Aug 142011

by Danielle Triffitt – I honestly wasn’t sure what today’s race held for me, given that I’ve been feeling pretty exhausted and in some sort of a little slump the past few weeks. But I spent a little time last night and this morning thinking over and over that I was going to run strong and have a good race, and what do you know? I did!

Sam and I met my parents, Kristen and Morgan at Bradbury around 8:30, and they took over Sam duties so that I could get in a trip to the bathroom and a quick mile warm-up. Then before I knew it, it was time to head to the start. As I neared the start, I noticed that Ryan was dressed to run and had a number on his singlet. That sneaky guy! Of course, after three months off and little training, he went out and had a great race. I guess he’s well on his way back 🙂

Anyway, once again, I lined up right near Julia and Jim, as I knew the three of us would be duking it out along the way. Once Ian gave the command, the group took off at a good clip. Jim snuck ahead, and Julia settled in somewhere behind me. I ran the first mile a bit fast, but knew I didn’t want to get stuck behind too many people once we got out onto the Boundary trail. I settled into a good pace and felt good. Going down the South Ridge trail, Nate Pike passed me, but it’s no secret that I’m not that great on technical downhills so I certainly lost ground to a fair number of people on the descent. As we ran up to the playground, I could hear Morgan and Kristen cheering, and got a nice boost seeing Sam in my mom’s arms smiling at me.

Up up up!
As I passed the aid station, someone called out “second female!” Really?! Me?! Wow. Uh oh, now I felt a bit of pressure! I walked about 9/10ths of the Summit trail, but really, that was the plan. It’s just too steep for me to run. Towards the top, my short little strides actually allowed me to overtake Nate Pike again, but he blew by me a little ways down the Tote Road. Oh well. I kept up a good pace, wanting to take advantage of this stretch of trail, but I didn’t want to push it so much I didn’t have anything left for lap #2! Somewhere along the Northern Loop, headed back up to the summit, I passed Jim, but he stuck with me, and, of course, passed me back about 1/2 way down the Switchback trail. Again, no surprise there!
I was carrying my handheld, meaning I didn’t need to stop at the aid station in the start/finish area, and so I passed Jim once again. We stuck together for a bit, and he was keeping tabs of Julia, not far behind us, until he faded back just a bit, and I was alone. I feared they would both catch me as I ran down South Ridge for the second time around, but somehow I stayed just far enough ahead. Another round of cheering at the playground followed by the slow grind to the Summit. I didn’t quite rebound into running as quickly once I hit the top this time around, but I knew second place was mine to lose now, so I told myself it was only two miles, and I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me down and around the Tote Road. I passed a few guys along the way, and just kept the momentum going back up to the Terrace Trail. I told Ryan he wouldn’t have recognized me the way I flew (in my mind anyway!) down the Terrace Trail, running scared, not wanting to be passed in the last stretch. I ran for all I was worth back to the finish area, and managed to eke out a 13 second PR, finishing in 1:23:51, and good enough for second female. Cool! Who would have thought it?! Thanks to Jim and Julia for keeping me running scared, and giving me the push I needed to keep the pace up!!
Many thanks, as usual, to Ian, Ryan and all the volunteers for once again putting on an awesome race!  That is one tough course, but it always great to race with friends! And of course, we couldn’t have done it without my parents for watching Sam. Thank you! Sam, needless to say, had a great time playing while we were racing!

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