I’m still riding this wave of training for fun and not because I have a race coming up. I do have some races coming up, but they are runs, not triathlons, and with my Ironman experiences, I pretty much feel like I can up and do damn near any race distance on just a base level of fitness. That sounds arrogant, I know, but I’ve learned that racing is largely mental, and my head has carried me through quite a few times. To push myself a bit this winter, I’ve signed up for a 50K trail race. That’s a whole new playing field for me, and it will be a challenge even if I’m at my fittest. Between the uneven surface and it being the longest distance I will ever have done on foot, I’ll need to be ready mentally and physically. To me, that’s super exciting.
The race is in December, but I’ve already started getting myself ready. I rejoined my trail running group, so that I have regular runs on the trails. The distances during our Tuesday night runs tend to be fairly short – under five miles – but as I get more confident and faster on the trails, I’ll be able to up those some. And as the weather cools a bit, I’ll start doing longer runs on the weekends. I’ll need to. I expect thirty miles on the trails to be much, much tougher than 30 miles on a road.
Another fun thing I’m doing to prep is a Ragnar trail race in the hill country this October. We have a team through my trail-running group. Our team name? Tractor Beams of Hotness. It’s clearly one I did not choose, as I’ve never viewed or called myself “hot.” That takes more guts and personality than I have. My self-image has improved as I’ve gotten older, but I’m still a long ways from singing my praises where looks are concerned, even in jest. But can I say that I love the energy of the girls who originally formed the team and picked the name and invited me to participate? They are funny and kind. All of them. Even the super fast ones. I love this group, and I’m totally looking forward to the event and camping with these girls in the hill country. Hopefully the temperatures will have cooled a bit by then.
The other thing I’m doing is reading as much as I can and watching as many videos as I can about trail running. A trail running film festival is what got me started on even the possibility of this 50K race. And I’ve discovered that lots of trail running shoe companies have little videos that promote their shoes, and those videos show people doing amazing things on the trails. I can’t imagine ever moving like the pros in those videos, but I’m fascinated by how they cross daunting terrain. They aren’t running as much as they are flying, it seems. From what I’ve seen, I think I need to loosen up on the trails and try running across surfaces that I tend to want to carefully navigate, particularly the downhills. Would it be easier/safer/faster to take one or two quick steps where I might be more inclined to take six or seven more cautious ones? I think maybe, but I’ll figure that out as I run more and more.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Trail running is where my head is these days. And it’s super fun, even with the 50K deadline in December. Maybe as the race nears, I’ll become a little more fearful. For now though, I’m just excited and having fun.