Race Recaps: Summer Trail Series 1 & 2

With the first two races of the 2014 Gulf Winds Summer Trail Series completed, I thought it would be appropriate to review  the first half of the series.  Both of these races were held on single track trails (trail maps) at Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park in Tallahassee, Florida.  I love running on my local trails, so this race series was a no-brainer.  Running on trails is about the only way I can continue racing during our hot Florida summers. 
Trails can be as much as 12 degrees cooler than running on the road.  

Race #1 6/21/14 6:00PM- Redbug Mountain Bike Trail 4.5 mi
Salomon is one of the trail series sponsors - so another cool thing is that the rep is at every event with demo shoes.  I ran in demo trail shoes for the first race.
Hanging out pre-race with some of our running buddies: Patty, Michelle, Charly, Karen, Jamie
I had also run the Monticello Watermelon Festival 5k that morning with a lot of the same running friends (Dopey Challenge prep can't start too early). 

The first race was an evening event.  Don't let the late start time fool you, it was brutally hot and humid.  The race was held on a mountain bike trail that makes an amazing race course.   
The race started off with the race director asking everyone to line up by expected finish times. I am always impressed by trail racers, they always seem to be far more honest with themselves (and others) about their times. 

 I only passed a couple of people, and only a couple passed me.  There was no constant passing, as that would have almost been impossible on such a narrow course anyway. 
Being a mountain bike trail (bike only, only open to runners for a couple of events a year), it is far more technical than I am accustomed to.  The constant turns, hills, and obstacles always keep you focused.

This race reminded me that I need to make sure to keep up with the Dopey training schedule.  Back to back races can be fun, but you always need to be prepared.
Sportkilt makes me faster!

Just a quick note on post race snacks.  We had the usual water, PowerAde, bagels, bananas, chewy granola bars. But our race director really treated us right.

Rice Krispie Treats! Clementines!  Roasted Peanuts!
Perhaps my favorite thing at the finish line waiting for the runners were ice pops.  You know the ones your mother would bring to your sporting events, when you were a kid.  The ones that come in the giant bins at your local super store. 
They were great when you were a kid and they are still great when you're an adult (Hey DisneyBride- why don't we grab a pack for the freezer?).

Absolutely great race- on to race 2!
Race #2 7/12/14 8:00AM- Swamp Forest Trail-  4.1 mi

Another brutally hot and humid day.  Why can't Race Directors control the weather?  This race was a different single track trail at the same park as the first race. The Swamp Forest Trail is my go-to trail for my weekend runs.  The trail is beautiful, challenging, and shaded.
DisneyBride is my favorite race volunteer and #1 cheerleader

This race starts off with about a half mile of an equestrian trail.  This gives everyone ample time to get spread out before hitting the single track trail.  I am glad that this was a trail I was very familiar with as my glasses kept fogging up.  Every 5 minutes or so, I would have to try and find a dry piece of clothing to clear them off (if you have a product or idea to prevent this, please leave a comment below). 

Was that The Flash?  Nope, it's me!

This race took more out of me than the first.  The humidity was that bad. 
Feeling pretty "Incredible" at the finish line
The series has been great so far and I am looking forward to the last two races.  Want to give a shout out to our awesome race director, Bobby York, who has really been working hard to put on top notch trail events here in Tallahassee.  This is the second year of the trail  series, and in January he served as race director for the Inaugural Swamp Forest Trail Marathon, Half, and 1/4 - that DisneyBride ran.

While I have no award/podium aspirations this year, but it will be neat to see my rankings through the four race series.  I'll write another post at the conclusion.

I'm going to add that I always say: "it's not a trail run until you fall".  And we've seen some pretty bad wipeouts and face-plants so far.  However, I have miraculously managed to stay on my feet for both races.  Now that I have said this, I am doomed to fall during race #3 this Saturday.

Are you doing any trail races this summer?

Do you do any of your training miles 'off-road'?



I do all my summer runs on the trails for the same reasons you mentioned. That watermelon run sounds fun! You are certainly getting a lot of races in! You will be prepared for Dopey for sure!


ICE POPS! Love those things (until they started scraping the sides of my mouth lol)!

Humidity running is rough, so way to push through those races! It must be nice getting out on the trails to avoid that sun beating straight down on you!


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