When a race is radically different than anything you've ran before, how do you tell if you did well? That's what's been running through my mind since seeing my results of the Fleet Feet Blood Sweat and Beers trail run. I mean, I've done trail runs before, but nothing with this kind of elevation profile. Thankfully, data analysis is what I do.
10:26 pace. Ten... twenty... six. For me, that's awful. I felt good on the run, felt like I accomplished a decent run and decent pace. But mid 10s? I've only done that bad when I bonked hard. So why the bad pace, or was this normal? Fortunately, as a local run by Fleet Feet, there's plenty of opportunity to compare myself to others.
Of the 112 runners I could find that ran both, I was 25th in my Shamrock'n time. For BSB, I was 28th -- pretty consistent. 46 ran faster on Shamrock'n than BSB, 66 slower, so I'm in the majority there. And the average difference was ~10 minutes, so my 1 minute delta is also pretty in-line, in fact, a bit better than expected. So if I use comparative analysis as a measure of success, than I did pretty well. That makes me feel better.
Hills, hills, and more hills. Every racer seemed to complain about the big hill at the end, but take a look at the elevation profile. The end is no different than the entire rest of the race... it's just at mile 10. There are certainly worse runs, but 10-12% grades through a large portion of the course meant that there was a lot of climbing. In fact, at one point, I was jogging behind someone walking up the hill, and realized that I wasn't closing any distance on him. And I'm jogging, why? Yeah, at that point, I started walking some of the worst hills.
The people along the course were very friendly. I ran along side two runners through most of the race, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind, but generally nearby, and got to talk to them quite a bit about the run. I also ran alongside a few other people, and each time, it was great. There was a lot of encouragement to be had, a lot of people enjoying the tough course, and generally a sense, not of race competitiveness, but of social encouragement and engagement. I loved it!
Diane and Tripp, and Robert and Terri came out to see the race, though they missed the start by a few minutes. It was great, though, afterwards having family to see. As well, Micki (former TBF), Paul (from Carmichael Running Club), and a lot of other runners were there at the end to chat with, talk to, and commiserate with over the free beers provided by Hoppy Brewing Company. I mean, the race was named Blood Sweat and Beers, right?