Should Traci and I feel guilty that we apparently placed higher than we deserved at the Waterfall 10K?
This was the topic of yesterday’s run. According to the results, emailed out on Sunday, our times — 1:04:33 and 1:04:34 — were, stunningly, good enough for third overall female (me) and first in women’s masters (Traci).
As I mentioned in my original post, while those times were in line with what we’d normally expect for a 10K, they seemed a bit too much to hope for on such a tough course. We both felt like we must’ve missed a turn somewhere in the wet n’ wild second half of the race. Then again, just about everybody we talked to afterward was wondering pretty much the same thing. Did anybody — other than Traci and I and a guy who accompanied us the last couple of miles — take the exact same route through the woods?
And did it really matter, considering this is still a fairly new race, the 10K was added just this year, and a big storm blew through the night before, making it difficult to get the trail marked in time?
In my mind, the spirit of this race was pretty well summed up in the pre-race instructions before the start of the 2011 5K: “If you get lost, just run for 20 minutes and come back.”
Trail running feels like an adventure that can’t be fully measured by a stopwatch. This run, in particular, feels like a celebration of a beautiful nature preserve and a runner’s reunion as much as, if not more than, a competition. Though we wondered about our times, it never occurred to us that we might actually be finishing higher up in the pack than usual. Because you couldn’t really see more than an occasional glimpse of the other runners, it was hard to get a bead on the rest of the field.
I’ll e-mail the race director and see if they want to make any adjustments. Either way, I’m planning to go back next year for a reality check. (And next time, I’m gonna slide down those muddy trails like a kid going down a playground slide rather than fretting over keeping my footing!)
The way I see it, it’s kinda fun to be in on the ground floor of a still-evolving race even when it experiences those inevitable growing pains. And in the meantime, I don’t feel nearly as bad as my nephew should — for sleeping through the Loon Lake 5.5K and then winding up in the official results after his dad ran/walked the course with Mason’s race bib inadvertently stuffed in his pocket.