Trail Running: Practice Makes Practice

I’m a city girl learning to become a trail runner.

I have 20 half-marathons and seven full marathons — all road races — to my name.

Now that I’m in full-out-ultra-training mode, running the Anchorage Marathon in June seems like a piece of cake. (Yes, please quote me come April/May!)

Despite “being a runner” since high school, I am terrified for my upcoming race, my first 50K. It’s a trail race north of Seattle near Bellingham. The Chuckanut 50K. It’s a well known one within the trail running community of these parts, so people tell me.

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Last Sunday — yes, on Valentine’s Day — Bryce and I decided to test out the course. We ran 18 of the roughly 30-mile course together. (These 18 miles are the hardest part of the entire race. The other 12 are more or less flat on an urban trail into/away from town).

We did complete it so I guess it’s safe to say that I can do it. But, it wasn’t easy. Some parts we walked for a long while. A few parts of the trail were so technical (for me) that I had to tip-toe my way around/over large rocks so as not to slip off a ledge. And the rain from the past few days left for a lot of mud everywhere.

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You race like you practice, right?

We averaged our run at 15 minute pace. If I run the entire 50K at that pace, it would clock me in just under 8 hours — which is the race cut-off time.

This will be interesting.

Practice makes perfect, right?

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So, on race day, I will perfectly hop over logs and maneuver smoothly between large rocks. I won’t get lost. I’ll know when to push myself on the downhills and when to save my energy on long stretches.

At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

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I practiced, but I am still pretty terrified. On race day, I won’t have my valentine with me, encouraging me every step of the way. (He’ll be there, but racing at his own pace).

If this felt like the hardest run I have ever done, what will the actual 50K feel like?

I’ll let you know next month! (Eeeeeek!)

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8 thoughts on “Trail Running: Practice Makes Practice

  1. Pingback: Ultra training: Last long run before the real run – Ready, set, KO!

  2. Pingback: Night before my first ultra: thoughts, many thoughts – Ready, set, KO!

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