For those who didn’t hear, I switched to the 25 km race and wanted to share my experience last Saturday! School was a lot more busy than I had expected. I didn’t even run once in nearly a month leading up to the race. A few people asked why I was still doing a race, during the end of the semester, finishing clinicals etc, but I just felt like it was really something I wanted to do. It was like a last hoorah and some kind of “reward” or experience to mark the ending of nursing school. If you don’t get it, its okay, I don’t know how to explain it, haha.
So the night before the race we went to Wasatch Running Center to go pick up my bag and a few last minute essentials. It took us A LONG time to get up there. It was snowing pretty hard and there were a few accidents that really slowed things down. Janae and I thought it would be fun to choose a new pair of socks to sport for our races, this might be a new tradition!! We stayed at my parents’ home in Layton, which was only 30 minutes away from the start of the race. My dad cooked up his famous spaghetti and meat sauce with garlic bread. We went to bed around 9:30. We didn’t have to get up until 6:45am because the race start was at 9am.
The plan was to wake up at 6:45, get everyone ready and leave at 7:30 to be an hour early for the race to start. When we got up it looked like it had snowed a little bit through the night. I was really worried that I was going to be running in several inches of snow and ice. For breakfast I had a muscle milk shake, banana and some toast with an exuberant amount of peanut butter and honey.
On our way to the race we saw some huge buffalo and the kids thought I was crazy to be running near buffalo that big. For this race they had two check-ins, one before the island (either the day before at Wasatch Running Center or early morning at the state park entrance). I got my bib and we took a few pictures and we got in the car to warm up. The temperature was around 30 at race start and there wasn’t much snow, which I was stoked about.
I asked Janae if I should take my running vest with me or if I should go light and with minimal stuff. She told me that I should take it and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I saw both types of people, but I decided I should listen to the advice of Janae, she has been running WAY longer than I have. The race had two aid stations one at about 5.5 miles in and the other at 10.5. Spoiler alert, I am SOOO glad I had that vest.
The race director had a quick 5 minute meeting right before the race and we all lined up. I popped my AirPods in and got ready and took off. Usually I will wait a few miles to put in my music so I can listen to my body and not get too hyped the first few miles. I don’t know why I didn’t do it this time. I really paid for this, the last few miles of the race.
By the end of the first mile, there was a long gradual hill. I didn’t go into this race with any real goals or tactics, but I heard it is important to take it easy on the hills, walk if needed, and run the flat and downhill. This helped me conserve some energy and get some needed breaks throughout the course. There were some pretty gnarly hills, some that I remember most were at mile 5ish, and 9-10ish, I could be wrong.
I had to pull out my phone a couple times to snap a few pictures. IT WAS GORGEOUS.
I really was nervous for this race, but I thought I would make Janae nervous too and I wanted to show her what I was seeing. So I Facetimed her real quick to show her the views. Spectating this race is near impossible, unless you want to run a few miles in and back. When she answered I could tell that she was was like, “OH NO, what is wrong??” hahah, it was a little mean but it was funny and I showed her the views that I was seeing.
These guys were sprinkled all throughout the island and man they are HUGE. We didn’t get too close to them, but the race director says sometimes there are runners that get too close and it can be scary.
So let’s talk fuel quickly. I had my two bottles of water in my vest, 3 gus and a nanohydrate. I was about 50 minutes in when I took my first gu and shortly thereafter I got to the aid station, I didn’t time that well. I just got a quick drink and walked for a second and got on my way. I didn’t really look what they had in regards to nutrition, but I saw bananas and tons of gus and drinks.
Another 40ish minutes in I took a gu and my nanohydrate and I feel like that was around mile 8-9, if my memory serves me well. This was at the top of a HUGE hill. At this time my legs were pretty spent. I ran everything that was flat and downhill and I would walk/jog on the uphills. I was trying to calculate how much distance I had left and miscalculated thinking I only had 5ish miles to go, but I had more like 7ish.
I got to the aid station, the same one that I passed earlier because I made a loop, and they had everything you needed. I saw chips, soda, rehydration drinks, peanut m&m’s and much more. I guess I didn’t look good because one of ladies there said hey you look like you need some more salt right now. I downed another gu, chips and some m&ms and got moving again. I knew if I started to take a longer break it would be harder to keep going. I think I should have spent more time there, but who knows what was best. This was when I realized that my calculations were off and I had some more mileage to put down to finish the race.
I didn’t drink enough and I could feel it, my legs were always inching towards a full on cramp, but I downed what I had left of water and kept on going.
By this time the snow had all melted and the ground was pretty muddy in some spots, but I didn’t really seem to care anymore. I was just focusing on moving my legs and watching to not trip or hurt myself
The last two miles of the race seemed more like the beginning 10, BUT I was so stoked to see my family at the end. When they saw me the kids came running toward me. It was awesome to run with them through the finish holding their hands and to see Janae and Skye.
After the finish:
I was thinking of trying to get under 3 hours but when I was running I decided that I need to focus on MY wins and not what I did not do. I am so happy to be able to do this. I think this is my first trail race. This was a new experience altogether for me.
The race “medal” was a mug, as seen below. This is awesome, I like it much better than a standard medal!!! The cool thing was that they had soup that was pipping hot ready for us and we used our mugs for it. It was such a brilliant idea and I needed that salt so bad so I chugged that down so fast.
We didn’t stick around too long, but everyone there was so supportive and nice. This race was so well organized. To be honest, mind you this is 2 days after I ran, I would like to do this race again. I would do the 25K, nothing more, but I would like to try it again.
Post Race Thoughts:
Here are a few random post race thoughts that I had after the race and a few days after:
– I am SO GLAD I did this. I know my running relationship can be love/hate at times, but this definitely put me out of my comfort zone. It would have been easy to say, I have too much going on and its okay to quit, but I’m happy I stuck with it for the most part. A 50 miler would have killed me off. I’m glad the race director let me switch to the 25 km.
-Training during the winter is tough and I spent quite a bit of time on the treadmill because it was easier, climate-controlled and I could watch movies, etc. I was totally under prepared for the elevation gain/loss. If I do this again next year I am going to make sure to get in LOTS more elevation gain.
-As we were almost home I saw a few people running and I turned and looked at Janae and I said, “Thinking of running makes me want to vomit.” We both laughed it off and I just know that I met my running limit today or week :)
– Foot placement is also important. I literally almost ate dirt so many times. One of the runners in front of me stubbed a toe and went face first into mud. They were caked with it the rest of the day. You can’t just go into autopilot, you have to be alert.
– This might not be the case for everyone but road performance does not equal trail performance. They are different races altogether and my expectations of paces and what I thought I would finish at were vastly different. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t running for a time, I was estimating what it would take, that’s all.
– Like I said earlier I was SOO glad I had my running vest on. I didn’t know how much more fuel I would need during the race.
– I like how some races are trying new ways to cut down on waste and be more efficient. Hammer nutrition gave each runner one of these cups to make it a cupless race. It was perfect for the amount of people running and how spread out we were.
– There definitely is a different feel to a trail race. I really don’t know how to explain it, but the best way I can is it is more laid back and casual. I could be wrong, but that was my observation.
To sum up it all up in one sentence: This race pushed me to my limits, I love what I learned about myself and this just might not be the last trail race I do. — I know Janae is going to laugh when she reads this, I told her right after that I wouldn’t do it again… time will tell!
Did anyone out there run the 25 km? Are any of you doing the 50 Km, 50 miler or 100 miler???
What was your first trail race? How far was it?
What do you prefer? Road or trails?
Best food for races to put at the end of a race?
Who has finished up schooling recently?