CONTENT WARNING: This post is in the “Race Reports” category. Do not go digging through that category if you find calorie counting or weight discussions triggering. As I’ve been trying to clean up this website from all of the hacked spam links I was painfully reminded how many old race reports discuss my diet/weight/calories as part of training etc. That was E.D. Kim. Any race report from here on out will not be like that, but I wanted to warn anyone that the category itself is not a “safe place” so to speak.
I’ve been doing a lot of hiking lately. Partly because it’s movement I enjoy (in cooler weather) and I can just walk out my front door and hit some nice local trails without a lot of planning/thinking. But also partly because I was getting my trail legs back under me for an event that I had signed up for. It was a 7’ish mile trail event that started at the base of one of our mountains (I feel like I should put that in quotes too for some of you who live in the Rockies or even the Smokies!) and climbs 1,000 feet to the top to the overlook at our state park, and then you come back down. I did it 2 years ago and really enjoyed it and thought it the PERFECT event to do because it fit in my normal activity level so I wouldn’t have to actually train. AND! The cutoff time was pretty hiker-friendly. AND! I didn’t actually care about making the cutoff time because they give you the shirt before the race.
Note: I’ll be forever (I’m assuming) avoiding anything that requires that I follow any sort of training schedule because the logging of runs/miles in training would be very triggering to old disordered behaviors around mile/calorie tracking.
My general activity level lately has been an almost-daily 30 minute PokéWalk, usually around the historic cemetery near my house, and a long 5-7 mile hike on the weekends. My hope is that that means I can sign up for any event 5-7 miles that has a cool shirt and I won’t really have to train at all. Since I’m walking I may run into problems with cutoff times at some events, but most of the time you get your shirt at the packet pickup before so who cares!
This was my first event in 2 years. And let me tell you: I forgot how fun start lines are! I got to see so many friends I hadn’t seen in 3 dimensions since before the pandemic. It filled my heart so much.
I had two friends that both were just out to enjoy the day so they opted to stay and hike with me instead of running the race and I’m so glad they did. We just did a casual hike up the mountain, took us about 90 minutes to do the 3.5 miles up. We got in some great group conversations with other women (I love race convos that happen in the back of the pack) and just enjoyed being in the woods on a nice Autumn day.
But as I started thinking about coming back down, especially because I know these trails really well, I warned my group: “Hey, I might want to run down Sinks because I honestly think it may be easier to run than walk.”
One thing about trail running, you weirdly realize that once you get your trail legs under you…some downhills are actually easier to go faster. There’s something about the flow of hopping/jogging on a steep trail that feels more natural than the weird stutter-steps you have to do when you are walking. It doesn’t work on trails where you need hand-holds, obviously. And too many rocks don’t give you a lot of surfaces to quickly place your feet…but once you get used to downhill trail running you learn to spot the trails that are actually easier to run than walk. Over the last 2 years that’s probably the only regular running I’ve done…the random stretch of downhill trail that I just find easier to run than walk.
SO WE DID! I ran down Sinks which is probably about a half-mile stretch of pretty steep downhill…and it was so fun! It took me about another half-mile of flat trail walking after that to catch my breath…but it was worth it for the “WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!!” element of downhill trail running. It made me SOOO happy. Especially this one trail because it’s used in a lot of races and so it’s full of great memories and it was just a lovely half mile of pure trail joy.
There were a few other fun downhill spots we took advantage of on the way back, just enough that we were set to make the 3-hour cutoff VERY easily. So easily that we were almost about to cross before Nikki got there to see me so I stopped 50 yards from the finish line to wait on her to get there!
I don’t know element of the day showed how serious I took my event time:
- Catching Pokémon on the way up the mountain.
- Taking selfies at the overlook with my race buds
- Stopping 50 yards from the finish line to track my daughter’s dot as she drove to the park to make sure she could get pictures of us crossing the finish line.
Either way it was tons of fun and I was thrilled to be back out in the woods with friends. My favorite photo is me excitingly waving to my daughter when I saw her at the finish line. DORK.
It was a great day with some great ladies at a great event. Even if we hadn’t jogged a bit of that downhill we still would have finished around the 3-hour cutoff so I’ll probably try to do that event every year.