Apparently this summer, I’ve only been concentrating on the running and outdoor family adventure part of my blog, and not the actual BLOGGING about running and outdoor family adventures! Whoops! Good thing I’m never going to quit my day job to be a blogger. ;)
Alaska has been having a gorgeous summer, and I’ve been outside every chance I get. I’m currently amping up my mileage in anticipation of the 16-mile Lost Lake Run, and in all honesty, it’s killing me. I’m a short-distance road runner at heart, and I decided to do this longer and more challenging trail race with a whole bunch of my buddies, figuring it would be fun to train together. Well, the training together part is NOT happening, and I’ve been plugging away doing my long runs by myself. Kind of hating every minute of it, to be honest.
But this past weekend I went up to run the first six miles of the trail with my aunt and uncle, who are running the race with me. The course is roughly six miles of uphill, a few miles “flat” (ish), and then another five miles or so downhill. So we decided to run the six miles of uphill, and then turn around and run back down.
The first three miles of the course were some rolling hills, and I felt pretty okay. The next few miles got a lot steeper, and were ROUGH on my tired legs. I was doing some pretty excellent self-talk, like, “I have just made the biggest mistake of my life. There is NO WAY I’m going to be able to tack on 10 more miles once I get to the top of this mountain. I can’t do this. I can’t even WALK this hill! I think I’m going to die.” And so on, and so forth.
But once we reached the summit, it was sort of like a triathlon. My body switched the muscles I was using, and after a few minutes of clunky legs, some different muscles took over, and it was like starting all over again. The next four miles back down the mountain were so much fun, just cruising and talking and laughing. The last two we kind of ran out of steam, but I’ve got another month to go until race day to get stronger.
I’m so glad we went out and got a look at the course, because not only do I know what to expect, but I know that I CAN in fact keep running even after doing six miles to the top, and I’m glad a little voice won’t be whispering otherwise in my head on race day.
It was not only good to see the actual trail, but also to try some things with hydration and nutrition. For some reason, even though I’ve run plenty of half-marathons and a full marathon, I have NEVER used any sort of refueling like Gu or Shotblocks or anything, nor have I ever run with a hydration pack. In this run, there is only one aid station (water only), which may or may not be there on race day. Seriously. So I’ve been experimenting with that, and really loving the burst of energy I feel like I get afterwards. It’s probably part psychological, but boy, do those things help. I only took one small water bottle, maybe 16 ounces, and that was NOT enough. I’ll need to buy some sort of other pack for water before race day. Any suggestions?
All in all, I’m pretty nervous. This will no doubt be one of the hardest races of my life, and I’m just hoping to make it through the training and the race healthy and happy. Send me your good thoughts! :)
Linking up with Running N Reading this week!
*Favorite refueling foods/gels? Flavors of Gu? Best advice for a novice?
*What do you think about trail races versus road races?