Well, Friday’s experience helped to prepare me for Heartbreak Hill next month.
I’ve done this race course previously, but my brain does a fabulous job erasing any memory of hard things… like these hills.
I was up and showering at around six a.m. on race morning before we started getting everyone ready to head to the race. I love if I have time to take a shower before a race because it really wakes me up. The race is a bit of a drive from where we live, and you had to get there by 8:30 to pick up your bib, so we left early.
I ate a bagel in the car with jam, a banana, and three fruit rollups on the way up north! I drank about 44 ounces of water too. I brought a nanohydr8 for caffeine but forgot to take it and realized at mile 6 that I hadn’t taken any caffeine when I needed a boost. Luckily, my mango huma (this one tastes so good!) had caffeine, and I felt it when I took it. Gels do wonders for my energy during a race/workout.
It was windy and chilly but better than the weather was the days leading up to the race.
I’m very happy to report that I didn’t see one buffalo throughout the race. My friends all did, but maybe I was staring at the ground too much to see them. I saw one during my warm-up and many when we were driving, but other than that, I didn’t have to worry about them.
I did a 1.6-mile warm-up very slow which was perfect because it gave me a feel for the weather. I brought different options of bottoms, tops, and gloves, and the warm-up helped me realize that I didn’t need much because the sun was out. The temperature ended up being perfect because it wasn’t warm enough to melt all of the snow, which meant there was very little mud which I was very grateful over!
I then saw Kodi (remember when she won the St. George Marathon and set the course record a few months ago?!), and she ended up placing first for the women! She inspires me in every way.
The race started right at 9, and I ran with Kodi for about the first 2 minutes. This is what the course elevation looked like. You’re mostly going up or down the entire way!
The first 1.5 miles were pretty clear, and then we hit snow.
The next few miles had tire tracks from the race director, which made it easy to run on the snow, but after that (when the trails get too narrow or technical), there were no tire marks which made the snow/ice areas pretty tricky. I slipped a few times but never fell! I would say it was about 45% snow running and 55% dirt running (correct me if I am wrong if there were others reading this that did the race too)!
This was my last picture because I put all of my attention on not falling once the tracks were gone.
For the first 4-5ish miles (I’m having a hard time remembering exactly when), I was in 3rd place. A woman (and now a friend!) came next to me, and we had a great time chatting for about a mile. She then went ahead and POWERED up those hills, she inspired me a lot. I was not feeling great at this point and getting nervous I was going to feel like that for the next ten miles but reminded myself that running is a roller coaster and that the feelings will change… I wouldn’t feel that way for long, and I didn’t. Once I had taken a gel and put in my music (holy cow, that gave me a boost of energy), I eventually caught back up to my new friend and was 3rd again at around mile 11 or 12 (I think). I kept telling myself to survive the ups without stopping and then to let myself fly and unlock during the downhills. On the downhills, I would just picture doing our downhill mile repeats with my friends that we do often and that would help me forget about my heavy breathing a bit. I also repeated over and over to myself, ‘I am strong.’ PS I felt a huge difference in my leg strength/endurance during this race from doing the Peloton and strength training… I’ll keep those up forever!
My splits were all over the place, but they clearly show where the ups and downs were:
6:53 pace for the last .5 miles.
2:10:49 with 2001 ft of up and 2001 ft of down (according to my watch, but I think others’ say around 1900 ft). I hit my goal to be in the 7:XXs with a 7:55 average. I love an automatic PR for a new race distance.
The final .2 miles is on a dirt road with a slight uphill that feels a bit torturous. I just kept feeling so grateful that I had zero plantar pain with each mile. It’s incredible how the body can heal itself.
When I finished and sat down, my runner’s cough was worse than it has ever been?! I’m guessing it was because of the cold and dry air, but I felt like I could not get enough air and coughed for a few minutes non-stop.
The Runner’s Corner crew did amazing… top 3 females and top 2 males! PS we found it interesting that the race paid the females more than the males for the top 3 places. We liked that;) I placed 3rd female and 8th overall.
We did a little bit of a cooldown, and I finished with 20.4 miles for the day.
Instead of medals, they give out mugs for you to fill with the most amazing soups (tomato or butternut squash). They also have hot chocolate, coffee, and a bunch of snacks. The best post-race food IMO!
I made sure to pack a change of clothes, socks, and shoes because I knew I would be freezing afterward.
I love finishing a race and seeing the crew. I feel fortunate that Andrew insists on being at every race!
Most importantly, today is Andrew’s actual birthday. For the few hours, we do see him today, we will be celebrating him (I’m making the prediction that açaí bowls will be eaten after work) and spoiling him like he does for us year-round.
Trail races or road races, what do you prefer?
Does anyone else have runner’s cough after a hard effort?
Tell me what the best part of your weekend was?
Marathoners —> before a marathon, what is your longest run? How many 20ish milers do you do?