One down, two gone, and I've got a problem

One down:

The Wild in the Woods 5-Mile at Broemmelsiek Park was a great race.  St. Charles County Parks puts on a well-run series, and I'm really hoping to make it to all of them next year (October's Klondike Park race was part of the series also).  Vanessa and I headed towards St. Charles around 7 a.m. this morning, leaving us plenty of time to get lost (you know, just in case) as well as coffee and still be there by the 9 a.m. start time.  We threw our bikes in the car, too, because we were planning to ride with our friend Lori after the race.

Photo credit: Lori Vohsen
Shivering pre-race with Krystal and Vanessa
It was a chilly (36) and start to the day, and right now we're in that part of fall where dressing is really tricky.  Is it going to stay cold or warm up? How fast will it warm up? You know the drill.  I settled on shorts, a long-sleeved tech tshirt, and knee socks.  I always have to have my ears covered when it's cold, too, or they hurt like crazy.  I got my warmup in with a quick jog to the extra bathroom the rangers opened up (thank you thank you thank you!), and before we knew it, start time had arrived.

Photo credit: Lori Vohsen
The race started on the paved park road, moved onto a maintenance trail, and then into field trails and finally to the singletrack. 

Another great picture by Lori

I went out a little too fast in the beginning, which meant I was hurting by the end of the first mile, but this was more or less a training run where I was wanting to push myself and see what I had.  For about the first half of the race, the trail wasn't too technical, just a few rocks and some roots, but nothing all that tricky.  That left me able to actually look around me. 

Since I rode at Broemmelsiek in my first mountain bike race, I'm semi-familiar with the park, but it's a whole different view running than riding as a newer rider.  There were several sections where I saw views I have no memory of from this summer.  I think I was just so focused on the trail then that I missed everything around me. :)  Of course, a lot of leaves are down now, too, so there's a pretty unobstructed view.  I had to retie my shoe during the second mile (when will I learn to make sure they're double knotted?), and then I walked up part of a hill during the third mile (total failure of will...I know I could have made it up the hill and kept running).  Otherwise I ran the whole thing.

As the trail got more technical, I had to pay less attention to the view and more attention to where my feet were going.  The whole time I was running, though, I was thinking about lines I'd take on my bike.  I'm pretty sure that now I'd be able to ride the couple of sections that gave me trouble in the bike race.  I had lots of time to think because, unlike Klondike when I ran with my friends, this time I was running for myself and spent a surprising amount of the race completely alone...the trails in front of and behind me empty.  Weird. 

Hurting towards the end.  I think I had just told Lori, "This is a lot more fun on a mountain bike!"
I was passed several times during the second half of the race, one couple passing me right at mile 4, and I was determined that nobody else was going to pass me before the finish.  I also really wanted to walk, but I wasn't letting myself walk with only a mile (less than a mile now! You can do it...) left in the race.  I could see a guy in an orange shirt out of the corner of my eye, so my goal became staying ahead of him.  I heard him closing in as I came through the last creek crossing (they were all dry enough to jump over), but a quick sideways glance showed that he was far enough back.  Still, I really pushed coming into the chute...and some other guy passed me right at the end! Never saw him coming. 

Oh, well.  I finished in 50:57, so a 10:11 pace over 5 miles.  Once again, I was in the bottom half of finishers, but I was 4th in my AG...out of 4. :)  I was about 6 minutes out of third, so there were some strong runners out there ahead of me.  Overall, I'm pretty happy with that pace on trails, though I'm hoping to keep improving on it.

Two gone:

I just posted my list of upcoming fun, and I've already had to mark two items off.  Today's mountain bike ride didn't happen because the trails were closed to bikes due to wet conditions, and the orienteering meet on the 26th conflicts with my family's Thanksgiving celebration.  I'd like to go, but not enough to miss out on our family party.

I've got a problem:

Since I couldn't ride my bike after the race, that left me free to go check out the cyclocross race my tri club helped to sponsor today.  I have friends who race CX, but I've never actually gotten to watch more than some short videos.  I begged convinced my husband and son to come watch with me, kind of thinking that J might take an interest in the race since he'd be able to see so much of it.

Halloween & Cycloscross 034
Photo credit: Keith Timmins
Several of my friends from the club were there spectating and volunteering, so it was great to get to hang out with them and introduce them to Jeff.  Jeff and J spent quite a bit of time playing catch with a football, and J made a new friend.  He did watch some of the races and thought it was really cool to see the riders jump the barriers or dismount and carry their bikes over the bigger ones.  During the men's open/40+ master's race, J and his buddy were remarking on how far back one of the riders was, and it gave me a chance to talk about how great I thought it was that he was out there.  "You know, seeing somebody who's that far back means that he's out there taking a risk and doing something that's hard for him.  That's pretty brave...and pretty cool."  Hopefully they got the message...and maybe they'll be the ones spreading it next time I'm bringing up the rear in a race.

Halloween & Cycloscross 039
Photo credit: Keith Timmins
Neither of my guys was all that excited about the race, but I thought it looked like a blast (well, the kind that's fun once you're finished and know you aren't going to die of a heart attack right there in front of everyone).  Tight, twisty turns, barriers to jump or to dismount and lift your bike over, numerous laps on a hilly course...basically all of my weak spots of course I want to try it.

Halloween & Cycloscross 050
Photo credit: Keith Timmins
You can see part of the course staked and roped off in the background
Now I'm wondering how quickly I can accumulate some money for a cross bike once I'm finished paying off my road bike.  And if there's any way to sneak another bike into the garage without my husband realizing that would make four bikes in my stable (to be fair, I'm only keeping one of them for him).  And if, indeed, I'll ever reach the limits of my athletic stupidity. :)


  1. Figuring out what to wear in colder weather races is the bane of my existence.
    I LOVE that picture of the racers in the fog at the start. Awesome!
    Who cares if you were 4 out of 4? You were out there doing it and not sitting on your can at home!
    I love your philosophy of the guy in the back in the race. That is so true and it is great that you recognized it. A great idea to plant in your son's head. I feel I am doing a public service for my students when they see how happy I am about my races and I didn't even win!
    I never even heard of this type of race.

  2. Thank you for sharing! These pics make me feel like I was there! Now, I need to go lay down and drink some water....

  3. Great report Kate, I had planned to try a cyclocross race a few sundays ago, but then the day before the race, that rock took out my tailbone. I plan on trying one next year. So I will go with you and I will for sure be last, so you will beat me.

  4. We're racing cyclocross next year!

    Work on cornering and climbing. Similar skills to mountain biking but faster.

  5. That cyclocross freaks me out! I think there is no way I wouldn't fall and break something. It looks like a blast to watch though!

  6. Sounds like you had a tough but well run trail race! That's about as fast as I could ever go on a trail so you have my respect!

  7. 1) Congrats on the race!
    2) I've always wanted to try a cyclecross race. But I need a bike. Want to send me one?

  8. Nice job on the trail race, Chica - that's a great time and I love your strength and determination not to let anyone pass ya at the end. Except that one guy...but we'll just pretend he wasn't there.

    I bet if you signed up for Leadville, it may test your athletic limits...wouldn't it be cool to at least find out?? :)

  9. I LOVE that third picture. VERY COOL!

  10. Great pictures!! And great race report.

    And if you have a problem, I think it's a good one.

  11. Loved the pictures. You did awesome on this trail run. Now the bike thing is not for me. I'm afraid I would kill myself on it.
    If it something you want to do go for it. I myself would like to find more trail runs, I thoughly enjoyed myself on sat trail run.

  12. Great job on the race! Bummer about not mt. biking. But cool you got to see the cross race. I've only done a couple of cross races, and they hurt like hell. But they're a ton of fun. I need to get a cross bike, too, but it's probably more important to keep my kids fed, huh?

  13. I love your trail run socks. It looks so *cold* out there.

    The bike race looks kind of terrifying.

  14. Yes that pic is amazing! Nice race on a tough course--wow a stable of bikes. How cool is that?

  15. Great pictures of your race, specially like the third one. Looks like a nice crisp morning.

    I've never seen a CX race, but it does look like a lot of scary fun.

  16. Sounds like a great race, Kate! Those trails look so well maintained.

    If it makes your husband feel any better, we've got four bikes in our sunroom and an additional 5 in our basement right now - though we're hoping to unload at least a few of them in the next couple months :)

  17. Nice run Kate, well done! Some lovely photos of the race. That is a great time for a trail race. So Jill tells me you are signing up for Leadville with me...?

  18. What a beautiful place to race!
    Great job, congrats.
    The pictures are wonderful, all of them deserve the header!


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