A different kind of suffering

Wake up early on a Saturday morning. Drink coffee. Pack bag with race clothes and stuff for after the race. Eat. Drink more coffee. Head out to the Munroe Falls Metro Park.

Arrive to 35 degrees and rain. It feels just like a spring bike race. Only it’s the OhioOutside.com Trail Series. Yes, running. I do just enough to be able to say “I do some running in the off-season.” Just enough to convince myself to attempt a race.

But even though my running would fall into the “casual” category, showing up at a race flips the competitive switch. I’m looking around, sizing up the competition even though I have no hope of being a top finisher.

When we take off at the start I forget that I should not try to stay with the front runners. It’s not a bike race. It’s hard to slow down and just let the fast guys go away. I very much want to try to stay with them, but they are out of sight on the trail pretty quickly.

When you don’t (run) race, how do you know what kind of pace you can hold? The best experience I can draw on is what it feels like to do a time trial on the bike. Which means: suffering that you can maintain without totally blowing up. So I imagine that I’m doing a TT. While at the same time trying not to fall over the roots, ruts, and down a slippery set of stairs (which almost happens).

I pass some people, then get passed by the top female runner at the start of the second loop. I manage to stay with her for a while, which lets me pass a few more people. But she powers away toward the end. Drafting just doesn’t work the same way when running.

I’m happy though. I somehow manage the fastest time for my age group and go home with 2 beer glasses and some packets of Gu. And legs that will surely be sore the next day.



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4 responses to “A different kind of suffering

  1. Ray

    When I attempted my first running race I imagined I had a top 3 in my AG so I stuck around for over an hour. Result? The other guys were so much faster I am glad I didnt get my name and time called out. It wasnt even close. Nice job!!

  2. Brian

    Well the really fast guys were WAY faster than me. I have no illusions.

  3. Anonymous

    So, how sore were your legs? And are you going to do the next two races in the series?

    • Brian

      surprisingly, the legs were OK. But my hip flexors were sore (must have been the up & down). But was able to run 2 days later.

      Hope to do the next 2 races. But I seem to have a knack for rolling my ankle while doing yard work, which keeps setting me back.

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