I was doing some thinking while I was running, I had a good 5:45 to think, and I realized that this was also my first big race since the 50 miler last year. It is hard not to feel a little gooey inside thinking that I was finally back out on a trail doing what I love to do.
Speaking of gooey...the trail was interesting. I have had my fair share of runs on less than ideal conditions and the trails this time did not disappoint. Unfortunately my first thoughts following the race were "darn...15min slower than the last two years that sucks". Fortunately, processing the race with everyone there that weekend I realized that wanting to run a perfect race shouldn't get in the way of all the good that came from this race. Here are my highlights and lowlights:
|Me enjoying some PBR at mile 13.2 with the Absolute Bike Volunteers|
Ok, now the boring stuff. For me, this was super exciting. One of my biggest struggles at the 50miler was food and fuel intake. As you may recall from that recap post my stomach and head had a really frustrating debate about what I could consume without wanting to barf. I decided to try something new for this race, which I had tested a bit on training runs, all solid food. I had gu chomps and honey stinger chews where I agree would be considered "solid", but they have electrolytes and caffine and they fit in my pocket well so they count. I also used Raw Nutrition Bars. I was introduced to these by the folks at Voormi and really liked them. Much tastier than your typical powerbar/luna bar treat. I fueled myself with Raw Bars (one coconut chocolate and one spirulena which turns your spit green) equaling about 500 calories, chomps, and of course M&Ms and potato chips at aid stations. My stomach felt great the whole race, even better, my stomach felt great after the race and I wolfed down an entire meal right afterwards! I may not be able to depend on gels anymore, but I'd like to slowly reincorporate them because they are a great fast fuel. My take away is that I cannot depend on them for my only fuel. I also saved some M&Ms in my pocket to share with Cuz at the end of the race!
3. Finishing Strong
Man the course kicked my butt. I talked to people afterwards and the general consensus was everyone ran about 15min slower than expected. I battled a lot of mud and snow on the back half of the course. I ran conservatively the first half, working on strategically power walking when it made sense. From mile 13.2 to Mile 19.8 there was A LOT of walking. Some of it intentional power walking, but a lot of walking on straights and downhill because it was just so hard to try and run. How I managed to not fall this entire race is a bit of a miracle. I did finish and was able to muster up my energy to hit the town that night with my friend Shelley. About a week post race my muscles feel great. I was even able to play frisbee Monday night.
Ryan convinced me to wear long socks. The long socks I brought were new and untested. While they provided great shin protection through the knee deep snow, they destroyed my arches. I've never had such bad blisters before (even worse than the post Vegas bad shoe choice blisters).
2. Salt Pills
I forgot salt pills. Considering I usually forget something on race day it wasn't too bad that I only really forgot one thing. However...I really believe salt pills are important for good hydration and I wish I had remembered them, potato chips can only do so much.
Other than those two things this was a great race. I needed a humbling experience to remind myself that I can still finish races even if things don't go perfectly. For my first trail race of the season and my first long race since the 50miler I'm excited for what this season has in store for me. Next up is a road half marathon mid April and then Quad Rock in May!