My first 12k, my first time racing against a train, my first time forgetting how hard/amazing/beautiful trail running is (okay, definitely not the first time I have forgotten;) because it has been way too long since I have last done it and my first time doing a race next to a reservoir for the entire thing!
Morning came very quickly and it took quite some time for both of us to feel excited about running ha. I always question myself and running when those early alarm clocks go off. But by the time I am at the race starting line, I remember that races are my favorite. It’s just getting there includes a lot of thoughts about why I’m not in my warm bed with my snoogle pillow (I am in love with that thing). I guess this is one of the many things I love about running though, it gets me up and out the door to experience/see/do things I never would get the chance to without it:)
We got up at 5:10, had some peanut butter and jelly toast and then we were off. PS peanut butter works for me before pregnant races but when I am normally racing I don’t eat it before a race… I can’t REALLY push myself with peanut butter in my system (it makes me feel sick.. I’ve made this mistake way too many times).
Something that I LOVE LOVE LOVE about trail races is how much more laid back it all feels. If you haven’t done a trail race before and you are feeling stuck in a running rut or you want to experience something amazing/beautiful/fun… do a trail race.
PS I am beyond positive I am doing this race again next year so if you want a fun destination race to come do, meet me here (this is the Dam Train Race).
We got to the bib pick up (also the place where you jump on the train). We parked right across from this area and hopped in line to grab our numbers.
And then we took a picture in front of where the train was going to pick us up. You can see Deer Creek Reservoir in the background. Of course my bee sweatshirt made it to the start of another race.
We then went back to the car to hang out for a few minutes (it was chilly!) before the train arrived.
The train pulled up and left at 7 a.m. to go to the starting line. This particular train started in 1899!!
The train ride to the start of the race took a little over 30 minutes. We had a gorgeous view the entire time. I think the thing I loved the most about this race was the fact that it was so different from every other race I’ve ever done. The whole concept was so fun to be able to take the train to the starting line and run the trails next to the train tracks the entire time. The scenery for the entire race was out of this world.
I wore my Mazama trail-running shoes and loved them like usual. I love how light these shoes are compared to other pairs of trail running shoes and they don’t feel bulky at all… yet they are super grippy and keep your feet happy over all of the rocks etc. The trail wasn’t a super technical one so it could have easily been done in normal trainers too but I loved having trails shoes for the race (and their brightness bring you some major energy in my opinion).
While on the train they played music and came around to pass out drop bags for us (talk about convenient) and any other safety pins we needed etc.
Here is the train and the one of the conductors! Something that I loved seeing was there were a few runners that were dressed up as conductors for this race. Runners always have the best ideas. I love dressing up for races and I’ll be doing that too next year.
We were at the starting line for about 20 minutes before the race started. There were some bathrooms up there too. The spot for the drop bags was right at the start of the race so it was easy to just drop your bag off and go. I love small races (there were about 350 runners I think) for how convenient and non-stressful they are.
We lined up, listened to the National Anthem and then we were off! The train started after the last runner crossed the train tracks… you crossed the train tracks once at about .25 into the race. Nice to have a little head start from the train.
Our view the entire time. If you do this race in the future, WEAR SUNGLASSES!!! Andrew forgot his and he did not love that. It never felt too hot outside (this course is up in the mountains a bit so it is cooler because of that) but having sunglasses helped with the sun being up ahead of you for most of the race.
You can see in the map below that we just ran right alongside the reservoir the entire course. They had two aid stations along the way too which was nice (it’s hard to get aid stations in on courses like this!!!). I LOVE trail races because you really do feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. There are no cars, no roads… just a bunch of runners and the dirt:)
I definitely did not train my muscles correctly for this race though:) I felt great cardio wise but I just haven’t been doing many (any?) hills lately. The course map above says the elevation gain is about 1000 feet… we were either going up or down so my calves are going to be really sore for a good week or so.
That lovely J.E.L.L.O legs feeling was going on for me during pretty much all of these inclines.
An attempt to selfie with the water. The last 1.3ish miles of the race were ALL DOWNHILLS. That felt so nice and I loved the feeling of just cruising to the finish line. Get the hard parts done and then celebrate the last portion of the race (I think that is why I love the St. George Marathon so much, it is set up like that in my opinion). My last mile was a 7:52 and my Garmin told me that was my fastest mile so far (probably since I found out I was pregnant) which was fun for me.
Andrew and I ran together for about the first 5 miles and then he told me to go ahead so I finished just a little bit ahead of him. He has been focusing on weight training the last 6ish weeks and NOT running yet he still went out and rocked the tough course. I was amazed!
The finisher medals!
I finished with a 8:54 average which I was more than happy with!
A finisher’s picture of course. There are definitely positives with both doing a race for the first time ever and doing the same race each year. When you do a new (to you) race it really is so fun to not know what is next. To not be able to know exactly when the big hills are and just take it all in as you go! It’s also nice to do courses over and over again because you really learn the course and know the best way to pace for the miles along the way. Win-win either way but it was really fun yesterday to have no idea what was coming up next.
For pretty much the entire race you could see the train tracks until the very last section but a little bit after we finished the race, the train came by! We beat the train:)
My kind of finish line food. La Croix drinks and pancake mix from Kodiak Cakes! I am really hoping that I like La Croix again after this pregnancy because I was hooked on that stuff before!
This is definitely a race that I want to do each year. It’s a really fun race to wrap up the summer with and racing against a train is great motivation while you are out there:)
I’ll just be over here this week foam rolling my calves all week and next year I’ll prepare with some ups/trails/downs leading up to the race!
And time for Andrew’s perspective on the race:
Hi everyone!!! First things first. This race was pretty tough. I’m in a transition from running to cross training so take my thoughts with that in mind. Janae signed me up for this race without telling me and finally when I found out…. well lets just say the race wasn’t exactly how she told me it was going to be :) This race had the absolute best scenery. I was in awe of how beautiful Utah is and how fortunate I was to be where I was, although my legs were killing me. We were away from all the big cities and right next to the reservoir the whole time. Having the train as a big part of this race was killer and the ABSOLUTE BEST motivation. I felt like a bandit looking over my shoulder at every corner and hill to see if the train was going to catch up to me, luckily for me I beat it!! I have never done a trail race and let’s just say…. wow I learned that I need to pace myself more properly on the hills and in my case it is okay to walk a few seconds to catch my breath. This race really was fun, although I won’t admit it to Janae haha. It pushed me and it was such a different type of race than your typical pound the street and get the miles out to finish. I’ll be back next year.
Just a few Sunday things:
I think I was craving fruit for lunch yesterday:)
My sister invited us all over for her famous bbq pizza!
We hadn’t had a chance to celebrate Brooke’s birthday with my parents yet so my mom brought over this huge cake… Brooke was ecstatic over all of the frosting!
A Q from Michele!! “I’m looking for a running app that will allow me to base my run off of time or distance. I’ve googled this like crazy and maybe there’s not one. But sometimes, I’d like to run for 45 minutes, or 1 hour, whatever depending on how much time I have. I want it to map out a run that should take me about that long. Or say I’d like to run 5 miles, so it will map it out 5 miles exactly. Would be nice when I’m not at home and you don’t know the streets as well. Anyone know of an app that would do this?
What race have you been the MOST prepared for? What race have you been the LEAST prepared for?
Ever done a trail race? What was your experience?
A question from Andrew—> What is your all-time favorite book?!