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Scott Cougar Mountain Trail Race Report (with lots of photos)

Race morning (Saturday) started out beautifully. It was sunny (after yet another week of miserable weather), there was minimal traffic, I was on time, and there were good songs on the radio for the drive.
In the parking lot near the start of the race.

 I picked up my number, stretched, ran a bit of a warmup, and contemplated clothing. By the time the race started the sun was really warm, and there was barely a breeze. Race tank it was. I was a little nervous because this was the first time running with a Camelbak on top of the tank, but luckily, there were no issues with rubbing or chafing.

About thirty minutes before the race, I went back to my car and checked my blood sugar. 235. It wasn't ideal, but I figured with the active insulin I had left, it would burn off fast. I checked again 10 minutes before the race. 286. I was not happy- blood sugar was supposed to be going down and not up, and when it's that high, I feel very lethargic. Talk about heavy/tired legs for the first 2 miles. I blame most of it on the blood sugar.

Pretty good blood sugar for pre-race. Too bad it didn't last long.

Lining up at the beginning to hear race instructions and learn about the trail markers, I was making small talk with a few people beside me. I told one lady that this was my first "real" trail race, and she gave me some good advice and told me to have fun.

The start of the race was a bit awkward. All the runners were gathered in this big semicircle. When the whistle went off, the pack had to narrow down to 3-5 people wide. Because of that, I was worried about my positioning and whether or not I was in the right place (i.e. am I faster or slower or the same pace than the runners near me). Also, the first part of the course was just running in a circle around a large grassy field.

After the silly start of the race, we were off into the trees. The first mile of the course, at least, was wide gravel road. No big deal. After the first mile, we turned off the gravel road and started the real trail running. Trails just a little wider than 1 person, lots of little ups and downs, lots of tree roots, lots of mud, lots of fallen trees to jump over, and even a few streams. It was fun. Lots of fun. Except for the uphills--- those were killer, but it just gives me something to work on.

I ended up in a really good position after the start. Running on 1 person wide trails meant that I almost always had a person in front of me to set my pace off of. I had to walk on the few really big uphills that were on the course, but I think with more practice, training, and technique, they won't be so bad the next time. The first 3 miles were pretty packed, but the last 2 miles thinned out quite a bit. I had to stop for 2 minutes at the water stop to wash my face as the sweat was making my skin feel like it was burning, but after that I was off again.

During the last 2 miles, I really got set into my pace and was comfortable. My heart rate leveled itself, and I finished the race strong. I had a lot of energy afterwards and felt like I could go running for another 5 miles, but not at a race pace. Maybe I need to do a better warm-up next time to get my heart pumping.

Official clock time was 55:04. My Garmin said 53:14 (mind you, I stopped the Garmin when I stopped to wash my face). I think I heard the guy writing down numbers say I placed 92nd (out of 300+ runners). I'm pleased with the race. I had no idea what to expect so I had no goal time. It was harder than I thought, but as fun as I had imagined.

Yep, it was muddy.
I stayed around for the results. The winner of the women's open category won with a time about 13 minutes faster than me. The lady who won the Womens' Masters Category turned out to be the woman I was talking to at the beginning of the race. We were chatting while we were waiting for results- she wanted to know how the race was for me and what I thought, and she asked about my insulin pump. We were excited because we both won a pair of Scott shoes (me through a raffle and her as a prize for winning her category).

Speaking of which, check out the crazy color collection for the Scott shoes. They are SUPER flashy. I get to choose which model of shoe I get- which can be road or trail. I was chatting with the rep before prizes were handed out, and he was really excited to show me all the pink Scott womens' shoes. Let's hope color is the only difference between the mens' and womens' versions, because the mens' shoes look way more appealing to me (i.e. not pink).

Scott Shoes on display

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