XTerra Trail Race Recap

Team Skora the day before the big race

Team Skora the day before the big race

I had seriously underestimated the difficulty of the XTerra Trail Running World Championship Race.  Never had I encountered such steep terrain in a race of any distance, let alone a half marathon.  Before any race, one of two things usually happens, sometimes both in the same race.  1) I have the feeling of total unpreparedness, and my biggest fear is coming in last place, or 2) I feel like maybe I have a chance of placing (and hopefully winning money) in the race, or at least placing in my age group.  After looking at the times from last year, I seriously thought I might have a chance at placing.  Only 15 women had finished in under 2 hours, and the first woman crossed the finish line in over an hour and a half.  It was either a really non-competitive field or it was a really tough course.  I should have known from the title of the race and the size of the prize purse that it would draw a competitive field, but I was in no way prepared for just how tough it would be.

One last group photo before we tear our legs up on the trail

One last group photo before we tear our legs up on the trail

If I do this race again (and I hope I do, some day), I will train by doing hill repeats up mountains at least once a week.  Some parts of the race were so steep, just walking up was a challenge – my legs burning and breathing labored, I had to turn and walk sideways up some of those hills.  The scenery was incredible, but I could hardly enjoy it, since I had to keep my eyes on the ground to avoid stumbling on a root or loose rock.  I can’t wait to see the photos.

Dallas made the rest of us look bad by being the only one to finish in under 2 hours and crossing the finish line almost 20 minutes before anyone else on our team.  Gerrit managed to pass me on one of the hills and beat me by almost 2 minutes.  All six of us finished in under 3 hours, which may not be that impressive for any normal half marathon, but I am very proud of our team after conquering that course.  The official results of the race can be found here: http://www.jtltiming.com/results/x-oahu-21k.html

My feet after the race - that's not a tan line!

My feet after the race – that’s not a tan line!

Needless to say, our Skora’s got us through this tough race.  I wish I could say we remain injury-free, but 3 of us ended up hurting after the race.  However, all injuries were sustained prior to race day and while not wearing Skoras.  Gerrit had stepped on a nail at work a few weeks earlier, and his foot was sore from where the nail had pierced his heel.  Travis had injured his knee the day before while riding the strong surf on Oahu’s north shore.  Upon returning to Portland and visiting his doctor, he found out that he had torn his meniscus and ACL (but will not need surgery).  I injured my hip flexor the night before, just walking to dinner (wearing Vibrams).  Miraculously, the pain disappeared the instant the cannon went off to initiate the start of the race, but it’s back stronger than ever, and I can barely walk now.

Dallas and I break into a run during a hike on the Manoa Falls trail

Dallas and I break into a run during a hike on the Manoa Falls trail

As much as Dallas and I wanted to stay in Hawaii, it was not possible for us to find a way for it to work for us out there in the short time we had.  We both hope to be back some day (maybe for another Xterra race?).  Now we are back in Portland, saving up for the next big adventure!

About Sarah

Sarah grew up in Cranston - just south of Providence, Rhode Island - and developed a love for travel, music, and outdoor sports at an early age. She had started bicycling long distances at age 12, as a participant of the MS150 bike tours to raise money for the MS Society. She didn't use her bike regularly until she built her own while studying in Montreal and found it an excellent way to get around the city. After graduating from McGill and moving back to Providence, Sarah started working at Brown University's office of Environmental Health & Safety as the Biological Safety Specialist. She was living 4 miles away at the time, and for the first few weeks was driving to work. She made the switch from driving to bicycling when she realized that she could get to work faster, avoid parking tickets, and integrate a few miles of training into her day. Bicycling was better for the environment and better for her own health and mood. She found that she had more energy and felt much happier once she started biking to work. When her car broke down several months later, she never bothered replacing it. After 4 years of working in Biosafety (and on her master's in Environmental Studies), Sarah left her job to pursue her passion. She has been working various jobs in the bicycle industry since June of 2011, including pedicab driver, bicycle tour guide, bike mechanic and traveling bicycle advocate. In between seasonal jobs, she has done a few long-distance bike tours, which is the main reason for this blog. Her dream is to eventually ride around the world and sail across the oceans.

Posted on 7 December 2012, in Portland, Races, The space between and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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