The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

Older and Wise(r)

It was just two weeks ago when opened my cell phone calendar and saw a curious entry. “Skunk Hollow Sneaker Chase, 8 AM, 7/27/13”. My heart briefly fluttered when I realized that I had indeed registered for an 8-mile trail run in early June, than promptly forgot about it. Which means I forgot to train. Oops.

I hadn’t exactly been sedentary; it’s summer and well, I’m me. I was actually quite focused on swimming in preparation for my sprint-distance “Triathamom” in August. But lack of preparation has never stopped me, so I stubbornly forged ahead. And I’m soooo glad I did.

Race day dawned with a bleary-eyed but excited Michelle. The baby hasn’t been sleeping for very long stretches at night and my coordination was a bit off as exhibited by my morning shananigans including dropping a Gu shot in the dog water bowl and knocking over my latte on the counter. I ignored my inner sarcastic voice about the auspicious start and loaded up the baby to drive up the mountain.

Part of my race excitement can be attributed to the location. I will take an 8-mile trail run over a 2-mile pavement run any day of the week. Add in aid stations and race volunteers (I love those people) and my participation is pretty much guaranteed. This particular trail was also located on Casper Mountain, which rises 3,000 feet above the town at 8,130 ft. This meant cooler temperatures, more variation in elevation (read: hills) and a little bit more huffing and puffing.

The race offered an eight mile OR sixteen mile option and during the pre-race meeting, someone asked “What if I’m feeling plucky after 8 miles and want to continue?”. Since I had no such delusional thoughts, I chuckled along with the rest of the “completion not competition” runners. The race began and the field inevitably spaced out to leave me keeping pace with a nine-year-old and his parents. I couldn’t decide whether to be annoyed or empowered. Chatting with his mom occasionally, I found myself at the aid station at the halfway (four mile) mark before I knew it.

I stuck to my “drink at least one water and one sports drink” rule while I downed a Gu. Actually, it was a Hammer Gel Espresso shot (my favorite), but I digress. I always force myself to drink slightly more than I want at aid stations and it serves me well. Overall, I felt fantastic and naturally started reflecting on this odd experience. I hadn’t slept but I HAD eaten properly, and it had made all the difference.

I ate my usual breakfast of two eggs and a bowl of oatmeal about 1.25 hours before the race. I drank a latte and then downed a Hammer Gel with water 15 minutes before the race started. Having good carbs and some protein with plenty of time to digest is key. Equally key is refueling about 45 minutes in. I kept a nice even pace and found myself (somewhat smugly, I’ll admit) flying by the nine-year-old, among others, around mile six. My refuel and even pacing left plenty in the tank for a strong finish while others were commenting on the end of race difficulty. Even though my training wasn’t very strong, my day of race preparation was smart, and that may be worth just as much.

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