I ran another trail race on Saturday, Emperor’s Challenge. I only had to drive 1200km round-trip to do so. Yup, I live in the middle of nowhere. It was also only six days since I ran the trail race in the Yukon (recap here).
I left home late so I didn’t get to my destination until close to 7PM. I bought and ate some grub, got my race gear together and then painted my fingernails purple. I started the purple fingernail ritual last May when I ran a PB at the BMO Half Marathon after painting my nails purple, therefore, purple nail polish makes me run faster.
Side-note, I have an irrational fear of dinosaurs. This race is held in an area where there are tons of dinosaur fossils – it’s their claim to fame and hence coal mining is the major industry and also the closest I will get to running with velociraptors (dead ones anyway).
This was my fourth time doing this race and third time on this route. They have to change routes as the mining company keeps removing the mountains the race is on. It used to be a small race, but it has really grown popular and they cap it at 1000 entries now. 650+ people showed up this year. It attracts a very talented group of fast mountain runners.
It’s 20km long, is a pile of uphill, some flat rocky areas at the top, then a ton of technical downhill, more uphill, and then more downhill. The last stretch is a long downhill on a gravel road to the finish (downhill doesn’t always feel good). Of course the very last bit is uphill. So cruel.
I ran 2:06:27 (my best time yet on this course – see purple nail polish does make you faster) and placed 5th in my age group (141 total) and 14th out of the women (414) so I’m not going to complain. I will complain about changing in the backseat of my vehicle and giving myself a leg cramp and then driving 6 hours back home.
Two hours into the drive, I took my first break and ate way too many french fries and a large iced coffee which kept me pretty entertained for the next four hours. I don’t drink caffeinated drinks very often so it hit me pretty hard.
Do you have any odd pre-race rituals? Are you scared of dinosaurs? Would you drive 6 hours to run a trail race – with dinosaurs?