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Lums Pond, XTERRA Atlantic, Race 3

March 14, 2014

Runner’s note: I wrote most of this post last year, after the race. Apologies for not posting sooner, to the many fans waiting to hear about the rest of the 2013 XTERRA Atlantic Series. I am just glad to be back posting again and wanted to finish this one. Also, the XTERRA series starts back up this weekend and I am amped about it!

On trails, you can get lost without ever losing your way. On trails, a runner can feel physically awful while loving the life all around. Recent off-road adventures have brought me a new level of appreciation for hitting the dirt.

Lums Pond Park, location unknown

Lums Pond Park, location unknown

So it was back to Delaware for race three of four in the XTERRA Atlantic Trail Run series. The first two events had been terrific, and the next one promised similar fun with new challenges. The packet pickup and finish line area was nestled under trees at the edge of a beautiful, wide open field situated deep within Lums Pond State Park. The great thing about these trail races is that you tuck yourself into a park not all that far from the civilized world but somehow feel like you are isolated for miles. Crunching over whatever is underfoot helps create a rhythm.

The day started off with a bright sun overhead and a lighthearted energy as the effusive Adventure Geeks race director pulled out some jokes, complete with an imaginary gun blast to start. My usual strategy of holding back the pace at the beginning worked perfectly as it always does, until I started running. Ever nervous that the single-track areas of these trails would get me caught behind a pack and never allow me to find a comfortable tempo, I “chose” to run my first mile in 6:18.

After that, I decided to enjoy the scenery a little bit more. The second mile was slightly over 6:40, and the last 4 were all within seconds of 7:05. So while that is nothing to be upset over, it shows a complete disregard for pacing, a skill my running has always lacked. Losing my sense of surroundings under the glare of tall trees and next to the calm water, it was easy to abandon any responsible race planning.

The back end of the route reminded me a lot of high school cross country courses for its hospitable, yet challenging, nature. Jagged trails ducked closer to the peaceful Lums Pond and then away from it. Crossing the line a full 40 seconds behind the fifth place finisher and almost three and a half minutes ahead of seventh place, I had to be pleased with the overall effort. More so, it was impossible to not be pleased with the experience.

Three races into my XTERRA trail experience, there was still plenty to learn and more running to be done.

At least nature was calm and relaxed that day

At least nature was calm and relaxed that day

 

Lums Pond 10k finish line

XTERRA Lums Pond Park finish line

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