This was my third time at the Thacher Park Trail Running Festival, my second time running the 10k — to be totally honest, if the 5k was still an option as it was the first time I attended this festival, I’d still be running it!
I last ran this race in 2019. We all know what happened in the following years, and my running has been less — less time, less mileage, less racing. I’m still out there running, and occasionally I do hard things — like this 10k!
Getting There & Hanging Out
It’s a bit over 30 minutes to get to Thatcher Park so I arrived at 7:30, an hour before the race. I parked, grabbed my bag, and headed to the real bathroom (for some reason only one was open at the time, although after the race all three would be open). I didn’t have to wait too long for my turn and spent the time chatting with other runners.
Picking up my bib was a painless affair, and even though it was communicated that there would be no swag at this race, we had our choice of a race belt with a water bottle (maybe because it was a cupless race), a towel, or an insulated lunch bag. I chose the towel — something that’s always useful but no, we’re not going to be using it for Bandit’s baths!
I left my bag in the pavilion, which is one of the things I love about this race, that you don’t have to continually go back and forth to your car if you have stuff you need with you before the race, although there is no official bag drop because it’s a pretty low key race, as trail races tend to be.
The weather & dressing
I chose Skirt Sports Supergirl Tank and Lotta Breeze Skirt. I really debated about wearing the long sleeve Cool It Top, since that’s what I’ve been running trails in all summer. I needed the extra pockets in my Supergirl Tank for my water bottles.
The weather was not too humid, but it was warm, with 70s at the start going up to 80 by the time I was finished. Much of the race is shady, but not all, as you can see in the much greener photo from three years ago above.
My Race Plan
2 simple goals:
- Don’t fall
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 14:08. Every mile was slower than three years ago.. The weather was ideal three years ago, though.
- Mile 2: 19:31. Three years ago this is where I decided to make it a fun run. Luckily I looked at my recap the day before the race. I was slower this mile than three years ago, but it wasn’t too significantly slower — appropriate to the different weather conditions.
- Mile 3: 17:49. I guess this is where the wheels came off. This is the mile I fell in — but it wasn’t a bad fall and I got right back up and started to run again. Goal two was toast!
- Mile 4: 15:57. By this point I was completely by myself. Occasionally I saw one woman ahead of me, but the runners behind me were too far back to be heard from. About halfway through I really began to wonder about missing a turn.
- Mile 5: 18:36. This mile was much slower than three years ago. I was walking down those steep hills I’d walked up in mile two. I think three years ago I was running down them, and that would account for the very large difference in pace. In addition to the heat of the day, I hadn’t slept well for several days. I just knew I was tired and I didn’t want to fall a second time.
- Mile 6: 15:42. The last mile is pretty flat and mostly on grass without all those darn roots & rocks! Still very slow but at least I rallied a little.
- Last .29: 14:31. Sort of sprinting to the end.
1:47:31 — Official Time
17:10 Average Pace
66 out of 70
1:31:37 — Official Time
14:45 Average Pace
76 out of 82
As mentioned, this is a hilly race. I always get really confused by the elevation stats from my Garmin, which were:
- Total Ascent: 2047 ft
- Maximum Elevation: 1455 ft
According to Garmin:
- Total Ascent provides a total of all increases to elevation (also known as elevation gain)
- Maximum Elevation provides the highest elevation achieved.
If I’m reading that right, it means that the elevation gain for this race (all the hills added together) was 2047 ft, but the highest elevation of the race was 1455 ft.
I’m always very BOTP in this race, and this year was no exception. Too bad they don’t give out AG awards, because I would have won my AG! Except for the fact that I was the only person in my AG, LOL! There were plenty of 50 year olds in the 10k, but I was actually the second oldest person running it — the oldest was 75 and my hat is off to her because it is a tough race!
1:31:37 — Official Time
14:45 Average Pace
76 out of 82
Was the race well run?
If you’re into trail running, this is an awesome little festival. There are four distances:
- Half Marathon
The first time I ran the 5k I also volunteered after — there’s a really nice spread at the aid stations. They ask you when you register what your projected finish time is. The last time I ran this I was pretty close to right, this time I was so far off it was laughable!
All the races start together. The trails are extremely well marked — there are some long distances where you won’t see any flags, but seriously, although there were times in the last few miles when I wondered whether or not I’d taken a wrong turn, apparently I never did.
There’s a really nice spread afterwards, too. All sorts of different sandwiches (including vegetarian and vegan options). Chips, fruit, bread, peanut butter (some of that also available for pre-race fueling). The husband of one of my friends finished the half not long after I finished — he’s fast! so we hung out together enjoying some snacks for a while and I chatted with some of the other runners as well. One in particular said that, like me, she thought the race was much tougher than it had been in the past.
Three years ago I wrote: I wouldn’t run this race in bad weather, but I’ve been blessed with great weather the two times I have run it. So third time wasn’t the charm, but I modified for the weather (aka I walked a lot) and was still able to enjoy being out on the trails in a beautiful park.
I won’t lie and say I wasn’t disappointed with my finish time, but as I write this the next day I feel okay. Tired, yes — I packed a bit too much into last week. There are many reasons my finish time was so much slower — just time, age, the weather (20 degrees hotter!), falling, deciding to take photos in the second half rather than push harder than I should. I don’t regret this race or the decisions I made during it.
The next day, however, I woke up and didn’t feel great — not because of the fall, just in general. Plus I’d walked a lot more than I’d intended to with friends the day before the race — not their fault, but if I’d known they were going to walk that far, I would have come later. I’d already walked a mile with Bandit before we met up.
Unless the conditions are really bad — like pouring rain or thunderstorms — I might be back again next year. Maybe I can redeem myself!
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.