Get wet. Get dirty. Run Dogwood.

Yesterday was THE day.  The day I had been waiting for.  The day I had been training for.  The day I sacrificed blood and sweat for.  The day I spent the last 12 Saturday mornings on the trails for.  It was Dogwood.  And it was amazing.

I haven’t been this jacked for a race in a long time.  Part of it was the fact that it was a new challenge: 25K and a trail race.  Part of it was this amazing running family I’ve discovered.  I felt so ready.  I was ready.  Even now, feeling how my body responded after the race, I KNOW I was ready.  I’m not sure I could have trained any harder.  I was prepared.  And I am so thankful for that because this race is NOT the kind you want to jump into unprepared.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Here’s an elevation snapshot:

Dogwood Elevation

The course: beautiful.  Picturesque.  Stunning.  There aren’t enough words to describe how the leaves looked and how well maintained it was.  Perfect.

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I didn’t stop to take many pictures, mostly because I was too busy feeling amazing.  It’s been a while since I felt THAT prepped for a race and that good in general.  Eventually my glutes started to get tired and my shoulders started to tense but after 16.5 miles, I feel like that’s to be expected.

The event directors were amazing.  The volunteers were amazing.  The course aide was amazing.  Everything was top notch.  I can’t wait to do this again.  I may take on the challenge (15K and 25K on back to back days) but I haven’t decided yet.  I do know that I’m going to be there again next year and I’ll be counting the days!

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Lessons from the trail

3 weeks.  That’s how far out I am from Dogwood.  I’ve been struggling mentally, wondering how on earth I was going to complete it.  My fuel has been messing with my stomach, my will power is tanking.  But I’ve still gotten out there every weekend so at least there’s that.

Saturday morning when my alarm went off at 4:45am, I wasn’t feeling it.  I had my coffee and my breakfast but just felt “meh”.  I kissed fiance goodbye and he told me he was proud of me.  My drive down to Busiek that’s what I thought about.  That he’s proud of me.

Not proud of my speeds or distance.  Proud of ME.  The work I’m putting in.  ME.  I made a resolve to leave it out there and run MY run.  Not anyone else’s.  MINE.

I felt awesome.  Strong and focused.  I CRUSHED it.  It didn’t and still doesn’t matter that my pace was much faster than my previous 14 mile run (this weekend was 15 miles).  I proved to myself that I have much more in me that I think I do.  Before when I thought I couldn’t go any further, I stopped.  I rested.  And it didn’t do me any favors.  This week I kept moving.  I dug deep and trudged on.

It paid off.

I’ve got so much more in me than I thought I did before that run.  And now I know.  I just have to keep moving.

Hot, Hot, HOT.

Weather Shot

This is my life right now. We are currently in a heat advisory, now through Sunday. And guess what tomorrow is? Long run Saturday! Training for a trail race, there is no substitute for getting out on the trails, so I have no choice but to make sure my butt makes it to the 6:30AM training group tomorrow.

Training in the heat and humidity is a different beast. You need to be SO careful. I normally run 9:40-10:00 minute miles on the road. This was my yesterday:

Humid RunKeeper

Slooooooooooooooooooow. But you know what? It’s ok. Why? BECAUSE I DIDN’T DIE. So that’s a huge plus. I ran out of water around 4.5-5 miles. And then experienced a few chills. When you start getting chills, it’s time to say game over, throw in the towel, get a cold drink and call it a run. But I was so miserable the rest of the day. Headaches, body aches, you name it. Not ok. I know better.

If you’re in a part of the country experiencing this heat, be safe! Listen to your body, take more water than you think you might need and let someone know where you are! Take shade breaks, walk breaks, whatever you need. Allow yourself to be slower than normal because it’s totally ok! Dying is not ok.

Stay safe, runners!

A Weekend of Firsts!

What a fantastic weekend in the Ozarks!  I experienced so many new things that I haven’t ever tried.

 

A friend of mine and I decided to try out stand up paddle boarding.  We had no idea what to expect when we headed down to Branson on Saturday morning.  The people at White River Kayaking were so helpful and gave us many tips on where to paddle to in order to get our bearings, what creeks would be nice to go up and how to not get run over by a boat.  We spent two hours on Lake Taneycomo, paddling around near the Branson Landing and checking it out.  If you know the lake, you know it is COLD.  The owner of WRK warned us we did not want to end up in the water.  Unfortunately for my friend, she did!  FORTUNATELY for her, she was wearing the GoPro and all of it was captured here.  There’s definitely a little bit of language in the video but it’s pretty funny.

Paddle Board

 

Sunday morning was all about new things!  My first group run, my first training run for Dogwood, my first time at Busiek, my first time on a real trail and my first time in my Mizuno Wave Kazans.  It also had rained the night before so the trails were muddy.  And of course it rained as soon as we got there.  By the end, my clothes were SOAKED but I had a blast!  I definitely enjoyed the dynamic of running in a group and the tips I got from seasoned trail vets were so valuable.  I feel like I’m getting more comfortable off the road and was able to dominate the less technical portions.

 

Walking up the steep inclines is definitely for the best, walking down them is definitely something I will need to continue doing for now as well.

Busiek climb

Bug spray is an absolute must.  The parts of my body that I missed with borrowed bug spray are paying for it.  My quads ache today.  That feeling of accomplishment though…that’s something.  I can’t wait to get out there again.  My new shoes were PHENOMENAL.  Mizuno does it again!

 

Wave Kazan

 

Look at all that mud!  I only almost lost my shoe +/- 3 times.

 

Did you try something new this weekend?  How did it go?

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