Hey everyone! This Sunday, I ran a 7 mile trail race that was so epic and SO much fun! I did okay for me – I finished in about 1:05, with a pace of 9:21/mile and was in the top 50% of finishers. I was hoping to do a little better than that, but I had two factors working against me: 1. The day before the race, I went on a 4.5 hour, ~35 mile biking adventure with my friend R (whooops!) all over the state of Massachusetts and 2. I was literally running through a forest of ragweed, so my lungs were in serious revolt. Overall, it was awesome, and the post-race party seemed like a grand ol’time, but I had to jet early to watch my Billsies crush the Colts. The Bills Mafia is walking on a cloud today after that win! 🙂
First, let’s start off with my epic bike adventure on Saturday. R and I rode along the a lot of awesome trails: from the Minute Man Commuter Bikeway (a paved path) to the Minute Man Battle Road (loose gravel/sand) to main roads to dirt trails in Bedford. We covered somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 miles trails over 4.5 hours of biking. Getting off that bike, my legs were feeling pretty wobbly. Obviously, I do not suggest this if you are preparing for a 7 mile race the next day. I spent quality time in compression socks with my legs elevated after that, but there’s really only so much you can do once you’ve burned out your legs the day before a race. It’s almost good practice for me though – steeling yourself with the mental toughness to get through 7 miles on tired legs. Sounds kind of like the self-doubt-crushing mental toughness you’d need during a half marathon, doesn’t it? 🙂
Now, let’s get right to the race.
The trail was fairly flat, a majority of it was very rocky so you had to be careful and watch your step – I didn’t want to eat it and bust my sass seven days out from my first of three fall half marathons, so I kept telling myself to slow down. That was the hardest part – putting a lasso on my pace when I was feeling strong, and then dealing with the frustration of feeling like my lungs were letting me down when I was climbing hills or trying to speed up my pace. Regardless of those challenges, I had a blast, and really enjoyed it – it was cool and misty, and felt like a great kick off to fall racing season. With each race, you learn, so I was really glad about some of my race prep that I incorporated into my routine. Everyone is different, so your pre-race ritual may not be the same as mine, but I did a lot of planning ahead. Here are some things I’m glad I planned ahead:
- I pre-made my breakfast. I made overnight oats the night before, so I could get up early, grab and go, and eat my oats in the parking lot about an hour before gun time.
- I packed a ton of water to bring in the car, for both before and after my race.
- I brought a book to read while I waited. I got to the parking lot super early, and instead of scrolling through Instagram or Facebook a million times, I read in my car. It distracted me and allowed me to focus on something other than my pre-race anxiety.
- I brought a post-race outfit: jacket, compression sleeves and flip flops to change into after the race. I knew I’d be a) freezing and b) my feet would be sore, so I brought layers to keep me warm, compression sleeves for recovery, and flip flops so I could immediately ditch my shoes.
- I packed a post-race PB&J. You never know what will be offered for food after the race (there may be limited vegetarian/vegan options), so it’s always a smart idea to bring your own snacks to refuel.
The best part? The post-race beer/cider, of course.
All the local breweries were there, and I’m really excited to try Downeast Pumpkin Cider for fall – it looked sooooo good (but was only for the Downeast Running Club VIPs – womp)!! All in all, awesome race, I was stoked to run trails instead of roads and I can’t wait to do another trail race. BOOYAH!!! I’m so in love with trail running! ❤
So, what did you guys do this weekend? Anyone else completely burn out their legs? Tell me all about it in the comments. 😀 😀 😀