Well that happened!
This week I officially ran my first race. 11.7ks of amazingly beautiful trails in Plenty, Victoria; as part of the Salomon Trail Running Series.
Considering this was my first race (in Winter) and in the bush- I had a tonne of concerns and questions. Some of them were silly:
Q. Should I pack a snake bandange?
A. No, it's freezing. Snakes will be hibernating.
Q. Should I run in shorts?
A. Are you insane?!
Q. What if I fall in the river?
A. You'll get wet.
I must thank my new friend Relle for her responses one day... Especially for some if the invaluable advice she offered for race day:
- Warm up well beforehand. Squats, Jumping Jacks, NO STRETCHING!
- This will be tough, tough tough on your body. Look after it.
- And my favorite "WOO HOO YOU DID IT, now FEAST"
I'm glad my snake concerns were averted because upon waking the temperature was into the negatives, and it turned out to be the coldest Melbourne Morning in 18 years.
Trail shoes were a GOOD investment. I'm glad I spent the money on my shoes, for the grip on muddy rocks alone.
I need more hill training. Getting your ass whooped by a hill is demoralizing. I had done limited hill training but a minor injury had put me on the sidelines for the past few weeks. I'm feeling great now, so hills come at me!
Running isn't all about the times, it's about the run. I'm glad I was slow enough to look around me. Plenty Gorge had stunning scenery, kangaroos, and galahs, and it was just divine. The frigid, misty morning made it something out of an oil-painting.
Runners are awesome! I wasn't prepared for the positivity and energy of race morning - that's something else! So many encouraging, happy, smiling runners. What was even more awesome was how encouraging and fun people were on course!
It's OK to go slow.I'm a plodder. My pace is slow. I subscribe to the maxim that I'm the world's Okayest runner, and that's perfectly awesome for me. The serious, faster runners go and do their thing (I'm in awe, I seriously am!) but remaining on the course are a bunch of fun, encouraging slower runners running the exact same race.
Running is for everyone! I met a woman who had just had a knee and hip replacement, and running was her therapy. I met a young girl running her first trail. I met a coach pulling her team along. Everyone was ready to offer a word of encouragement as they passed or were passed by.
The Trails are so damned refreshing. Pretty much all of my training and running has been done on roads or tracks so far. Getting into the bush, hearing the birds, sliding about on the mud, and plunging into an icy cold river was about the most mindset refreshing thing I've done all year.
Big props to the support and enthusiasm of the amazing, Jo, Emma, Fiona, and Nicky, I'm looking directly at you!! Running is way more fun with a cheer squad.
Main photo credit: Salomon Trail Running