Some days running is a struggle and I don’t like it very much. You know the days I’m talking about – time passes slowly and it is hard to put one foot in front of the other. You question the activity. Other days I love running so much that when it’s time for me to stop I just want to keep running and I feel like I’m on top of the world. Running at Ravenna, part of the Trail to Grill Series by Northwest Trail Runs, gave me one of those days when I loved running. The course was both beautiful and challenging.
I ran the 12k, which was three loops. Oftentimes I hate running loops because I get bored and it feels like the run is never going to end. Ravenna was different. It was really helpful to run loops because I knew the course so well that I could always tell where I was and what was coming up next. The twists and turns and ups and downs were no longer a surprise, but instead were a welcoming and familiar. I could prepare for the ups, get excited about the downs, and enjoy the ride of the zig-zag course through the ravine.
Before Ravenna my last race was the Woodland Park Zoom 10k so I was a little nervous. My workouts have been going well and my mileage has been increasing, but even after I have gotten over my illness I can still tell that it takes my body longer to recover than usual. The additional intensity and mileage along with the fact that Ravenna was my eighth day in a row running (usually I run six and then cross-train) made me a little uneasy as to how I could handle a 12k at a harder effort. I had a few goals for the race but none were time-oriented since it was a trail run.
- Don’t start out too fast
- Don’t let the third loop be the slowest
- Work the downhill more than the uphill
Here’s a brief summary of how the race went compared to my goals:
I definitely started out too fast. I got too competitive from the start and regretted it when I went up the first major hill. Even though I scouted the course a week earlier and (which was a HUGE benefit), I was still surprised at what a challenge the hills were. When I scouted the course I walked it, and it felt much different to run it.
My first loop was the fastest and my second loop was the slowest. I felt pretty good about my third loop and thought I had a strong finish – especially after having a start that was too fast.
One of my major weaknesses, especially during trail runs, is running downhill. I wanted to use this race as a way to practice and I ended up feeling really good about the downhill sections. As for the uphill parts, I tried to just lock into a good rhythm and work on pumping my arms and keeping my form.
I ended up winning, which was really nice.
Overall the race and the experience was a great time. The location was perfect, the weather was perfect, and the food was a perfect wrap-up for the evening. Going off of the vibes I got from fellow racers, they thought so too.