Well we are bringing
sexy race recaps back to this here blog-o-thing!! Thanks to those of you who commented and sent good vibes on my last race recap post. With teaching lots of classes at the gym, and taking on more lead roles in my professional life, I had a bit longer of an off season than expected. But hey, that’s life…seasons change, we move on to different chapters, and that is all a part of being a human being.
It has been a beautiful thing though, staying in my lane….doing what I LOVE always, and making no apologies whatsoever about it. The thing about my life long love affair with distance running is that I truly do it for me and it is very personal. Even spiritual.
It’s a reason why some time ago I scrapped my entire wall of race medals. Something that not many understand to this day.
For me, running has really never been something that I do to hardcore compete with others, or size myself up with those in my community. But, it just so happens that throughout my journey I have come across wonderful souls from all walks (and runs) of life. Without even trying.
It’s kind of the gift that came along with it. The rainbow sprinkles on the cupcake.
And it has made me appreciate the beauty of community.
I can truly say today that without community at a time when I was a literal training MACHINE, I would not have come this far in where I’m at with my running.
From completing 100 milers on trails, to winning top female awards in 50 milers and 100ks, in each race I can name a person or group of runners that was essential in motivating me to finish strong.
And for that, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.
So we are going a bit backwards here, but since I recently completed my birthday marathon…I ran some other races in 2023 leading up to me jumping back into the longer distances.
Enter Ramble in the Brambles. Let’s talk about it.
This one took place in March in the North Texas hill country. I had initially heard of this race through the grapevine, and after browsing UltraSignup I knew this was one I wanted to add to the trail and ultra (dirty) roster.
With my return to the dirt path, I decided to choose something shorter, just to give myself time to enjoy the trails without the worry of finish times and etc. I honestly went into this one not knowing anything about the trail itself other than it would be mostly singletrack and rocky. I knew with the rocky terrain I would be taking my time and (hopefully) not getting injured and just enjoying the sights and sounds around me.
The 9 mile loop began at 7:30 am and we were off into the sunrise. There were a lot of trail runners out there also from both the Texas and Oklahoma area since it was close to the state line. I actually also did not realize there would be so many climbs out there! Hey, Texas definitely is not as flat as one would think.
I started off at a pretty conservative pace, running what I could and then power hiking up the climbs to preserve my energy. In terms of training, I had not done a ton of running, and scrapped a training plan in lieu of giving myself a chance to jump back into the groove without pressure. Which is nice. I’ve always been patient with myself on trails and it has always been me versus me. With experience and also years of running on dirt trails vs roads it’s just a different type of mentality that I have grown to love. I really can say still to this day that there is truly nothing like the trail community.
I also ran data/Strava free, and that is something that really has brought me back to races. As a fitness instructor at an upscale gym, something ‘I LOVE’ can actually be very competitive (member numbers, and etc – almost like working in sales)…..so just not having the obligation to run myself into the ground has served me well.
I took at tumble around mile 4 of my race, tripping over a root. The only difference is usually the fall is a lot softer on dirt. I always also tell road runners who are scared to run trails…that most of the time, I fall harder on concrete. Pavement tripping and falling…versus trails? The dirt wins every time.
I was trying to be real careful but hey…we make plans, and God laughs. Hashtag no regrets.
I got back up after my one and only tumble, assessed the situation, and kept it pushing. I did have someone check on me which was nice, but besides a bloody scratched up knee I was good to go.
That’s the thing about trail running…and going into trail races with certain expectations. Sometimes you will indeed trip over a root, roll your ankle on a rock (ouch), or maybe even faceplant into a tree. Haha. That’s what makes it fun.
The grit and adventure of it all. All you need are good trail running shoes, and a willingness to get dirty.
I also did not super hydrate or prepare myself fuel wise for this race, just re-upped at the aid stations when I could. The sun ended up coming out a bit towards the end and there was a nice climb with steep elevation. That got my tired spin cycle legs for sure!! I looked up and we were kind of just at the finish…just like that! It was funny because since I am so used to running trail distances that are MUCH longer I was kind of like “oh…that’s it?” Mind you I had been out there a handful of hours, but it seemed to just whizz by for me mentally, in a flash.
I was happy that I had that feeling and know that the next time I will be mentally READY to take on more longer runs…and being out there longer. Muscle memory.
So I got out of it exactly what I wanted…to dip my toes back into the trails, burn tons of calories (yay), and enjoy a reward of vino and cheese on top of the hill with trail buds.
Straight up earned it, baby.
Til next time! (I have another delayed race recap to update you guys on and we are sooo going out of order lol). Qué será, será. Stay tuned.
And have a marvelous week!
Any other trail runners/racers out there? Fellow hybrid instructors/ultrarunners, have you ever taken a longer off season, to focus on overall health/fitness?
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