Race Recap: 2012 XTERRA Balarat Trail 21K

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Words to describe this race: awesome, hardcore, incredible difficult, rewarding, fun, exciting, natural, a true race experience. Nothing about this race was easy, but everything about it was amazing.

The race started uphill and continued with a steep 2 mile climb. Within ~200m of the starting line, we funneled onto a single track trail. And because we didn’t want to get caught behind any walkers, we took off like a bat outta hell.

My heart rate was out of CONTROL and every step was difficult, and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever run that fast up a mountain before. I didn’t want to be the reason to slow others down on the single track, so I literally was running all-out uphill.

Thankfully once we reached the top of the first climb, we got to enjoy the benefits of our hard first two miles. The downhills were speedy but technical. Miles 2-5 were gorgeous, the weather was hot and sunny, and my legs felt great despite the downhill trashing.

Talk about gorgeous trails, right?!

Now let’s talk about miles 5 and 6. For almost 2 miles, we climbed 900ft of elevation gain without a single break. It was so brutally steep at times, I had to hunch over and use my hands. My hip flexors were burning like crazy. Everyone was walking.

When I walked, it was ‘with a purpose’. I wasn’t there to dillydally. But I started running as soon as possible, and good thing for you guys, I can run and take pictures at the same time ;)

The course really showed the difference between my and Weez’s strengths as runners. Weez is a strong hill climber, and would leave me in his dust anytime we started a climb. But as soon as the grade switched, I let ‘er fly and would charge downhill without reservation and catch up to Weez. That’s how I managed to stick with him.

We climbed 2,795 feet of elevation gain (clocked by my GPS watch) over those 13.1 miles..
The aid stations were awesome. Stocked full of goodies (preztels, oranges, powerbar chewy-type things, gatorade, water). I guzzled all 20oz.’s of my water within the first 6 miles, and the aid station volunteers helped me refill my bottles. Such nice people!

Miles 7-10 were rolling downhill and my hip flexors were really feelin’ it by this point.

Miles 10-12 were part of this little loop around an old mine. It was really neat. But the first half included a steep/narrow climb (including stairs at one point), and I was starting to get super tired.

Never once during the race did I feel lost or confused about the course, the trails were well marked with orange ribbons or flags. ‘Sides, Weez was always a shout (or sometimes only a stride) away.

I knew I was getting close to the finish when I heard people cheering. With a half mile to go, it was all up-up-uphill and once again, Weez blew by me. There’s no catching Weez when it comes to hill-running, so I knew he had me beat ;) But we still came in within 5 seconds of each other.

Weez’s that run together, stay together!

Official Results:
21K = 2:10:04
6th 19-29 AG, 11th female overall

The feeling after finishing was incredible. Cloud 9! I raced as hard as I possibly could, and got to run near my speedy hubs the entire time. I somehow managed to average sub-10 min pace despite the insane 2,800ft of elevation gain, and I’m stoked about my effort.

Check #3 off my 26-before-26 list! We did it!

Thanks to the XTERRA race directors and volunteers. I LOVED this trail race experience and would register for another one in a heartbeat!

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Holy hill profile! That’s awesome that you killed it like that! And stayed with Weez. I can’t imagine giving 100% on those climbs, but if you have folks behind you on single track, what are you going to do? Great job!

  2. jessica says:

    So amazing! And those views – wow.

  3. Congrats, you did awesome! I’m doing a 5k trail race in September and I’m pretty psyched…they look like fun!

  4. goodness gracious! that race sounds tough as balls! && even more elevation gain than you originally expected! whew! glad to hear you guys had great aide stations! you guys definitely needed it with all that work being done! woohoo for fun crazy running weekends, nice work you two!

  5. Heidi Nicole says:

    You did amazing – that elevation chart looks terrifying! Great job on being all speedy on trails like that, it looks gorgeous! :)

  6. Liz says:

    Congrats! That elevation gain is no joke. next time you have to beat Weez though ;)

  7. Erica says:

    Im SO proud of you!!!! I LOVE that you posted about this race! I felt like I was right there with you!!! GREAT job!!!!!

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