Competing in the Savoy Mountain Trail Race 1 year later
Some of the Grand Tree races don’t have a super deep field when it comes to the ladies’ side of things, so I spend a lot of time racing the men, and racing ghosts of my past self. Sometimes this leads to a little too much self reflection, but usually it gives my overly-analytic mind something to occupy itself with while my feet take care of the trail racing part.
I can generally assume that my 2013 self used the X-Talons for every trail race, and since my 2014 self knows to not mess with something when it’s going well, X-Talons have been my shoe of choice in the last two Grand Tree races as well. I mixed things up a little bit by using the 2013 X-Talons in the Savoy race, but that was just because my 2014 X-Talons were still wet from training the day before. If you have the option of dry shoes, you take it!
The Savoy Mountain race is a fantastic trail, not too heavily-traveled, which leads to some nice squishy bits, and they’ve done what they can to take care of the overly-muddy bits. I really enjoyed running down the ridge this year, and the view from Spruce Knob is fantastic. There happened to be a photographer (Ben from Northeast Race Photo) standing right where I started whooping about the view – didn’t actually mean for that moment to get caught on camera, but it’s a good one nonetheless. I was much better than my 2013 self this year, but unfortunately I wasn’t good enough to win again, and ended up third. Some days, you bring what you’ve got and it’s just not enough. But it’s fantastic to have such great competition at the race – three of the top ten were women!
Beating last year’s time at the Wapack Trail Race
Next up was the Wapack Trail race, and again I was in the X-Talons. I had had a pretty terrible day last year, and it turns out that makes it easier to beat your past self (by 21 minutes – whoa!). I set my sights low, given the humidity, but I ended up running very consistently, slowly hunting down faster starters who were fading in the heat, and finished in 2nd for the women, with the fifth-fastest female time on the course. That’s a tough little course, with the added psychological blow of being an out-and-back, so for every awesome descent on the way out, you know you’ll be slogging back up it on the way back in, but sometimes I enjoy those sorts of masochistic visits to the pain cave.
With these slightly longer races in the bank, as they say, it’s time to down the volume and get ready for the North American Orienteering Champs, in early October. It’ll be nice to be properly tapered for a race instead of racing through! The real question, though, is which shoes to bring… trail racing is easy, all I do is grab my X-Talons, but orienteering presents a wider range of challenges depending on the course and the terrain! I’ll be sure to report which shoes made the cut in my carry-on.
Alex used the X-talon 212s for trail racing: