Pam McGowan - Dirty Love Race Report - February 2014


I'm happy to report that the first race of 2014 is in the books! Despite a tough day physically and

mentally I am happy with how it went. Anyone who runs or has ever tried to run knows it can be

hard at times. This race was one of those times for myself and probably every other person who

ran that day.


I had questioned whether I would even toe the line for the Dirty Love on Sunday. With lingering IT

band issues that had improved within the week or two before I didn't want to overdo it. I made the

decision to give it a go and just try to have fun with the race versus trying to get on the podium. It

was somewhere between 15-20 degrees at the start and snowing a bit. We had gotten fresh snow

all week and the trails at North Chagrin Reservation were already covered.


Needless to say this made for an interesting and slow race. Staying warm prerace with the hubby!

Steve and I tried to stay warm in the car and the heated shelter for a little while and then we did a

mile warm up on the bridle trails about 30 minutes before the start and my Garmin indicated a 12-

minute mile. Really I thought. This is going to be a tough one!


At 9:25 a couple hundred brave runners lined up in a field ready to take off...in a foot of snow. To

describe it in words doesn't do it justice. You MUST see this start and luckily there's a video here. After maybe 200-400 meters through the field of deep snow my heart rate was definitely sky high and from there we got on the trail to start the long journey through the snowy woods to the finish.


The trails were snowy and slippery and mostly single track with some amazing views. There were some hills too including one BIG hill that will make even the strongest runners walk a few steps! In the pain cave! For most of the race there was not much passing. I was not even sure where I was place wise but hadn't seen a woman pass me until the last 1/2 mile of the race. That woman who ended up being 3rd overall finished about a minute ahead of me. She looked strong when she passed me and I certainly didn't feel the energy and desire to try to catch her.


I thought the finish would never come but when I saw it and heard Steve yelling for me I was a happy girl! I finished 4th of 100 females and 1st in the 35-39AG with a time of 1:09 and change (11:13 pace! to put it in perspective about 3-4 minutes off my normal trail pace). So I am happy with how it went and I'm not in a bad place with my running in February and coming off an injury. I'm hoping things can only get better from here.


Nice race swag! I was rewarded with some nice swag for my hard work including a sweet pink mug and some gift certificates to Vertical Runner. And then I rewarded myself with a couple hard-earned beers and pizza at Willoughby Brewing with Steve and some friends. Beer and pizza taste even better after running in the woods for 90 minutes. Next up it's the Fools 25k trail race in late March - another Western Reserve Racingproduction. This will be my first 25K so I am excited! Now it's time to start logging some mileage! If only the weather in Cleveland would cooperate!