Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hoppin' Down the Bunny Trail

My second race in my self-imposed 4 race series was another fun one: a 5k cross country (XC) race  hosted by the River City Rebels at Granite Regional Park.  This was only the second cross country (XC) race I've run in my life, and it went sooooo much better than the last one.  My intro to XC, some of you may recall, was at XC Nationals in 2010.  I not only completely fell apart at that race (because I was overtrained) but I also messed up my foot wearing ill fitting (borrowed) XC flats.  It was after that race that my achilles flared up, and I was out of training for a couple of months.

So, I was a bit nervous about how I might do heading into this race.  Was I just bad at cross country racing?  The main reason I wanted to do this race was to work on my strength.  I wanted a chance to run hard without worrying about mile splits and just focus on competing.  I got that and a whole lot more!

We had a great contingent of speedy Impalas for the race, which was awesome.  We warmed up on the course, running the whole thing which gave us a nice preview.  There were some good hills on the course and a lot of turns as you can see from the map below.  The footing was tricky and I worried for a millisecond about spraining an ankle.  I bought some real XC shoes for this race and, of course, hadn't had a chance to test them out.  Not the smartest thing, but they were brilliant.

5k Granite Park XC Course.

Elevation Profile for the course (from my Garmin, so take it for what it's worth).
I knew from watching XC races that the pack goes out hard, so I was ready for that.  Luckily, we didn't go out outrageously fast because there was a nice big hill to greet us within the first 400m.  We got strung out pretty fast on the first downhill and then bunched up a bit in the winding trails during the first mile.  I felt strong going through the first mile, like a deer bopping along through the forest, trying to keep a firm footing.  I focused on staying strong in the second mile where the course had the biggest climb.  I gained a little on that uphill, passing a few ladies.  I knew I was in a good position with two masters runners ahead of me and everyone else fairly far behind me.  I just focused on maintaining my effort.

I knew that I had a major hill to conquer before swooping down to the finish and I am happy with how I handled the last hill.  I was also very pleased with how I handled the heat on the course.  I heard a lot of folks complaining about it, and I honestly never felt hot.  Of course, that's what running in 80-90 degree temperatures every day will do for you.  I crested the hill and saw the downhill finish and was surprised to see 18:14 on the clock a few seconds before I crossed the line.  I looked at my Garmin and the course read 3.14 miles, so it was pretty darn accurate.  It was awesome to run that fast and strong on that winding, hilly course.      

I was not at all interested in my splits during the race and never looked at my watch.  However, I took my splits for future reference.  I'm glad I did because they indicate how well I raced this course today.  I went through the first mile in 5:47, the second in 6:06, and the last in 5:50 with a :38 second last 0.11 miles.  I don't know my official time or place since results won't be out for a while, but my watch showed 18:21 Update: official time was 18:19, 6th overall).  Thrilled!   

Congrats to all of my teammates for some fantastic performances out there and thanks to the Rebels for hosting a fun XC race!  I see more XC in my future!



  1. Nice job out there, Jaymee! I looked for you after the race to get your picture, but you were hiding somewhere.

  2. Bummer. You took some nice shots out there. Congrats, John, on your 7k PR!

  3. That's another nice race Jaymee. I like the "just focus on competing" mindset, rather than having a goal of running a particular time. And you did a good time anyway. No way is that a fast course, and you ran 18:19 - well done!

  4. Thanks Mark and Ewen. It was so nice to just think about maintaining an effort level and then get a fast time to boot. I have two more shots at a fast 5k, so we'll see about trying the same strategy for one of those.