August 2, 2012

Bolton XC Race

After a month of Connecticut running--with many hills, some mud, and a few falls--I was beginning to feel the urge to race.  Fortunately, Rachel informed me of a fantastic cross country race series a few towns away.  The Bolton summer series involves a challenging 2.2 mile cross country course--on grass and trails in the woods. 

The race consisted of 2 loops, and I wanted to make sure I had energy for the second loop. So, at the start, I ran fast but didn't let myself sprint.  First, we went downhill on grass. Then there was an oh-shit uphill, and I passed one woman on that section. Then there was a gradual uphill and a flat portion where I picked my pace back up.  The second loop began with the fun downhill and not so fun uphill. But then we descended into the woods. I was leaping over roots and rocks and even crossed a platform bridge. I was working to stay close to another woman. After turning around a lovely tree, we had to work our way back up & out of the woods. And then there was another gradual uphill on the grass- where I attempted to close the gap between me & the next group of runners (Alas! I didn't catch them). Once the grassy path became flat, I willed myself to sprint, and a fellow Mansfield Trail Runner cheered for me :> Apparently, I ran the final 0.2 miles at 7:20 pace!! After crossing the finish line, I got that pukey feeling, and that means that I was redlining and pushing myself.

I'm glad that I took the leap and that this Bolton race was my first Connecticut race. The barn was precious and the scenery was so green and expansive. I loved that there were runners of all ages--from speedy teenage boys to older women (rock on!). I also loved that there was plenty of hanging out before & after the race.  The running community continues to impress me with their kindness; I seriously feel welcomed. I hope to pay that forward.

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