Chase the Sun Trail Run 
Sunday, January 24, 2010, 01:40 PM
Posted by Administrator
After spending my morning driving round trip to Casa Grande and sitting through a 2.5-hour meeting, I was ready to stretch my legs and burn some energy. Luckily, we were pre-registered for that afternoon's first annual Chase the Sun Trail Run, a 10K race organized by the U.S. Orienteering Team and advertised as "a Saturday evening cruise through the trails of Tucson Mountain Park."

The Turnout
Intimate would be a good word to describe this event. With only a few weeks of planning and with the popular Sun Run the following morning, turnout was small, but spirited. Having just a dozen racers makes for a fun, low-key atmosphere with lots of camaraderie. It was great to have fellow Tri Girl, Elaine, there along with a few other familiar faces from Tucson racing.

The Course
Trail runners would call this course flat. Road racers would call it fairly flat with some small dips and a few miles of gradual incline thrown in the middle. Either way, it was a fun trail with a good amount of single track and some of the best views in Tucson. The setting sun lit up the mountains and clouds with the most amazing colors.

The organizers did a great job of marking the course with orange flags denoting turns and occasional orange ribbons to reassure you that you were not lost. And I loved the quiet. It was as if we had the park all to ourselves...although some runners did meet up with crossbow-wielding hunters. I'm all for sharing the trails, but am admittedly less generous when it comes to people carrying deadly weapons.

The Race
At 4:30 p.m., we were given instructions on the trail markings and then sent on our way. The pack (if you can call 12 people a pack) quickly spread out, leaving me toward the back with just one woman close on my tail (not counting the course sweeper). In a race as small as this, I find it unnerving to have someone following so closely. For the first two miles, I wondered, "Does she want to pass or does she like my pace?" When the trail occasionally widened, she opted to stay right behind me and so I finally decided not to worry about it. If she wanted to pass, she would. And, at the 4-mile marker, she did just that and opened up a 30-second or so lead that I never managed to close.

My legs felt pretty crappy, which I attribute to last week's 14-mile trail run, and my arms were tired from the previous day's workout at the gym. So I just tried to keep up a decent pace while being mindful that I'm on a taper for next weekend's half marathon.

With about 1/2-mile to go, Paul came trotting back down the trail - always a welcome sight toward the end of a race! He had finished about 20 minutes before me and was the first racer across the line. I found it amusing that the other Vyriotes would be the last racer across the line. Despite my dismal placing, and considering the terrain and my tired legs, I was quite satisfied with my time of 1:04.

I went straight to the car to put on some more layers as the sun, along with the temperature, was dropping quickly. I then re-joined the group for some hot chocolate, munchies and good conversation. Paul gratefully accepted his winner's prize, a bottle of prickly pear syrup, and we discussed the best way to enjoy it - with vodka or tequila?

This event was a nice change of pace. I hope there is a second annual race and I would highly recommend it.
add comment ( 8 views )   |  0 trackbacks   |  permalink

<< <Back | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | Next> >>