The Ferdy Flyer Trail 10K is easily one of my favorite races of the past two years – and I don’t particularly enjoy shorter races. I’m much more comfortable getting really uncomfortable on longer runs, but this 10K is so much fun and has so much character. It also happens to take place in my favorite park on some of my favorite trails in the state.
This year would be a little different though. First, last year I was training for several running events, so I had a lot of running miles in legs. Lots of trail running miles. This year, I have been training for a couple of 100 mile bike races. So my training has been much different. Second, I ended up catching Giesla last year with only about a half mile left in the race – she had a 9 minute head start on me thanks to the Ferdy Flyer’s unique, top secret, head start time algorithm. This year, she had a 12 minute head start on me. I knew it would be real tough to catch her. She is in great running shape too – I could catch her on a bike but running might be different.
After Giesla started, I stood around and talked with Kade. After eight or so minutes, I could see Giesla’s pink jacket across the lake on the trail. She looked strong and effortless. I looked down at my skinny cycling legs. A few minutes later, my age group started and I concentrated on keeping a steady pace and low-ish heart rate. The heart rate part is harder to control, especially since this 10K has a little over 900 feet of climbing. The trails at the Ferdinand State Forest are so challenging, but the beauty of the park sometimes takes your mind away. Luckily on this day, I was able to run while taking in the scenery and keeping my mind busy. I passed a few people here and there and tried to offer encouraging words, though I probably sounded more like I was just choking.
I never did catch Giesla – she beat me by about 7 minutes, which means I gained about five minutes on her. She was about to open a beer when I crossed the finish line. Giesla ended up first with an official time of 36:44 (53:29 on course), and I was second with 43:58 (46:28 on course). It was such a fun course – and when you get to sample St. Benedict’s Brew Works at the finish, that’s just fine too! I hope to be back for this race every year.