It’s been over a week and I’m still trying to figure out what to say about the Fireside at Norterra Adventure Run. (On the other hand, I’m not really that far behind on this one since I still haven’t written anything for the Princess 5k and 1/2 yet either.) Just to get this done, I’ll share a few random thoughts below. For a more structured overview of the event, check out my report about the adventure run on Arizona Foot Races.
The race director, Brett, left a nice comment on my report that I was the first to register for the race. That’s pretty crazy since I usually leave registration until the last minute. I guess it speaks to how obsessively I’ve been checking upcoming race schedules lately. The event didn’t seem that well advertised and I only found it by chance on getsetaz.com. It’s both good and bad that there weren’t that many participants (about 60). Bad because Brett and Kristen did such a great job organizing the event (well, other than starting 25 minutes late) and it’s a shame there weren’t more people. But good for a couple reasons. First, the streets and trails weren’t crowded and I never had to wait in line at a checkpoint to get my mark. And second, because if there were more people then there probably would have been faster solo female runners and I wouldn’t have won another medal.
I’ve been doing very well at these non-typical events like the Expedition Everest Challenge and now the Fireside at Norterra Adventure Run. I still wish I had my 5k split time for EEC because I ran pretty fast (for me, anyway) and there was some skill involved in winning. But for the adventure run I know it was just sheer luck that there were only two of us solo females and I wasn’t the slowest. I was actually hoping to run faster than I did, but I only managed a 10:00 min/mile pace. Looking back, I probably could have and should have pushed myself more. I think subconsiously once I realized that I would be able to stay ahead of the other girl I wasn’t trying quite as hard. Although that was silly because I had no way of knowing for sure that they’d split up the awards between solo male and female participants. They could have lumped us all together and then I’d have been way down the list.
Even if I wasn’t running my fastest, I’m proud of how I approached the race strategically and planned my course. I don’t think I ran any further than I had to to reach a checkpoint. I’m also glad I split the uphill trail into two segments by going for the orange mark first before coming back for the purple. (See map.) It’s weird, but for some reason I had this idea in my mind that we’d be given little colored stickers to put on our bibs and I was suprised by the use of felt tip markers. The markers make sense though because stickers would probably fall off too easily.
One thing I need to do is either get better at putting things in my waist pack, or resign myself to running with something in my hand. At one point during the race I tried to put the map into the pocket of my fuel belt but accidentally dropped it instead, so of course I had to stop and pick it up. Just like with the camera, all the fumbling around cost me a few seconds. Not a huge deal in these races, but potentially a problem if I actually want to try and beat my current PRs one of these days. Although in that case I probably won’t have my camera with me anyway. Also, if I had known that the course was only going to be about 3.7 instead of 5.5 miles, I wouldn’t have bothered to wear my fuel belt. Even though I’ve used the fuel belt during training runs, this was the first time I wore it during a race and I noticed that it seemed to make my shorts ride up a little. Maybe that was because I was wearing it lower than usual so it wouldn’t cover up my race number.
So overall I had a really good time at the adventure run. It was fun doing a different type of event. And of course it was awesome to get another medal for my collection.
I look forward to seeing what type of future events Tri Phx will organize. Brett posted a Wikipedia article about adventure running that mentions more challenging adventure runs involving puzzles and/or clues. I’d definitely be up for something like that.