Kick Up the Dust Trail Race Recap

The adventurous side of me has been wanting to take my road running legs to some trails for quite some time. However; my logical, side reminding me of how injury prone and clumsy I can be, always won the debate. The thought of getting sidelined from running due to a twisted ankle, busted knee or worse from a pine cone or tree root just never seemed worth it …that is, until Saturday.

I’ve had my eye on this little local trail race for a few months. Knowing that it would be the day after Major Hubs departure and the fact that it was promoted as a great race for beginners made it even more appealing. So, 6 hours after the hubs left and 10 minutes before online registration closed, I threw caution to the wind and signed up for my first trail race. preview.jpg

Three distances were offered …14k, 8k and 4k. While I was really tempted to just say ‘what the hell’ and choose the 14k, I decided maybe I should ease in with the 8k, since I haven’t run on any surface remotely resembling trails in almost two years.

After a short 30 minute drive, I arrived at the site, parked in a grassy area alongside a gravel road and walked up the hill to the registration and packet pick up area.

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Swag included a super soft t-shirt, bag, frisbee and free local smoothie coupons

Immediately, I had one of those ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore‘ moments. Trail races have a much different atmosphere and set up than road races. There was hot coffee, milk, chocolate milk and donuts in addition to the traditional fruit available pre-race.

The race is held on the cross-country course of Mississippi College which runs alongside a Buddy Butts park, a historical landmark which served as a German POW camp during WWII. The 14k course would include one loop on the cross country course then enter the single track trails of Butts park. The 4k and 8k would be run entirely on the cross country course. I will admit that I was a little disappointed to hear this. To be honest though, I never ran cross country and didn’t know exactly what a XC course would look like. In my mind, I pictured all grass and gravel ….and I really wanted to run a little single track.

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Getting last-minute instructions regarding the course for each distance

After a few instructions and explanations regarding the different courses, we lined up in an open field along a wide invisible starting line marked only by a flag on each side …..all 75 of us. There were no fireworks, horns or gunshot to signal the start …just a simple ‘on your mark, get set, GO!’ FB_IMG_1521930055077.jpg

Within the first quarter-mile, the course gradually narrowed into more of a normal trail width. Before too long, we encountered a little stream which was hard to see due to the fact that we were still running in grass. As I approached it, there was no time to think about how to navigate it other than to just jump it. Let me tell you, these 51-year-old legs haven’t jumped a creek in many, many years. I realized as I landed that I had a huge grin on my face and felt like a kid again. This was fun! Shortly thereafter, we entered the woods and hit a gravel path covered with leaves, small limbs and pine cones.

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Still not what I would consider technical, I had to constantly look down, watching every step. Around 1.5 miles, the course opened back up into a grassy area where we found our first water stop.

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Just behind the table is where the 14k runners moved to single track.

We continued on grass path for about a half mile and then entered the most technical section of the XC course, in my opinion. There were several large muddy sections that extended the width of the trail. Do I just barrel straight through the middle of it or try to ease around the edge? I’m sure a seasoned trail runner would’ve just gone right through it …however, since I really wasn’t interested in losing a shoe in a mud hole, I chose to ease around the edge. In doing so, I had to push a few limbs aside and duck around them while trying not to slip in the mud. Sure, it slowed me down a little …but not as much as it would have if I had to dig a shoe out of the mud.

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Photo courtesy of The Good Samaritan Center

More tree roots and another creek brought us back to the starting area and back on a grass trail. This is where the 4k runners finished and we went on for a second loop. While I normally do not enjoy double loop races, this was an exception. I found myself anticipating certain sections that I had enjoyed the first time around and before I knew it, I was approaching the finish area. Now this was tough …we came out of the woods only to run uphill on grass to the finish line. Seriously? Uphills should never be a part of a finish line of any race! However, they did have volunteers standing at the bottom of hill as you exited the woods, ringing cowbells and cheering you on to the finish line. 20180324_181814.jpg

Post race included more coffee and chocolate milk, donuts, cookies, fruit and biscuits with your choice of sausage gravy or crawfish spinach bisque. Yummy! Trail runners are obviously not worried about calories.

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Like many trail races, there were no age group awards ..only overall male/female for each distance. And the winners were presented their awards as they crossed the finish line. This year their awards were unique to say the least …but definitely went along with the theme of the race!

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Yes, it is a dust broom and dust pan! Lol

I hung around and mingled with the other runners for a while, even running into a couple of people from high school. As I was leaving, some of the runners had changed into clean clothes and were getting ready for some friendly competition of corn hole.

I love the laid back atmosphere of a trail race. The runners were friendly, helpful and encouraging to all of us rookies. I also love how laid back they are about finish times. They really just don’t seem to matter to them. They are more interested in the how challenging the course is and how muddy they can get …the more the better! Lol

In the end, I’m glad that I didn’t go for the 14k (one person got lost on the single track) right out of the gate. This was the perfect course and distance to get my feet wet muddy on and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back for more!

The good …no twisted ankles, no banged up knees or elbows and I did find a little mud to get into. The bad …apparently I picked up a nasty little hitchhiker somewhere along the way, maybe when I pushed the limbs back to ease around the big mud hole? Sunday, while sitting in church, I happened to run my hand beneath my hair and felt something stuck on my neck …I pulled it off having no thought as to what it would be. I’m not sure why I was so surprised to see that it was a tick! Yuck! Nasty little critters. I promptly squeezed the life out of him between my nails and made a quick trip to the bathroom to send him swirling down the toilet. One less tick in the woods! I wonder if Brad Paisley had been trail running when he wrote his song with the line “…..I want to check you for ticks’?  Lol

Finish Time 59:40 / Avg Pace: 11:54 / Place 9 out of 20 (8k) / Gender Place 4 out of 12 (8k)

Not bad for a first timer!

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Have you run any trail races? What was your experience? Ever sustained an injury trail running? 

xoxo,

Finding ‘Fabulous’ at Fifty, one run at a time!

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Deployment Marathon

It occurred to me the other day that not only am I in training for my second marathon, but I am also beginning my first week of a different sort of marathon training …..the marathon of waiting. Most of you know by now that Major Hubs left in the wee hours of the morning on Friday for a six month deployment …so the waiting marathon and countdown has begun. Deployment.png

We have endured a deployment before (12 months) and I can attest to the fact that it never gets easier. The stark feeling of loneliness upon walking in your home after their departure takes ones breath away and the quietness is deafening. However, like every other trial in life, time eases the pain and every day brings hope and a renewed spirit. It’s a process and I will find my way once again.

The past week included zero running. The only workout completed was the hour and half weight session the hubs and I did together ….it was the most romantic workout I’ve had in a long time!  (Yes, even a workout can be romantic when you know it’s the last one for quite some time) We squeezed as much into the past week as we could and soaked up every single moment together. There was a trip to the Bird Family Farm for some peace and quiet, a college baseball game, a birthday family cookout, quiet dinners together, long walks with the dog, evenings on the deck and even dancing barefoot in the kitchen to our favorite songs. I regret absolutely nothing I did or didn’t do the weeks leading up to his leaving.

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However, one can only feel sorry for themselves for so long. I’ve had my eye on a local trail race for quite some time and the fact that it was promoted as ‘the perfect race for beginner trail runners‘ made it even more appealing. So I put on my big girl panties, registered 10 minutes before the deadline and found myself at the starting line of my first trail run on Saturday. I’ll recap it soon but will leave you with a little teaser ….not only did I have a great time, I also discovered a little ‘hitchhiker’ from the trail on my body during church this morning!!! Eeek!

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As much as I miss Major Hubs, I know that getting back to a regular routine is the best way to combat the blues. So this week I’ll get back to my regular running/workout routine. I am still dealing with an irritable hip flexor that just won’t calm down. Any advice regarding this will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you all for your kind words of love, support and encouragement for the both of us during this time. I’ve received texts and messages from so many of you and it truly warms my heart. I try to be intentional at keeping my political beliefs separate from my blog  …however, let me just say that no matter which side of the political fence you stand, please never take for granted the sacrifices our service men and women make. Remember this …they do what they do because they love and believe in the United States of America and the principles it was founded on no matter who holds the office of presidency. They serve you, the American citizens, and fight for your freedom  …they do not serve a political party. I am grateful for every man and woman who serves or has ever served and I am beyond proud to be a soldier’s wife.

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Official hanging of the yellow ribbon

…..and that’s a wrap. Three days down and 150+ to go!

Trail runner? What’s your favorite distance? Any advice on cranky hip flexors? 

WeeklyWrapNewI’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap. Be sure to stop by their blogs and show them some love …this link up is truly a labor of love for them!

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one day at a time!

 

 

Marathon Training ….Here I go again!

I’m back! It’s been over a month since I participated in the Weekly Wrap but don’t think I haven’t been keeping up with you all ….I just needed a little break. I needed a break from running, working out, talking about running and working out and just really everything. Ever feel that way?

If you follow me regularly, you know that I completed my first marathon in January …so that, in and of itself, requires and demands some down time. You also know that Major Hubs is deploying VERY soon so I’m sure you can imagine that I have simply wanted to devote all of my attention to spending as much quality and quantity time with him before he leaves. In addition to that, there is a lot of things that need to be taken care of before a spouse leaves on a deployment ….things that one may not ever consider unless they’ve been through one. Needless to say, things have been a little hectic around my house.

With all the being said, I did sign up for my second marathon and the training miles aren’t going to run themselves …..so it’s time for me to get back in the game, get focused and link back up with all of my fabulously supportive Weekly Wrap gal pals!

Revel Rockies

If you recall, I signed up to run the Revel Rockies marathon with Holly. It is a beautiful downhill course in the Rocky Mountains just outside of Denver. Again, my goal will be to simply finish this race uninjured. However, this course will bring a new set of challenges …some that can be trained for and some that can’t.

  • First of all, the time limit for the full will require that I finish at least 10 minutes faster than my first marathon. That’s probably doable since it is a downhill course.
  • Second, it is a downhill course. I’ve only run one downhill course and it was a half marathon. The downhill felt fantastic and I ran paces that I hadn’t seen in any of my training runs ….until the course flattened out. Downhill running pretty much trashes your quads and makes flat running feel like you’re climbing hills. I can’t imagine what my legs will feel like after 26 miles of downhill!
  • Third, altitude. I honestly don’t know if or how this will affect me.
  • Fourth, I’m 12 weeks out from race day. Is it even feasible for a rookie marathoner to train for this in only 12 weeks while still only running 3x per week? Time will tell!

I do have a plan and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it works. Here’s how my first week went ….

  • Monday:  30 min stairmill to work the glutes and quads / 15 min. rower /20 pushups, supermans and plank

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    Climbing the Empire State Building …without the beautiful NYC skyline views

  • Tuesday: 3 mile run / 30 burpees
  • Wednesday: Spin class / 30 pushups, supermans and a plank
  • Thursday: 2 miles downhill repeats / 40 burpees

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    It was just too pretty not to take these burpees outside!

  • Friday: 5 mile run / 40 pushups, supermans and a plank

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    Getting the guilt trip from Chester for not taking him on this run

  • Saturday: 1 hour strength training with the hubby

When the weather forecast predicted rain all day for Saturday, I decided to move my long run to Friday ….yeah, that didn’t quite work out and 5 was all I could get in that day. I’ll have to make that up this week. Overall, not a bad week of workouts but I’m not sure how good of a week it was for ‘marathon training’. Oh well ….pressing on.

How was your week? What are you training for? Ever run a race in high altitude? Any tips or advice?

WeeklyWrapNewI’m linking up with the fabulous Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap! Be sure to visit their blogs and the others to see what fun and inspiring adventures they’re all on these days.

xoxo,

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one week at a time!