Yet, I loved it.
This was a race that both Jill and I decided on running together. Kind of like a post-winter goal race. After we got the bug to run hills doing The Burn back in November we had our eyes on this race. Initially, I thought about doing the 50 miler and then entertained the 50K for a while before settling on the 25K. I am sure I could have done the 50K with the right kind training, but I didn’t bite on it for a number of reasons … namely because I didn’t want another marathon distance and I was still dealing with health issues with my thyroid and testosterone that I just didn’t want to mess with.
But, it’s not like a 25K is not a weaksauce distance either. Jill and I ended up doing 18 miles out on the trails of Antelope Island. It very much challenged us mentally and physically. It probably would have helped both of us if we ran trails during our training for this race. But, we didn’t.
This was my second trail race and probably … 5th time running trails? Ever. This was Jill’s first. So we were admittedly very much still rookies when it comes to trail running. Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of it because I don’t know that many who the trails around Bountiful. I just don’t feel comfortable running them alone (READ: deer and cougars … oh and snakes).
But, I love the culture and community of the trail community. A lot. Not only do they sit there at aid stations waiting for you with cinnamon rolls, but odds are they have a cat shirt too and could swap some awesome poop stories with you. Then there’s the whole beard envy I get with probably HALF of the guy runners out there on the trail. I just have to keep the faith that God didn’t give me the ability of grow an awesomely thick beard for a reason, because I want one SO bad.
But, I digress.
Back to the race.
Since our race didn’t start until 9am, Jill and I decided to meet at the Antelope Island causeway parking lot at 7:45am and then drive in together while Mark took Addison to breakfast (kinda rude he didn’t invite us). Since I forgot my can of food (for the community pot of soup) at home along with my sweet potatoes (for my race) I quickly stopped at 7 Eleven on the way and grabbed two things of overpriced Ramen noodles. Definitely not a can of food, but better than the canned dog food and olives they had on the shelf.
Once we got to the island we parked and headed to the “home base” tent where we waited until the start of the race. The biggest difference between trail and road races was just how “CHILL” everything felt. It was greatly organized, but there really weren’t any nerves felt in the air. We all moseyed up to the starting line that was drawn in the dirt by the race director and then we went when he told us to go.
I felt at home. You probably couldn’t described my personality any better.
Jill and I started off with our friend Marsha and ran with her for about a half mile before everyone spread out along the trail. Jill and my race strategy was fairly simple … walk the up hill, jog the flat and run the downhill. And, for the most part we stuck with the strategy except for some areas that were either too steep or we were recovering from a HUGE climb. And, there were monster climbs!
Within our first mile we even saw some buffalo. I was kinda expecting to see more, but we only saw about six total. But, on the other hand we saw well over 10 dozens cow pies all over the place. It seemed like the buffalo got everywhere and pooped everywhere! It was ridiculous. Even places close to cliffs and steep drop offs there were buffalo pies. Jill and I started wondering if it was a dying buffalo’s last act as they fell off the cliff?
Anyways, I digress … again.
The first five miles wasn’t that bad and once we got to the aid station we were greeted by an awesome group of volunteers with a PLETHORA of food for both the 25 and 50Kers. There was chocolate, cinnamon rolls, salted potatoes, pretzels, Mt. Dew, Coke and of course water. But, my favorite was the Nutella and tortillas. Yes, you read that right. It was life changing. It was the right kind of carbs, sugar and sodium that my body wanted/needed. I never would have thought of the combination of the food … well … Fat Josh probably would have. But, it was great. I am definitely remembering it the next time I am out on the trail.
After loading up, stretching and rehydrating we headed out to do a challenging switchback loop that brought us back to the same aid station and then back to the “home base.” This stretch was pretty challenging, Jill and I had a hard time dealing with the climb and we could only imagine how the 50Kers were dealing with it because they did our course TWICE! We could now understand why others were saying the 50 miler was easier than the 50K. Because you’re not running in circles, just one giant loop.
During this loop we came across a couple of struggling runners. Most of the struggles seemed to be intestinal. We even came across one runner that was TRYING desperately to throw up so he could feel better. I offered him some Rice Krispy Treats to help in that process, but he declined. Jill and I saw him later on I’m sure he finally was able to ralph out whatever was hurting him.
After we hit the aid station again and headed back for the “home base” the aches and pains started to hit the both of us fairly strongly. About 10-12 miles into the run both of our feet were just killing us. I could feel blisters forming around my toes and right under my left big toe. I knew the post-race removal of clothing was going to be TOTES FUN! But, really this was a great reminder to the both of us that we should have probably run more trails.
But, we pushed through the pain and finished strong. In total we got in 18 miles in just over six hours. Nothing to be ashamed about on trails. Especially since we left it all out there and had fun doing it. It left me with a desire to do another trail run sooner than later. It was back in 2012 since I last ran one. I don’t want to wait another three years to do another one. Plus, there’s a sense of sense of redemption and proving I can be faster for my next trail race.
I would even love to transition myself to trails eventually. But, before I do that I feel like I need to get over my fear of doing a solo trail run, come to terms with the fact that all deer are NOT out to kill me and accomplish what I want to on the road with a sub-two half first. Because I really do love the trail community. I really felt at home there on Saturday. Nothing against the road running community, but it’s just different. Kinda hard to describe.
But, I’ve got a while before I start transitioning fully to just trails (if that even happens), but in the meantime I would like to do at least one or two more trail races this year. There is another Antelope Island race in the fall and there are a number of other trail races throughout the year I want to check out as well.
Even with as much fun as I had on Saturday I came away with a pretty sore right knee and awkward sunburn. I sunburnt my neck and my face. There’s a perfect outline of where I wore my hat and sunglasses. Classy.
So next time someone PLEASE remind me to bring the sunscreen.
I WISH I COULD BELIEVE YOU
Since we were sharing the trail with the 50Kers both Jill and I got in the habit of getting on the side of the trail and cheering on the runners coming up from behind us. We would usually yell out a “good job” or “keep going” as they passed. The cheer was usually reciprocated.
One runner replied to my “looking strong!” cheer with a simple deadpanned “I wish I could believe you” which made both Jill and I laugh. Not just because of his delivery and honesty, but because he also blew right passed us.
It made the both of us laugh and think of a list of good and bad things you could yell at other runners as they passed. Some of them were serious, some of them funny. They included …
GOOD THINGS TO YELL
- Good job! Keep going!
- Looking strong!
- Looking strong! You must do yoga!
- You’re doing awesome! Keep it up!
- Excellent form, are you sure you’re not a running magazine model (almost said this to a runner before I realized how awkward that could have been considering I think she was running with her husband).
- I want to be you when I grow up (I yelled this to a 50Ker in his 70s).
- Awesome beard, I have total beard envy right (I said this a lot to runners with beards)
BAD THINGS TO YELL
- Good job! You’re not almost there!
- Looking great! You earned Denny’s today! (nobody earns Denny’s).
- The aid station is around the corner, sorry I ate all the M&M’s.
- That looks like it hurts (just don’t say it no matter how obvious the womb is).
- You want some of my licorice (doesn’t sound bad, just don’t offer it to someone who is currently puking).
- Only one more time around this loop right? (Never remind another runner what they still have left to do out on the trail … bad, bad, bad idea).
Needless to say, both Jill and I had a great time cheering on others as they passed us. And, we learned a thing or two about how to cheer them on. It’s all about that certain trail culture in my opinion.
MY 2015 MILEAGE
Total Mileage Breakdown for 20152015 Training Miles – 113.3 miles 2015 Walking Miles – 66.0 miles 2015 Race Miles – 53.55 miles 2015 Total Miles – 232.85 miles Monthly Total Miles for 2015 January – 78.8 miles February – 72.85 miles March – 81.2 miles
NEXT RACE – RACE #88: Lagoon Half Marathon
I have been signed up for this race … pretty much … since it was announced last year. I had initially intended on this being my first race of the running season, but I guess the Buffalo Run beat me to that? Still, I am kinda excited for this race.
The course petty much runs around Farmington with the last two miles INSIDE the amusement park. It’s kinda like Utah’s Disneyland Half Marathon in a round about way. Luckily, the registration price doesn’t rip you off like the Disney races do ($200 for the Disneyland Half). It’s currently $80 for the half marathon with the option to pay an extra $20 for a day pass to the park. Not bad considering Disney doesn’t offer you the same with a $200 registration fee.
I hate speaking ill about Disney, but the reality is they just want your money and keep hiking it up because people keep paying for it.
Anyways … I am excited to run Lagoon on the 4th! It should be a lot of fun!