I arrived at the race site a little before 7am. It was a crisp, 42 degree outside. As the sun rose, the view of the lake was beautiful! I could tell, it was going to be a great day.
After I checked in and pinned my race bib on, I started to debate whether I would wear a second layer on the top. I talked to a few runners and made a final decision. I decided that I didn’t need the second layer. I’d probably be cold for the first few minutes of the run, but I wouldn’t have to carry anything later on.
My homemade disposable arm warmers……..My daughter’s old tights.
I found some of my friends from the awesome running group, Folsom Trail Runners. We gathered together to listen to the race details. Before long, we were off. I was glad we were towards the back so that I would be forced to go out slowly. After all, I’m a sprinter on my way to becoming an endurance runner.
The first mile went by quickly. I glanced at my watch and noticed that I was going faster than I wanted to, but I was having a hard time letting the competition go. This is where I need to work hard. I need to focus on the event being my own race and not trying to keep up with the front women. However, coming off of a taper it’s difficult to do. It’s definitely a work in progress.
Having run these trails several times, I was familiar with the course. I knew exactly where the rollers and hills would be as well as the aid stations. As we approached the first aid station, I saw another Folsom Trail Runner cheering us on. What a nice surprise to see a friend out on the course!
After the first aid station, we had a few gentle climbs. Looking back, I probably ran them too hard. Again, having tapered and feeling well rested, it’s hard to control the pace. I was trying to keep my effort level low and just putt along listening to my music.
I approached the second aid station. Inside Trail Racing does such a good job with the aid stations. The volunteers were very friendly and helpful. Each of the stations had wonderful snacks and plenty of liquids. I drank at each aid station, but had packed my own food (mainly because I’m picky) and my own water.
As I approached the turnaround point, the leaders passed by me since this was an out and back course. I arrived at the third aid station, which was also the turnaround point, feeling strong.
Here are my splits for the first 11 miles. You can see that I kept a pretty consistent pace.
Soon after, I passed by some friends. Beth was nice enough to stop and take a picture of me running.
This next section of the trail was hard. There were some good climbs and we were already 12 miles into the race. I arrived at the next aid station still feeling good, but ready for more water. I had my hydration open and ready to be filled. I probably should have refilled at the half way point like I had originally planned to.
Again, I’d like to compliment the volunteers for being so friendly and helpful. The man took my hydration pack and refilled it for me, put it back together and put the pack back on me. It felt like a full service station!
Once I realized I only had a little over 6 more miles to go, I couldn’t help but smile. I was still feeling strong and I knew that the terrain of the last 3.5 miles wasn’t very difficult.
Another mile into the run I started to feel a little tired. I was surprised at how quickly the fatigue set in. My confidence was a bit shaken, but I was still running and moving at a good pace.
It was great to see the last aid station. I decided to eat a shot block to see if a little boost could help me finish strong. I also drank a few cups of water and made sure I had enough in my pack. After the quick stop, I was on my way again.
Now, I had already said that I was going out for a 16 mile jog before a 10k race. I had expected that the race wouldn’t really start until close to the end. Somehow I knew that those first miles would feel great and then I would either pay for going out too fast, or feel the muscle fatigue or perhaps I would feel ok towards the end. I had even planned to negative split the run. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t work out.
When I hit mile 18, I had to start working hard. I wasn’t smiling anymore. I have to say that the last 3.5 miles weren’t completely disastrous since I was able to run. Perhaps I was paying for going out a bit too fast or maybe my legs are still getting used to this distance on the trails. Either way, my legs were tired. At one point I stopped and rubbed my quads for a bit.
As soon as I reached the flat part of the trail, I tried to pick up my pace. That only lasted for about 30 seconds when I realized I was exhausted and a slower pace would be just fine. I cheered myself on; I could do this! I was so close to the finish.
I came around the last turn and saw the finish. Although I wasn’t moving very fast, I couldn’t have been happier to cross the finish line. I consider my first 35k to be a huge success! I finished in 3 hours and 32 minutes.
Another great race put on by Inside Trail Racing
Based on the goals I set in my race plan, I had an awesome day! I recently read an article about setting goals. The article suggested setting 3 different goals. One for a good day (something you can almost be guaranteed to accomplish), one for a great day (something that you have trained for, but you have to work harder for), and one for an awesome day (again, something you’ve trained for, but you have to work hard and pretty much everything has to go well). Preparing different leveled goals will help keep you positive even if it isn’t your best performance. After all, many times getting to the start line is a success in itself and one that we should celebrate.
Since this was my first 35k and longest trail run ever, I decided my goals would be as follows:
On a good day, I will go out slower than I am used to and I will finish my first 35k. These are my main goals.
On a great day, I will finish in 3 hours 47 mins.(10.5 min/mi pace)
On an awesome day, I will finish in 3 hours 36 mins (10 min/mi pace)
I’d like to clarify that an awesome day doesn’t mean it was easy! I had to work very hard towards the end. In fact, I worked harder than I thought I would. I’m happy to say that while I was working hard, I didn’t once let any negative talk enter my head. I stayed calm when I felt the pain (and believe me, my quads were yelling at me) and used my positive talk that I had prepared.
Gotta love small races……..I was the 3rd women finisher and 2nd in my age group. The first place woman beat me by 25 minutes. Then, Amy, also from Folsom Trail Runners was the second women. She beat me by 14 minutes. These women were fast!
Here I am with 3 other Folsom Trail Runners who also had a good race
Things I felt went well:
*My nutrition was planned and tested on my long runs. I ate 1/4 of a peanut butter sandwich every ½ hour. And, I’m still glad I carried my own sandwiches even though there were plenty out on the course.
Six 1/4 sandwiches fit in this tiny SPIBELT
*My hydration plan was good. The only thing I should have done differently is stick to my original plan of refilling at the half way point.
*I also used 1 salt tablet every hour.
Lessons I learned:
*I really need to start slower. Finding that magical pace will be what I’m looking for.
*I need to pack Kleenex. Allergies and/or a mild cold AND cold mornings make eating/drinking AND breathing difficult.