So let me start by giving news that’s not so surprising: I finished the 10 mile race I had sign up to do.  That’s a no-brainer.  But, the 1:33:00 I had planned on did not pan out.  I was 9 minutes off.  I finally came in at 1:42:40 (the exact seconds may be off by a few; I don’t remember).  But I’m not so down on myself because this was my first race after all and this was only the second time I’ve run the course.  So overall, this was a good performance for me.  Let’s also keep in mind that I’ve only been seriously running trails for one month.  1:33:00 was a high goal to set and meet, but that’s how I operate.  I set very high standards for myself and train hard to obtain that goal, but if it doesn’t happen, it’s totally not the end of the world.  And only being off my 9 minutes is good, too.  Again, I’m happy with myself and my performance.  Now I’m focusing on training hard for the 50-miler in April, then three weeks later a 40-miler.  I’ve gotten my feet wet with an easy 10 and now it’s time to get serious.  A 100-miler is coming either by the end of summer or Fall (more on this topic, in general, coming soon).

As far as an actual race report, I don’t have anything much to say about a 10M race.  It’s short.  🙂  The conditions for one loop were perfect because it was in the low 20’s so the mud was a bit frozen (frozen enough that it wasn’t bad and slowing you down).  Some snow on the ground but nothing to hinder your runs.  The thing I was afraid of from the start was my line to my bladder freezing up.  Fortunately I was drinking often enough that this wasn’t an issue.  
I started out really easy and was towards the back.  People were crackin’ jokes and we’d laugh a bit, but once on the trail, this sort of diminished.  People weren’t out-right serious, but there wasn’t much of that going on, especially once the hills came.  Slowly I passed one person after another.  Next thing I knew, I was really up there.  There was a point where I couldn’t even see anyone in front of me.  I felt like Superman today.  No joke.  I was strong as an ox.  I can only wish that every race was like this.  Could I have pushed harder and done my 1:33:00?  Who knows and who cares?  What’s done is done and I ran my race and that’s all that’s important.  I’m not worried about could-have-beens.  Those are for the birds.  🙂  I just never came to a point where I was thinking, “Damn…I’ve gotta slow it down or I’ll hit a wall.”  
One thing I have learned, however, is that I’m really good at downhills.  I kill in downhills.  I have enough leg strength that I can control myself going down a steep hill at extreme speeds.  I mention this because I noticed many people are not this way.  I always assumed everyone was awesome on downhills (to me, I think, ‘how can you not be?‘).  But now I know this is not as normal as I thought it was.  
Coming to open fields was another time for me to attack.  I passed many people this way.  Uphills, too.  People walked most of the uphills, especially the steeper ones.  I kept pushing through, though at a much slower pace, of course.  
Afterwards was an awesome time, as well.  I spoke to a few guys that I passed (they remembered me, not the other way around).  We had a crap-load of food and drink, and there was even a raffle that I killed as well!!  I won a pair of shoes!!!  Ha!  They’re Vasque, but the guy saw I wore Salomon XT Wings and said I could possibly get a pair of them instead.  I was like, “Hell yeah, brother.”  I’m actually in the market for another pair because they’re so awesome!  I love those shoes.  Then I won again!  A visor, which I gave to Lisa.  Nick, who we were hanging out with, also won a fanny bottle pack which he exchanged with Lisa for the visor.  He said he had more use for it than the pack, since he already had one.  🙂  Good lookin’ out, Nick!  So we all came out a winner.  
Anyway, I’ve got some photos but I’ll post those later.  I don’t have many, but I have two of Lisa finishing in 2:04:xx!!!!  I was so impressed that I wasn’t believing what I was seeing even as I was watching it and processing what was happening!  It was truly amazing.  I was thining she’ll get in around 2:15:00-2:20:00 or so.  She was shooting for a sub-2 finish, but four minutes off is nothing to be ashamed of at all!!  That was an amazing finish, Lisa.  No joke.  And this was her first race as well.  So we both kicked ass!  🙂
So that’s my first race report.  Overall I was 10th in my age group and 25th overall.  Not bad for the first time.  Hey, I’m happy and focusing on the next objective.  🙂
Stay strong,
Mircea
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