Monday, August 10, 2009

Leesburg 20K Race Report

On Sunday, I ran the Leesburg 20K. In short, it was a very pretty race, and I'm reasonably pleased with how I did, but I'm not sure I'll run it again.

I got up about 5:00, and was out the door just after 5:30. I had "breakfast" (pecans and tea with milk and sugar, my usual morning munchies before a long run) in the car. Parking in Leesburg was easy, as was getting checked in for the race. I had plenty of time to stretch and warm up, but not so much time that I was standing around fidgeting. About 7:20, they got everyone lined up for the start, and at 7:30 (it was 75 degrees), we were off.

The first three miles were really crowded (apparently a few thousand runners on an 8' wide trail will do that), but once the 10K runners turned around, it was quite pleasant, at least in terms of people density. The course itself was really pretty; the WO&D Trail goes through some very scenic rolling hills, but is itself relatively flat since it was graded for railroad. My biggest complaint, course-wise, was the sporadic spacing of water stations. I don't have a GPS watch, but based on my subjective estimates, it seemed like there were a couple water stations within a mile of each other and then a couple of miles between stations. Fortunately, I was carrying my own water (and Luna Moons).

The finish area was well set-up, except for the photographer, who in his effort to get good photos kept nearly getting himself run over. The approach to the finish was uphill with a flat 50 yards or so just before the finish line. I surprised myself by still having the energy to sprint the finish and come in at 2:07 (in 90-degree heat). Post-finish line, there were snacks (fruit, granola bars) and liquids (Gatorade, juice, and water), but apparently they were out of iced towels. At least, I couldn't find any. So I soaked my shirt in ice water instead. I spent some time stretching, hydrating, and watching other people finish before heading home.

Best moments of the race:
  • The prettiest moment was approaching a stone bridge over the trail. It was a little misty, and there was sunlight streaming through the trees. I really wish I had a photo of that bridge. Maybe I'll go back on my bike some time and get one.
  • The most heart-warming moment was just after mile 11, I think. At an intersection between the trail and some road, in addition to the police controlling traffic, there was little girl (somewhere between 10 and 12, I'd guess) giving everybody high-fives. She was a fantastic little morale booster.
  • For me, the best sense of capability and accomplishment was when I surprised myself by sprinting to the finish and beating another woman who, twenty seconds before, I was positive was going to beat me.
Recap: Personally, a good race given the conditions, but trail crowding and so-so race support may keep me from running it again.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you on the crowding. Not fun. What is fun is we were racing at the same time! Too cool! Our start times were the same and since my race was a fourth the length of yours, my finish time was allllmost a fourth the time of yours. Still too cool!