Ran the first of four RVRR Summer Series XC races last night. My 12-year-old son was 2nd in the Youth 1/2 mile event. I warmed-up and cooled-down barefoot, but the new course went over some roads strewn with gravel, and barefoot racing would have slowed me down.
Unlike past years, the Youth Series races and the Summer Series 5K XC started in the same area, at the "north" end of the park; i.e. towards the right after you drive in. I remember that the Summer Series started there in the 1980's & 90's, so it was sort of a flashback situation for an aging few of us.
The Youth Series was fun for all as usual. Thanks to all the volunteers, parents, and directors Rosemarie and Mark Strawn.
The 5K XC followed. From a parent's perspective, I think it was GREAT that both races started in the same area. It as so much easier than having to get to the other end of the park for the 5K after helping out and watching the Youth races. I can't remember the last time I was actually entered early and warmed up properly for the Summer Series! It allowed volunteers to easily work both races, and it allowed all those impressionable young kids see that adults can continue to enjoy this sport throughout their lives. The course was still basically a two lap affair, but it overlapped the central gathering area four times, because of the placement of the starting line and a quick loopback at the end. Like international cross-country events, it allowed spectators to stay in one place and cheer for people four times. Since the hills were at a different point in the race that I was used to, I learned quickly that I went out too fast, drawn into it by the early flats. My slightly sub-6 minute first mile slowed to an average of 6:23 by the end of the race! I wonder how many other runners experienced such a steep learning curve last night.....
My full account here.