was just plugging along at a nice steady pace. There was no walking the hills, as at this point the running gate with short steps felt easier and seemed to keep the heart rate a little lower.
Finally made it back across the deep snowy field for the 10th time and crossed the finish line with a time of 5:34. 3rd female, 10th overall. Definitely not one of my faster 50ks, but I think the course was definitely more work than other years. All and all, I was just happy to finish the fun run! I was definitely tired and sore by the end of all that snowy fun! Maybe I would have liked to have run a little better the last 13 miles but I consider this mission accomplished! Another tough 50K done, a whole winter of getting outside and building strength and endurance!