That pretty much sums up how I was feeling this morning before the race today. I didn’t have the best sleep last night because I was really worried about this stage (well and Chicopee even more). I knew that I had gotten the mileage in, but I had very limited trail experience in my training. As a side note, it was not as if I did not “attempt” some trail running. About 1 month before the event I was actually attacked by the Osprey that has its nest at Bechtel Park. Have you seen an Osprey?!?! It is a big, evil, meat eating bird that carries prey in its large claws! For your reference:
Anyways, so the bird attacked me and I wouldn’t go to Bechtel after that. I finally braved the bird and headed back last week to do 2 loops, and mentally prepare myself. That was the extent of my trail training. What I did do alot of in training however was HILLS! Lots and lots of hills. Whether it was running at the cottage or Wilmot line, I managed to make sure hills were a part of most runs. I mention this because it certainly paid off in a big way today. My nervousness of today’s stage did lead to lack lustre sleep last night though. I still managed to get some solid hours in.
I woke up this morning and surprisingly my legs actually felt pretty darn good. I really feel that wearing the procompression socks during the day helps, along with the vega sport accelerator. The epsom salt bath last night didn’t hurt either! It was a really cool and cloudy morning, which again is the perfect temperature for this fair skinned runner! I headed to Bechtel Park and tried to slow my brain down a bit. I wore my fuel belt with two nuun filled bottles, had 3 vega gels, and hoped to again not need to stop at water stations. My goal for today was to average 6:00/km. I knew that there was a cumulative 48 hills on the course (the organizers pointed this out the week leading up to), and that this would effect my time today. The course is actually 6 loops of 5km with 8 hills per loop. Heres a snap shot of the elevation via strava
Once the race started my brain settled down and I hit my stride. Of course it helps that my bestest girl and her daughter showed up to cheer me on. I saw them at the start line and it automatically boosted my spirits and determination. I wanted to run conservatively for the first few loops in order to save some gas in the tank for the last of the loops. I had figured that it was going to take tough mental slugging to get through loop 5 & 6. I had also made a promise to myself that no matter how slow I went, I would run up every single hill. I had a sense that if I walked any of them it would break me. This game plan is exactly what I did. I learned that I actually love the fact that it was a trail course and that it was loops. I could break it down mentally into 5k increments. The trail allowed me to keep my interest piqued in a different way than road running. I had to be alert and aware particularly in the last laps on the downhill portions when my legs were tired. I felt really strong in the first 4 loops. I was surprised how good my legs felt hitting the hills today.I maintained a fairly steady pace throughout the race with the second half being slightly quicker per km. You can see from my splits below that I did not like km 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, and 29. There’s actually a gradual hill at these km’s leading to the end of the loop which was the start/finish line. On loops 5 & 6 my legs started to get tired, and the mental battle began. I remained determined to run up each hill, and this is where I saw a number of runners begin to walk up the hills. It was really humid and those hills were tough!!!!! During the 6th lap everytime I did a hill I would tell myself “this is the last time you are ever going to see this hill today”. This is what managed to get me to the top of each one. I also had to break the lap down mentally to 2.5k increments because my brain was getting in the way. I managed to gut it out, ran every single hill, and clocked in at 2:50:05. This was 10 minutes faster then my goal time for today!!! I was super proud of myself, and really happy with my time. Best part?!?! My bestest girl waiting at the finish line! Oh did I mention it’s HER birthday today?!?! And she came out for me! She really is remarkable and I am a lucky girl to have friends like that.
Oh and a big shout out to New Balance. I broke a runner rule and ran with new shoes out of the box today. The New Balance 980 trail shoe. They were amazing!!! Not a single issue, blister, ache or pain! Pretty swanky eh?
So three stages in and this has been a fabulous experience so far! I’m not really competing with anyone but myself, but I have to be honest it felt good being so strong on the hills today and passing some people. I’m going to relish the moment, and be grateful for the training I was able to get in. Some people were battling injuries, and I am sure life circumstance in their training periods and still persevered today!!! I admire them for that! Right now I am appreciating my training, and crossing fingers that I can keep slugging it out for the rest of the week! Tomorrow is the Wilmot line run which is CRAZY hills.I have spent some time in my training along this route and have fallen in love with it! I may not be so in love tomorrow on these tired legs, but I am still looking forward to it!
That’s it from my end for today! Time to rest up and enjoy some grub!