Thursday marked the start of the Fall Trail Running Series at Great Glen Trails. More importantly, it meant that I no longer had any excusing for avoiding speed work. No that I was consciously avoiding it, but I wasn't consciously doing it.
The good news is that this is fun speed work. The course is 3.5 miles and it's a mix of single track and carriage roads. Plus, one half mile is an entirely new single track section, so it's rough and rugged—in other words, fun. The smooth carriage roads are no fun. Plus, that's where you're supposed to run fast. I'm not good at fast.
As for the race itself, it went well. I didn't go all out. Just tried to remain steady. It's the first real speed work I've done since the Bradbury Scuffle, so I wasn't expecting much. I perhaps went out a touch too hard, but I was feeling good. There is a tough-ish single track section in the last mile, and I was really rigging up on the hills through it. Somewhere after 2 miles, I caught a guy who started a minute ahead of me. I'd been trailing him for a while, and then it was his turn. After we exchanged pleasantries, I blew right through a well-marked turn, and he was nice enough to call me back. I passed him back, and he stayed fairly close. He got very close and I faded through the single track. I did end up finishing just ahead of him, but I'm not sure if he was just being nice to me.
One thing I've really been paying attention to is my upper body. I realized that I've been running partially hunched over. During the race, I really focused on maintaining an upright position. Additionally, I realized that I haven't been using my arms on the uphills. Instead of pumping them, they've just sort of hung. All of this definitely helped during the race. I think working on and focusing on my upper body will be a real key moving ahead.