Yesterday I found myself running my first 50k trail run. I was determined to make this a good experience and was not disappointed. Along the trails I noticed how much more friendly people were than when racing on the roads. The biggest thing I noticed was the positive energy that came from my fellow runners (even the ones running the 50 and 100 miles) that I came in contact with.
This race was out on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. If you have ever had a chance to go out there you know how scenic it is. There are buffalo, antelope, coyotes, and foxes all over the place out there. One scary part of the race was when I was just leaving the half way point aid station and an antelope came charging across the field, almost hitting me. That initially scared me at first but than the thought came to mind that maybe it was running from a cougar, but luckily I did not see one.
The last half was definitely difficult, and seemed to be the start of a different race.
Around mile 18 I started to cramp up really bad in my quads and hamstrings. I was able to push through these by taking electrolyte tablets and lightly stretching along the trail. I found that I was not as obsessed with my time as I was more worried about being able to finish strongly. This seemed to be the mentality of most of the runners during this race. If you ever get a chance to attempt a trail race, or an ultra marathon I would encourage you to give it a shot. I found the environment to be much more positive than the typical road race. Almost anyone can train for a road race, but trail running is much different and takes a lot of patience. This race was just a gateway for me as I will be seeking out more trail runs in the future.
This was just after the starting line as the crowd (around 200 people) headed up the trail.
Here I am coming in towards the finish. I was exhausted! But could hardly wait to see my cheering family!
I was very tired in this picture, I just wanted to sit down. I was fortunate to have some dry clothes to put on over my running clothes at the end. Even though the sun was shining (as you can tell by myself squinting) I got really cold at the end. My daughter just wanted to sit with me (I think the fact that I gave her a cookie had something to do with that).