A beautiful fall Saturday set the stage for a second successful trail race in the Aktiv Trail Running Series. The series is put on by Trysport Niagara, a specialty triathlon store. The route is a lovely mixture of single track trail, winding up the escarpment and then wider gravel trail sections interspersed throughout allowing for speed pick ups. This is trail running bliss!
I set out at a quick pace from the start line and found myself on the single track trail in third place behind Wolf and another male runner. Jumping over muddy sections and slippery logs, I maintained my footing and was able to close the gap between myself and the runner in front of me, while climbing the escarpment. Once on the gravel trail I was able to pass the runner and found myself in second place with no sign of Wolf in front of me. I ran strong, however, without runners to chase down, I didn’t pick up the pace as much as I had hoped to. I was able to zip down Hydro hill at about 3:25 km pace, finishing strong. My final time was 25:45. A fine time, although 17 sec slower than my time for race #1. I had of course hoped to beat the previous time. I attribute the slower time to this being my third weekend in a row racing, as well as not having tapering at all for this race. Wolf was also too far ahead of me, so I had no one to chase down.
Trail running adds many new challenges that do not exist in road races. Even on the same route, the course is always changing with the weather. New slippery sections, puddles, mud, make running trail much more technical. One must be able to respond quickly to the uneven terrain to maintain balance and footing. Running gait changes frequently as a result of the trail. I enjoy the challenge that this trail series provides and will continue to attack the escarpment hill with the hope of getting quicker!