I’m not sure how it took me so long to try a trail race. Since I can get competitive with myself on road races, I figured pregnancy is the perfect time to venture into trail races and just enjoy the scenery.
Well… I think I may be hooked. This was SO much fun! Don’t get me wrong, it was hard… running in snow is a full body workout! I expected my hips and ankles to be angry for trying to stabilize my body the whole time, but other than a little stiffness, I feel fine.
The weather could not have been more gorgeous! It was a bright, sunny day in the mid-30s… I was cold at the start, but felt perfect as we got going.
Here’s the start of the race, the one place where the snow was actually packed down well, and I thought, hey- this won’t be so bad!
However, the flat, packed snow quickly turned to fluffy snow on endless hills. When my watch beeped at 1 mile I could have sworn we had done at least two… it was slow going in that snow!
I was a little worried about how I would survive 5 more miles of climbing snowy, slippery trails, but the bulk of the hills were in the first 3 miles. After that, we got longer stretches of flat and even some downhill portions.
My plan was to take my time and stop and get pictures along the way, but that didn’t happen. I never even stopped to walk… partly because some sections were single file and you just had to keep going because there were people behind you, and partly because I was enjoying “running” it and wanted to see how I would do.
I wasn’t moving fast at all, but I was consistently passing people, especially in the second half, so that felt good. 🙂 (Thanks to the Yaktrax, I felt confident picking up speed going downhill.)
I tried to look up and enjoy the view as often as possible, but I was also very focused on the path in front of me and avoiding any rocks or limbs, and choosing the most traveled patch of snow for each next step. But despite having my head down, it was a serene and beautiful experience. After the first 2 miles or so, everyone thinned out and I felt like I was (mostly) alone out there running through the woods… just amazing.
We looped around and finished on a different trail and dropped us right back at the start.
The half marathoners headed back out for their second loop, but I was happy to call it a day!
Although I felt really strong, this was a snowy, tough trail so I don’t know if I ever broke a ten minute mile! As I crossed the finish line, I realized everyone else was slowed down by the snow as well and I might actually have a chance at placing. There were very few women who had already finished, and some had run the 5k (I did the 10k).
What do you know… I was the 3rd woman! So my prize is 50% off another trail race… and I’m already excited about doing this again.
I also love my new hat. 🙂
Note to the baby: We made it through our first race together at almost 15 weeks pregnant. Big sister L is convinced you had an awesome time on your “ride” in there this morning. I hope we can run together for a few more months!
Have you ever done a trail race? Or run in the snow?