Are you stoaked about trail racing?
Last weekend I finally felt ready (well somewhat) to hit the trails again for a race. This was my first race (other than the Loon Mountain Race which I did not truly race so here is last years recap) since the Muddy Moose 14 Miler which was the straw that broke the camels back when it came to my foot and the painful peroneal tendonitis. I was excited but also feeling nervous. I am finally getting my mileage back up but until last week with a fun (painful!?!) hill training session I have not done ANY speedwork recently. (pssst . . . can I tell you a secret? It is hard work getting back up to my previous race speed!)
I raced the XTERRA Stoaked Trail Race a few years back and it is one of my favorite summer races even though the course is a challenge (same course as the XTERRA Stoaked TRI). This race is run by Team Amp and my good friend and amazing Ultra Runner Chad Denning (he is the same race organizer as the Winter Wild Series). This race is a part of the Western New Hampshire Trail Running Series which runs all summer long and features some of New Hampshires best single track and every race has a fantastic raffle at the end!
I got to the course with plenty of time ready to race in my Purple Haze Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra and Wonder Girl Top with my favorite bright pink compression socks from SLS TRI. I figure even if I don’t race well at least I can feel fun and cheerful in my bright colors. I went out for a nice (somewhat hilly) warm-up to ensure that my muscles were warm and ready for the race. I have finally determined that I am not a sprinter (duh . . . I am a long distance runner!) so I need to run at least 20 minutes in order to get my body fully warmed up and ready to go otherwise it feels like I am not ready for the race until the race is halfway over!
Do you need a good long warm-up before you go out and race?
After I finished my warm-up I decided to carry water with me as I was already good and sweaty and that would ensure that I had plenty of fluids and would not need to stop at the water stations (YES!). This sumer I have become accustomed to my new best trail running buddy my UltrAspire Surge Hydration Pack. It is light and has all kinds of cool pockets for my refueling needs and it has been good practice wearing it since I will be racing in it at my first 50K in October (YIKES!).
Do you every carry a hydration pack with you when you run? What kind?
The race started out fast. The front runners took off like a flash. I wanted to race today but am still a little nervous about my foot so played it safe on the trails where there were more rocks and roots (Careful footing during a trail race means a slower time but NO INJURY). I am hoping that I will regain some confidence soon. During the race I focused on keeping a steady pace and running up the hills at an even pace with a strong push up to the crest of the hill and back down the other side. There was a lot of UP in the beginning of the race which really took a lot out of my legs. At around 3.5 miles I started feeling somewhat lightheaded and decided to take my Ignite Naturals Reload Energy Gel and to have more water (I discovered later that night that I had picked up my kids terrible sinus cold which probably explains the fatigue/lightheadedness during the race). After refueling I started feeling better after a few minutes and was able to get my focus back on the race.
The last couple of miles in the run by a reservoir which I wanted to jump in to cool off) and through an open field which surprisingly was motivating because I could again see the other racers (I was alone in the woods for most of the race). I was able to finish the race in 1:23 and change right behind this amazing 10 year old girl (YES, I said 10!). She was so speedy and seemed to be having an absolute blast on the course! I placed 5th in my age group (30-39) out of 13 which I feel was a strong finish considering how much time I had to take off from running earlier this year. Hopefully with some more time and hard work I be back to Boston Marathon shape in no time!
Even though I was not in the top three I was happy with my finish and even happier to win a prize in the raffle–a loaf of bread from King Arthur Flour!
Do you have a favorite trail race? Please tell me which one!