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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Armadillo Dash 3 mile trail race

This Saturday I actually won a race, the Armadillo Dash 3-mile trail race in the Bonne Carre spillway. The idea behind holding the race in the spillway is to make it as muddy as possible, since it's basically a basin behind the levee protecting the community from Lake Ponchartrain. But thanks to a dry June, we showed up to a hot, muggy morning with dry and dusty trails.
It was a small race, so my arrival 45 minutes before the start was plenty of time to pick up my packet, run to a port-a-potty, and do a 3-ish mile warm up. It was HOT. I was wearing my racing singlet and team shorts with my plain old everyday Kinvaras. I'd never done this race before, I wasn't sure about the trail conditions, and I played it safe!
Near the start of the race

Norco. Ugh. 

We lined up at the start, and after a few glances around, I moved close to the front. I didn't see any women likely to be faster than me, and honestly it was such a small field that I didn't see that many men, either! 

Only Drew and Jeremy from our team were running with me; Drew was right up front and obviously going to win. After the anthem (I sang, I always sing, I don't care if I get funny looks), the horn sounded, and Drew was off like a shot. After about thirty yards of grass, you plunge into the woods, and I hit the woods about ten or twelve back from the front. I was pretty sure that some of the guys in front of me should be BEHIND me, but I bided my time. The first mile is the easiest, because it's mostly a straight shot with just a few twists and turns and tiny hills. The second mile gets harder, because switchbacks start. Or zigzags. I'm not sure how you can call almost flat ground switchbacks, but so the course description named them! 

During some first-mile loopiness, I was able to see Drew far in front and we could call encouragement to each other. I easily passed several guys who had gone out too hard. By the second mile, I was getting a tiny bit more comfortable on the trails, but I am a very hesitant trail runner. I'm just terrified of going down! There was powdery dust on the trail in areas where it widened - like the many hairpin turns - and I was sliding really badly at those points. But when mile three started, despite the zigzagging, I buckled down and started passing people. I worked my way past them when the trail gave me any opportunity. I passed Jeremy with a little over half of a mile to go, but after that, I never caught anyone else. The race ends back out on the grass, and I caught a glimpse of two guys ahead of me as I neared the end of the woods, but they were way too far up to catch.

I tried to sprint along the grass, but made a sprinting concession to slow down and high five my teammates who had come out to watch the race. I finished fifth overall, first female. 
Power Milers!
 Apparently this race was an RRCA regional championship of SOMETHING, but I can't figure out what. Three milers? Trail runs? Does this count as cross country? No idea. But anyway, here's Drew and I with the RRCA championship finish line tape.

Takeaways: I am SO BAD at trails. It's hard for me to build speed, and I need to be lighter on my feet. I might need to think about a different shoe, actually. Also, I could get more uncomfortable sooner. 


  1. Ha, congratulations! Oh gosh, in my experience* the Kinvaras are notoriously, hideously, terribly bad at all kinds of trail - powdery dust, slippery rock, mud, you name it. You need something more grippy!

    * although my latest experience with Kinvaras ended at the Kinvara 6, so ymmv. I like 'em well enough as a road shoe, but NBs fit better.

  2. It's so cool that you did so well when you were out of your comfort zone. I bet you'd get uncomfortable sooner if trails were a more regular thing for you. Hard to argue with success though!

  3. Well done! I am such a klutz that I have to take it really easy on trails. And even then I often fall! That’s why I don’t love trail running. There are aspects I like about it but I don’t like feeling unsteady on my feet. Congrats on the win! I’m so impressed that you can run so hard on a trail course!!