With all the rain we've had over the past 2 weeks, I had my doubts about how this race was going to go off. I kept flashing back to photos from the Tour de Bayou where the runners were bounding through calf-deep water without missing a stride. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on whether or not you're a "real" trail runner, the two days before the race helped to dry out the course with the exception of a just couple of muddy bogs.
One of my goals for 2007 was to PR at ALL previous race distances. Since the number 6.3K trail runs doesn't seem to be growing, I knew this may be my once chance to stay on target with this goal. The last and only time I ran the Buffalo Wallow was Spring of 2005 and my time was 52:04. This was the last event I ran before the pain in my ankle became too unbearable to run on and I had to have surgery later that year.
Strategy for the race was to hold a slightly easier than 5K effort, walking up the hills to save my energy, going perpendicular on the down side, and to pushing it on the second half of each of the 3 loops. The hills were mostly on the first part of the course and were short and quite steep. My plan for the few muddy parts of the course was to throw caution (and cleanliness) to the wind and just go straight through it like it wasn't even there.
It's kind of disconcerting when you're in a race and already breathing hard after just 5 minutes. The hills were tough from even the get go but the flat parts on the second half of the loop provided much needed recovery. I told Erin after the race that the course was tough but I really felt at home running on the flat portion up along Allen Parkway. I'm still learning, too, how to pace myself for various distances and venues. I'd like to get to where I don't leave anything out there on the course. I don't want to burn out too early but waiting until the last .5 mile to pour it on isn't the way to do it either. I think I ran this race well, right on that edge between burning out too early and being too conservative.
Oh, my time. Well, I ended up with a finishing time of 48:57, a 3:07 PR. I'll take it. Take it? I'm thrilled. Mission WAY accomplished!!!
Congratualtions to the Houston Harriers for putting on a very fun event. The chip timing was new this year, even without an increase in cost. This is the best $10 race I've ever done. Of course, the Striders were out in force, despite this not being one of the Strider "biggies." The weather made for much frivolity and trash talking after the race. Overall, an awesome day in the mud.