Dear BRUTAL Florida Humid Hot Summer Running, I’m glad we are breaking up until next year! Holy hotness, were the words I would use to describe the final race of my Summer Trail Series that was sponsored by my local running club, Gulf Winds Track Club.
Last Saturday morning we geared up, sprayed down (with bug spray) and hit the trail for the final race of our 4-race series that I used to keep me running through the summer. I was excited and sad to see it come to and end. Running with some special friends during these really hard (to me) races just kept me going and pushing forward. Even though each course had a different degree of difficulty, and to me they were all really hard, I finally found a love for the extreme running that comes with hitting the off-road trail out of my norm from running on the road (sidewalks) and when I have great friends that will race with me, I’m in for future trail races and runs for sure!
Here are some lessons I took away from this year’s series –
- Never underestimate your abilities. Right after signing up for the series, I was immediately nervous about the races. I heard horror stories about the difficult trails and watched people fall several times during the races. But, when I actually got out there to race I realized it was just another progression that was needed in my running journey. We don’t have to love something to learn positive things from it. I learned that those difficult courses made me more aware and work harder even if my pace was much slower than road running and that was OK! We don’t have to be speedy fast on the trail, we just have to get out there and enjoy the beauty of it.
- Proper gear is IMPERATIVE! I started the season without hydration during the races and I really struggled through my first 2 races. I was in Alaska for Race 3, but when I arrived back home and ran in Race 4 I was thankful for my new Orange Mud HydraQuiver that was perfect for the 5.5 mile course. It’s more difficult to have water stations in several spots along single-track courses, so you really must plan ahead. Also, SHOES are so important! I ran the trail series with my Mizuno Wave Kazans and never thought a second about foot pain or injury. They offered the perfect tread for traversing some of the more difficult parts of the trails and I was thankful to have them each run.
- Bring a Friend, Run with a Smile. I was so excited that so many of our Tallahassee Chapter, Moms RUN This Town members participated in this year’s series. Only one race did I find myself alone but I was really ecstatic to have my friend Leanne by my side for Race 1 and Race 4. She helped push through the defeatist thoughts and kept my eye on the finish. Talking, walking, laughing and running, that’s just how we started and finished the series. Yes, there were a little “what the heck were we thinking in this heat” moments, but the fun we had far outweighed any negativity we experienced.
Our series had a great event coordinator, amazingly supportive volunteer staff that always cheered us forward and some really great sponsors that donated gear and food for all of us to enjoy. So long to the trail for this Summer, but I’ll be back next year!
Ending my Summer race season only means that it’s time to look forward to Fall Half Marathon Season with my first race less than a month away. This means many more early morning runs in my future, while still trying to beat the Florida humidity or shall I say, not letting it beat me!
Until next time, wishing you Happy Miles and Swift Feet! xo