Off-Season

Ironman Wisconsin was 7 weeks ago.  The post-Ironman blues hit HARD.  I went from training 20+ hours a week before the race to basically not at all.  I thrive off of having workouts in training peaks that need to be completed and races on the calendar to train for.  I think it is fairly obvious that I don’t do well with down time.

So what have I done with all of this down time in the last few weeks?

Ran my First Trail Race:

Approaching the first aid station
Approaching the first aid station
Part of the 10 mile trail run course (photo courtesy of The Runner's Flat 50K Trail Run)
Part of the 10 mile trail run course (photo courtesy of The Runner’s Flat 50K Trail Run)
It wouldn't be a trail race if someone didn't eat dirt ;)
It wouldn’t be a trail race if someone didn’t eat dirt 😉

Walk the Dogs:

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Hike at Ledges:

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Visit Breweries:

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Ride Bikes for Fun with Friends:

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Long shadows with the setting sun.
Long shadows with the setting sun.
Chasing the sun on our bikes.
Chasing the sun on our bikes.

Hayrides at the Berry Patch:

IMG_0311 IMG_0310 Playing Frisbee with Basil:

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Being a competitive, determined, driven person is amazing (although the Iron Hippie may disagree with that).  It is the firework that motivates me to train in early hours, to train when it is dark and dreary, to train when it is cold and windy, to train when it is hot and muggy.  It compels me to test myself, to improve and be better than I was yesterday.

Because of my “type A personality,” it is time to get back into a more regular workout routine.  Nothing super strenuous, but a routine with some structure.

How long does your off-season last?  How do you enjoy your off-season?

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My First Trail Race

Saturday I had my first go at running a trail race.  It was the inaugural event and we chose to participate in the 10+ mile distance in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  I love to run in the woods, but had never experienced a trail race before, so this would be a first.  I was really excited!!

We drove over the morning of (~80 miles) and arrived at about 7:15 am.  Our arrival time was perfect…we could pick up our race number and then head to the start line to watch the 50K and 20 mile runners head out on their adventure.

The 50K/20 mile trail race start line.
The 50K/20 mile trail race start line.
Scott (the race director) leading the runners for the first mile of the race to the off road trails.
Scott (the race director) riding a cruiser bike and leading the runners for the first mile of the race to the off road trails.

After the long distance runners embarked on their day, we changed into our running attire, put our post run change of clothes into the car (which was parked right at the finish area) and ventured to the start line for our race.  I decided to go with my Coeur Chevron Tri Kit, arm warmers and gloves since it was 40F at race start.

Ready to run our first trail race.
Ready to run our first trail race.

The first mile of the course is on paved trails.  We entered the woods via Virgin Trail and began our single track race adventure.

Virgin Trail in Cedar Fall, Iowa
Virgin Trail in Cedar Fall, Iowa (photo courtesy of Runner’s Flat 50K Trail Run)

It didn’t thin out as much as I had hoped (although with only about 90 participants in the 10 mile event, it wasn’t super crowded) and when we entered the woods, I was the pace setter for about 6 other runners.  This was a lot of pressure on someone who is new to trail running and not entirely sure how to pace for a 10+ mile trail run.  I ran faster than planned for the first 3.5 miles, but I was ok with this pace…for now 😉

Approaching the first aid station
Approaching the first aid station (photo courtesy of Runner’s Flat 50K Trail Run)

Shortly before we exited the woods briefly for our first aid station (3.5 miles in), the lead pack of runners from the 50K and 20 mile distances passed us in the woods.  They were running around a 7:00/mile pace, which is smokin’ fast for me when I’m not in the woods…WOW!!  The crowds started to thin out at the first aid station, so when we went back into the woods, there were just a few us running together.  Overall, it was a really flat run (with only a few short climbs), but there were lots of twists and turns through the woods, not allowing our focus falter.  During the next 3 miles, I just kept thinking, “How awesome is this that I get to run in the woods and with such natural beauty?!?!?!  What a beautiful day!!!!”

Part of the 10 mile trail run course (photo courtesy of The Runner's Flat 50K Trail Run)
Part of the 10 mile trail run course (photo courtesy of The Runner’s Flat 50K Trail Run)

We approached the 2nd aid station at about mile 7.5, where we loaded up with water (The Iron Hippie downed some Coca Cola as well), before heading back into the woods.  At this point, my focus faltered just a bit.  I commented to the Iron Hippie that I hadn’t seen a pink flag recently.  Before the race started, Scott (the race director) told us we should see pink flags on our right throughout the whole race.  If we didn’t see a pink flag within a minute, we might be off course and may want to back track to see if we missed a turn somewhere.  I jumped a log and looked up to see if there was a pink flag off in the distance.  When I looked up, I tripped over a sapling stump and went down…HARD.  I was very grateful that I still had my gloves on to help break the fall.  The Iron Hippie said it was a great fall and that I did a good job of trying to roll out of it 😉  It didn’t feel like I rolled through anything though.

It wouldn't be a trail race if someone didn't eat dirt ;)
It wouldn’t be a trail race if someone didn’t eat dirt 😉

The last 3 miles were pretty uneventful as we ran back to the finish.  Since this was our first trail race, we set a PR as we crossed the finish line in 1:41:21.  I placed 44th out of 92 participants, 15th out of 47 women, and 8th out of 23 in my age group.  I’m pleased with these results since it was only 4 weeks post Ironman and my body is still a bit tired.  I know that with more training and better recovery post Ironman, I could have definitely done better.  Next time, I’ll be better trained, more rested and hopefully not fall 😉  I am already looking for the next trail race.

Have you ever run a trail race?  What is your favorite part about trail running?

My Run Essentials

With my first 10 mile trail race coming up on Saturday, October 11, I feel it is appropriate to share with you some of my running essentials…

  • Tri Kit…I am going with the Chevron Coeur kit for Saturday’s race.  I love the fit of a triathlon kit when I run.  I have less chafing with tighter fitting clothing.  I wore a Coeur kit for the marathon at Ironman Wisconsin and had ZERO chaffing.  The tight fit and seamless chamois are AH-MAZ-ING!!  I would HIGHLY recommend all women give them a try!!
  • Boco visor…it allows my head to ventilate, yet shade my face and absorb sweat.
  • Brooks Pure Flow running shoes with iBungee shoe laces keep my feet happy.  When my feet swell, the laces give in all the right places.
  • Road Runner Sports Drymax Socks…help prevent blisters and keep my feet happy.
  • Zoot race belt…fits just right on my hips and prevents the need for safety pins in my clothes.
  • Body Glide…to prevent chafing in all of the places you don’t want it.
  • Honey Stinger Chews pink lemonade flavor…just what I need for a boost of energy an hour into a run.
  • Bellweather Arm Warmers…on a cool morning when the low temperatures are predicted to be 42F at race start, these are essential.
  • Road ID…you never know when an accident may strike and emergency information is needed.
  • Nathan hand held water bottle…this allows me to carry hydration, nutrition and my cell phone while on long training runs.
  • Osmo Active Hydration…the women’s formula is great!!  It keeps me hydrated, and I had zero issues with salt imbalances at Ironman Wisconsin 2014 (even while exercising for 15:15:56).
  • iFitness fuel belt…it is a nice snug fit, expands to hold lots of goodies and doesn’t move or wiggle while you run.

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What are your run essentials?  What fun, fall races do you have planned?