Kinda odd to be writing this now, as it seems like ages ago and we're around 4000 or so miles away from Valley Green, but Helen and I both raced the Wissahickon Trail Classic on Saturday.
Overall, a good race for both of us. I finished something like 28th overall, out of around 400 finishers. Now that I write that out, it's pretty impressive. I've come a long way. That said, if there's any race I should do well in, it's this one – my home course, we've been running the specific trails for the last several Saturdays and Thursdays, I knew more detail about the course than I ever have. And it's a trail race, which I think I do much better in than road races.
Helen is still more focused on the road races, or at least more comfortable on them, but if there's any trail race she should do well in it's this one – again, home course advantage. And she kicked some butt, too – finishing as the 2nd woman, 31st overall finisher, winning a Sunday brunch at Manayunk Brew Pub, and generally being impressive. It's true that she didn't win, as she did at Charliehorse. The one woman who beat her was from the Philly Runners Track Club, and was quite impressive. I was leapfrogging positions with her at around mile 5 before she pulled away, but even then it seemed like she had another gear if necessary. Helen finished around a minute and a half faster than last year, despite a harder course.
And it was a hard course. I can't say harder, as I didn't do the race last year, but it was tough, that's for sure. Up Pain Hill (I'm assuming it's spelled that way), down to forbidden, up the Lavender trail, up through the Meadows. Probably around 7 miles, very little of it flat. I tried out my positive splitting theory. And it seems accurate. I was pretty spent pretty early on, but I didn't lose many places; by the time I got down to forbidden at around mile 3 I was spent, but I didn't have to worry about any bottlenecks. It's just a bit less fun for me, racing that way; I much preferred the feeling at Caesar Rodney, when I could start off easy and then just really pick people off in the 2nd half. But in trail running, I'm not sure that's an option.
It was good, too, to be doing a race where I knew so many people there. Even some people I know that I don't know through running showed up there.
So, overall a fun race. I guess this isn't really a race report, per se – but the details would be kind of repetitive – I went up, it was hard, I went down, it was exciting, then up again… oh and it was way too hot. But anway… congrats to Helen, congrats to all the other finishers. More updates coming soon, from the Best Trail Run ever, which turns out to have just happened today!