I did it! I did a trail run and I enjoyed. I made myself do this race because I’m afraid of the trails. It’s very different than road racing and I need to get a little bit more comfortable in this type of environment. I’ve come a long way since my first trail race and I’ve noticed an improvement each time I get out there.
The Austin Rattler 25K was about pushing past my “boundaries” and forgetting the fear. The Austin Rattler is apart of the Leadville race series and I signed up on a whim. Headsweats made this day worry free and bearable in the heat.
I was nervous about running but I wasn’t going to let that get in the way. I had some goals for this race:
A. To try to break 3 hours for the 15.5 mile race.
B. To stay upright and not fall and run.
C. Not come in last place.
I started off the race pretty strong but I went out too fast. I had to switch from the road mentally to the trail. That means slowing down my pace and watching my feet. I had to keep repeating that to myself. The race was held at Rocky Hill Ranch and the ranch lived up to it’s name. It was hilly and rocky which is my preferred terrain for a race. I don’t like roots too much!
I had just gotten a new pair of trail running shoes that I was dying to take for a spin. I wore the Altra Olympus for this race!
I wish I would have brought my camera with me out there because there were parts that were just so beautiful. There were moments when I just stopped to look at the pretty scenery. There were a couple of creek crossings that I wish would have come toward the end when it was hotter, but it was still nice to have those.
There were so muddy parts that I didn’t care for too much but those were far and few between. This trail is also used for mountain biking so I didn’t like that tire trails either. It made it hard for me to run so I just had to walk in those sections. It wasn’t worth me getting hurt.
I am so VERY glad that I ran with my hydration pack instead of a bottle because being totally exposed in direct sunlight really drained me in parts. And there was one period of time when there was a lot of mileages between aid stations. I know people were dying but I had my pack.
The one thing that really worked for me was my mix of coconut water and Nuun! This helped me push through some really tough sections and I was glad that I mixed to two in my bottle. It really made the difference. When everyone else was dying out, I was still pushing strong and I know my “mix” had everything to do with that.
I finished the race in 3:24 so I didn’t break the 3 hours but I was more than OK with that. I did manage to run A LOT because I pushed past the fear of falling. I managed to stay upright the entire time and only rolled my ankles 3 time which is a huge accomplishment. Most importantly, I didn’t finish last. Finishing last in trail runs seems to be my thing so I’m using this as progress.
I had the best time of my life which has left me contemplating doing another race this weekend at the same place. It’s all about improvement and the only way to get better is to keep practicing! I will think long and hard about it but I would really like to do it since I’m familiar with the trail now.
I am definitely looking to do this again next year though. I might just become an ultra marathoner after saying I won’t do it! The biggest thing I learned was to not let fear stop you but guide you through life!