I'm trying something new and attempting a post from my phone. I feel so tech-forward. Or am I way behind the times and bloggers have already been doing this for some time? Probably that.
In any event, I ran my first race in over a year last month! It was the Xterra National Trail Championship 21k (half marathon) at Snowbasin Ski Resort outside of Ogden, UT. And, it was fantastic! My goal was to finish somewhere between 2.5-3 hours, accounting for technical trail bits and the 2,200 ft of elevation gain. Oh, and accounting for a serious lack of training :) I figured three hours would be more like it. So when I rolled into the finish chute after 2h:34m I was more than thrilled with the outcome!
Muscle memory is real!
The race was so much fun! Geof, E, Cadence and I drove up race morning and met up with our friends also running the race, Beth, Betsy, and Tom. I was a little nervous about how things would feel above the waist and had very little concern for the legs. Being a nursing mama, and this being my first athletic endeavor since E arrived, AND being that I would be away from the babe for an extended period of time I wasn't sure what to expect. I tried nursing her one more time before the start but she was far more interested in everything else going on around us and went on a meal strike :) Oh well, glad I pumped before we left!
The race was smaller than I imagined it would be, less than 200 I think, so as we began the initial climb up the first ski hill there wasn't too much uncomfortable jockeying. My legs felt amazing and my lungs were already burning :) My goodness, how I've missed this!
I felt so out of practice that the night before I wasn't sure how to carry hydration, and if I even needed to. I definitely wanted to avoid dehydration (which can wreak havoc on milk supply). After consulting with my fellow comrades, I decided on carrying a handheld. I felt so dorky, like a total novice, and that was sort of fun :) So, handheld in hand, I broke into a power hike up the first climb. It felt goooooood.
I'll spare you the blow-by-blow, but I will say that this was a terribly beautiful run through some gorgeous fall foliage, delicious single track with sweeping views, technical footing, a few good climbs, and several miles of absolutely joyful downhilling. I would definitely run this one again. I was feeling the effects of my undertraining by the halfway point, but then came 4-5 miles of downhill at the most perfect time. I relaxed the legs and the mind and let gravity bring me down the mountain. I was actually running the descent hard enough that my quads began to fatigue. I haven't done that in ages! I made up a lot of time on this stretch and passed a lot of folks, which is always a nice little energy boost.
I sipped from my bottle frequently and refilled only once, near the end. The weather was so amazing (sunny and cool) and the terrain was exactly what I needed. There was one final stretch of uphill before descending a ski hill into the finish chute. It felt so good! Geof was wearing E, who had completely passed out for the duration of the event. Cadence the pup was very excited to see her mama, though! :)
After some stretching and some chatting we said our goodbyes and sought out a shaded grassy area so I could nurse E. I was ready! I never really felt uncomfortable, but it was good to relieve some pressure post-race. All my nursing mamas know what I mean ;)
I love that post-race glow; it's something I have really missed. And I love that post-long run ache. I felt like I hadn't done a thing the next day so I'll take that as a sign that I'm on my way back :)
The following weekend we went up to Logan to help crew at the Bear 100 and I would be lying if I said it didn't light a fire in my belly... The thought of returning to that race makes me downright giddy :) I am staying away from 100s until I wean from nursing, but I could totally be ready for a good race by next fall. I just don't know what my training could look like in reality now that it's no longer just Geof and I these days, and I'm not going back just to finish...I want to do it faster next time :) So, we'll see!
In any event, it's good to be back and really good to know I haven't lost the fire!