Thursday, August 24, 2017

Eastern County 8k

I met up with some friends last weekend to run the Montgomery County Road Runner's Eastern County 8k.  This is one of their low-key races so it was free for members!  I had done this race 2 years ago and really liked the first part of the course but not the last mile or so.  I had heard that year was not the normal course and they had to make a last minute change and that the course is usually nice the whole way.  So we were giving it another try.

The course is in a beautiful, local park. It starts off on the road but moves to a paved trail pretty quickly.  It follows the trail around and then there's a turn around at the half way point, then back the way we came.  We continue to follow the trail back the way we came until the finish, which is by the start.

Empty course during my 1 mile warm up

It's a fairly hilly course.  It starts with a nice downhill and then some rolling hills but that means on the way back, there is a whole lot of uphill at the end. Most of the race was pretty shaded except the last half mile or so where the sun really beat down on us.


It's a pretty small race.  There were only 139 people this year and the last time I ran this race, there was around 160.  The trail isn't closed so in addition to the race participants, there is the usual use of the trail and plenty of people walking their dogs, out with their kids, etc.  I was in the back of the pack so it never felt too crowded but I'm sure it might have been a bit congested for the middle of the pack, especially since it was an out and back on the same trail.


Speaking of back of the pack, I was way in the back of the pack for this one.  I knew it was a small race but I had a minute of panic at the beginning because I felt like I might be the last person.  But then I talked myself down and reminded myself that it didn't matter if I was the last person.  Someone has to be and I should still just run my own race at my own pace.  So I slowed down to where I felt comfortable and tried to just run my own race.


I picked off two people by the turn around and picked up 3 or 4 more people before the finish. And more importantly for me, I enjoyed the race and felt good the whole time, in spite of the heat and humidity.


So I'm glad we gave this race another try!  I love the location and the trail it's run on.  It was a beautiful wooded area with shade for most of the race.  The only negative this time was that there wasn't much food left at the end of back of the packers.  This is really unusual for MCRRC races.  There is almost always plenty of food at the end.  This time, there were no bananas, no oranges, no watermelon... there were some dates so I helped myself to one of those.  There was also plenty to drink with water, apple juice, and iced tea.  The array of beverages seemed a bit unusual.  Hopefully the food thing was just an aberration.