Saturday, March 19, 2016

Carantouan Cloverleaf 4k (Race Report)

I rarely race after Thanksgiving. While I run year-round, I typically do not start racing again until March. For the past three years my 'racing season,' has kicked off at the Carantouan Cloverleaf 4k, a tiny event with no timing, but lots of raffle prizes (and free soup), put on by a local non-profit land trust. The race typically hosts around 40 participants, including runners and walkers of all ages.

The 4k course is laid out (roughly) in the shape of a four leaf clover, with various little loops along the edges of fields and through tiny tracts of forest surrounding a wetland. The course is mainly flat, but with some small runnable uphills, and even a few steps, to keep you vigilant. 

In previous years the course has been frozen and sloppy, featuring a combination of snow, ice, mud and standing water. Although the temperature was only in the upper 20's this morning, the warm winter and early spring, lead me to expect a sloppy course. But as it turns out, the trails were surprisingly firm. My feet didn't even get wet.

A 4k, and a casual one at that, is no big thing for me after a decade of running. That said, after battling injury and illness last year, and getting a late jump on my training in 2016, this was exactly the kind of 'no big deal,' event I needed, a low risk reason to turn the legs over at race pace, gauge my fitness, and spend a few hours socializing.

I ran in 3rd or 4th position most of the race, and finished in 4th (finished 3rd in 2015, and 1st in 2014), but that is irrelevant. More importantly, I felt strong and mechanically sound (Yeah, i'm talking to you Mr. Right Ankle). My mileage this winter hasn't been stellar, but supplemented with lots of miles on the indoor bike, and an overhauled diet (high protein, low carb, no gluten), and plenty of strength training for my core, I can safely say that I'm heading in the right direction. That was the good news I was looking for. 

Older Race Reports: Here

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