So let me tell you something about trail races…. they humble you.
Over the past year I have really improved my times and this naturally makes me very happy. When running already makes me happy and then I see I am getting better at it … “happy happy happy”. 🙂
Trails are a lil different, however. I found at the last one I did (my first) that I liked the “being out in nature” aspect more than anything. The races are pretty small and you’re surrounded by others who are navigating crazy trails (squeezed) alongside you and it’s just a lot of fun.
But they are HARD. The challenging terrain makes it more B-A than a road race, in my opinion. I find my heart race scales much quicker than when I’m out on the road, and I feel it’s an overall better workout. But… I am a heck of a lot slower. I realized I can’t have a goal time in mind because you never know what obstacle you might find along the race …
Which brings me to the Xterra Claw 5 miler that I did in Lithia, FL.
I signed up after falling in love at the Trout Creek trail race, and ran 6 miles a few days prior to make sure the endurance was there. (I’m telling you…after my half marathon, my mileage stays content around 3)
I convinced my SIL to sign up as well so we could both be crazy and enjoy the activity we love. Race morning, I had no anxiety or fears. Just ready to tackle another race and I was ready to own it! I felt like I was in enough shape to run really well (for me).
My race photographer -hubadubs- drove us to the state park after a minor detour because who doesn’t want to explore Lithia a little (aka we got lost) and SIL and I headed up to the start line.
This course was the coolest and craziest. I clearly need to explore Florida more because I get so settled in the fact that all we have are beaches and flatness and wahh wahh how nice it would be for different scenery ….
We ran through grass as tall as my head, waded through two streams (the second one the water was up to our chest!), bobbed and weaved over and under branches, criss-crossed through tall skinny trees (where a coolness welcomed us! It exists in FL!), and politely helped each other up steep inclines (I had to use trees to pull me up out of some tough times).
The kind blonde lady was telling me to “run” to the right side where it’s not as deep and muddy… nuts! (Pic taken from actual race photog- pics were free, bonus!)
I asked the photog if it at least LOOKED like I was running. He said no.
Humbling moments: my heart rate was insane and reminded me I can always get in better shape, I took multiple walking breaks (a sin to me at road races), I threw down a Gatorade cup in frustration at a water stop when there was like a 5 year old picking up after everyone (a low moment), too many people passed me towards the end, and I totally blew up my ankle about 100 ft from the finish line. Go Molly!
Thankfully, I was still smiling as I crossed the finish line. It may not have been my “best race” but it was an experience like no other. And I had my husband there being the #1 supporter/fan that he is to document it all 🙂
After 2 pastries (I seriously hate pastries but it sounded really good at the time?) and incorrectly guessing the largest fresh water lake in America with the SIL (we were hoping to win a prize), we headed home to RICE (rest-ice-compress-elevate!)
Me and my matching-shoes-SIL post-adventure through the woods. She did awesome!!
I thought this race was a lot of fun and well organized. I will say, they changed the start time a few days prior, and this caused confusion for a lot of people. Other than that no complaints … trails are where it’s at if you want to challenge yourself in the running department 🙂
Exploring the woods: yay or nay?
Do you abuse parentheses? Because I noticed I do this a lot (and I don’t care!)