Hello my friends! Last week I signed up for the “Run Drugs Out of Town” race. Another local running store, Runner’s Choice, teamed up the Northshore Tri-Club to raise money for Washington Parish’s only domestic shelter for battered women. Approximately 90% of the race fees go to make an impact in our community! They were offering a 1 Mile, a 5K, and a 4.2 Mile Trail Run. Since I had a 5-miler on the schedule for this weekend for my half-marathon training – and since I haven’t done a trail run since high school – I signed up for the trail run! The race was in Money Hill, a prestigious Golf and Country Club in Abita Springs, LA ~ 18 miles from my house. Mapquest said to give myself about 30 minutes, so I set my alarm for 6:00 am. I got up, got dressed, zombied around the house until I fully woke up, grabbed a Luna Bar for breakfast, and headed out at 6:45 am. Little did I know that they were doing major road construction in the area, and it took me ~ 45 minutes to reach my destination. As I wasn’t the only one who was slightly delayed, they decided to delay the 8:00 am race start by 30 minutes to give others a chance to make it on time.
The view when I pulled up to the Boathouse was stunning! It felt like a hidden-gem amongst the luxury homes! The start and finish to the race was located at the Boat House – and it was actually a nice, calming place to stretch and relax by the lakefront. When I went to the registration table, I asked how many runners were signed-up for the race. The lady told me there were ~80 pre-registered total. Then I asked her about how many of those were for the cross-country race, and she said…oh, maybe 15. I was stunned! And sure enough, my #900 series race bib was only one of a handful among the #500 series bibs of 5K racers. And to top it off, I only saw one other woman with a Cross-Country bib. I was really starting to feel anxious at this point, thinking, “Maybe I should have stuck to the 5K?!” What if I got lost in the woods? To be honest, when I looked at the site for the race maps, the 1-mile and the 5K were ran along the streets, while the 4.2 Mile race was an ACTUAL trail run, over a bridge, through the woods, by a lake – you get the point – so I was really surprised that there were so few trail runners.
At 8:30 they started the 1-mile. There were probably 10 kids who ran this. It was fun to watch as the youngest was a 6-year old girl who strutted her stuff the whole way! Then they lined up the 5K runners…and I suddenly felt alone. There were 11 of us standing around – with only 4 females. The whole 11 of us toed the line and were off 2 minutes after the 5K runners. The first half mile was fast – over a pebbled road and wooden bridge. Then the road went to full-out trail mode, running in and out of the woods and side by side to 3-foot tall grass, towering pines, chirping birds! I was a bit shocked when at the 1/2 mile marker my phone told me I was at a 6:53 minute pace – but it was shortly after that the rolling hills started…and I was back to my 10 minute pace. There were 3 guys who were out in front like lightening…then there was a middle pack of 4 runners, with the first female…then there was me and an older gentleman…then the last 2 females. I kept the pack of 4 in front of me the entire time!
I’m not gonna lie…it was a TOUGH race! As I mentioned before, I haven’t done a trail run in many, many years! And it was full-out trail run with puddles, dirt/grass sticking to my legs, hills, hills, hills! It was definitely a mental race for me. There were 2 distinct times where I told myself once I get to the top of the hill I’m going to walk, just a little. But once I got to the top of the hill, I kept telling myself you just made it to the top…you can’t walk now! So I made a pact with myself that even if I ended up “shuffling” I was going to run the WHOLE way. And I did it! I ran the entire 4.2 miles! And I kept the girl in front of me in my sights…she finished maybe 2 minutes ahead of me! And I was EXHAUSTED! Mile 1: 10:41 pace. Mile 2: 9:7 Pace. Mile 3: 10:28 Pace. Mile 4: 10:23 Pace. So I finished with an overall time of 40:54!
Shortly after the last runners came in for both the 5K and the Cross-Country race, they began the awards ceremony. The handed out medals for both the first and second place finishers in each race, in each age category. Then they handed out Bricks for the overall winners in both races. I got a medal!!! I was the second place girl in the race. I ended up passing the two gentlemen, allowing me to finish 7th overall! I also received a $5 off coupon for my next race entry fee!
Overall, a VERY fun race and course. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for something challenging, but scenic and fun.