The Frozen Toe 10K trail race in Roanoke was the first race of the year for me, and an excellent way to kick off the new year if I do say so myself.
My friend Kim decided to sign up for Frozen Toe as her second trail race ever (her first one was a 12 hour trail race, because she’s all in like that!), so we carpooled up to Roanoke together on race morning. We arrived about an hour before the start time, with plenty of time to pick up our race packets and attend the pre-race meeting. I also met up with my Trail Sisters. Our group had a great turnout for the race!
Just before 9 AM, we lined up to start the race. I think this was one of the warmest Frozen Toe’s on record, with temperatures in the mid-50’s. I chose to run in capris, but I definitely would have been comfortable with shorts.
At 9 AM we were off and running. We did a short section on the road before heading onto the singletrack trails of the Chestnut Ridge Loop. Things spread out a bit, but Kim and I still encountered a bit of a bottleneck when we got onto the trails. Neither of us minded, though. We were out there to have fun and kick off the new year.
It had rained in the days leading up to the race, and we hit some significant mud on the trails during the first mile. I was glad I wore my most aggressive trail shoes, as I was able to run straight through the slick mud without any problems. From there, the trail got rockier and was much drier.
Around mile 2, my feet went completely numb. I think I had my shoes tied too tight. It made running on the rocky trails really tricky, as I couldn’t feel my feet at all. I rolled my left ankle several times, but somehow managed to stay upright.
A little over halfway, we came into the water stop on the course. I drank some Skratch and also tried to loosen my shoe laces. My feet were still completely numb, and I couldn’t run the downhills as fast as I would like. I’m such a slow hiker on the uphills, so I need those downhills to make up time!
A little past mile 4, we arrived at the main climb on the course. In total, the race has about 800 feet of elevation gain. For me, the course has two hills that stick out the most, and the second one past mile 4 is the biggest one.
We switched to hiking and after about half a mile we made it to the top, with roughly 1.2 miles to go to the finish. Kim and I had stuck together during the whole race, and even though I was on the verge of destroying my left ankle I was having a blast running with her.
My feet finally started to wake up during the final mile. But instead of feeling normal, they were a mix of pins and needles and feeling like rubber. It was a really weird sensation to run on. We encountered another section of very sloppy, muddy trail. Once again, my shoes did their job and I was able to run straight down the trail through the slop.
We came out onto the road, hung a right and made our way up to the finish line. We finished in 1:19 and change, which is a 4 minute course PR for me. After the race, Kim and I enjoyed the traditional Mountain Junkies post-race food spread. Always a treat!
So that’s a wrap on my first race of the year. My next race on the schedule isn’t until April. I’m looking forward to spending the next few months running and hiking with friends and exploring some new places.