It is done. A wave of calm has washed over out household. Last night I talked my husband’s ear off through dinner and we realized how stressed I was about doing this race. It was an 18 mile trail run, which was a big step for me. I trained to my best ability and feel really great about how it turned out.

This was my first time at the Pink Buffalo’s Hot Springs Trail Run. It starts 18 miles away from Belknap Hot Springs and you run back on a gorgeous trail.

Living in the desert I am not used to all of this green. It made the trail light up. The bridges were a lot of fun to pass. We crossed the river several times over these log bridges that felt natural. I can’t wait to come back to this trail for more exploring and running. It is only 1.5 hours from home and I can’t believe I hadn’t been here before. One of the things I love about trail running is how many different places I get to see that I haven’t otherwise had a chance to.

 

McKenzie Trail Bridge

The aid stations were stocked with everything you might want. Gel’s, bars, chips, PB&J, and Fruit. I stuck to my GU Gels (they had GU gels too), Honey Stinger Waffles, and I grabbed a banana at the last aid station. That banana was the most delicious thing in my entire life. I carried my own water and NUUN electrolytes, but I did grab a little water or Gatorade at 2 of the aid stations.

This is me trying to smile. I failed my task like Wednesday Adams

via GIPHY

After that first aid station the race really started for me. It always takes me several miles to feel warmed up and I got to the 5 mile race start right after they started. If I had known I would have pushed hard enough to get there before they started, but either way it might not have mattered. If I was there first, the fast people would have had to pass me. In getting there after, I had to pass people. It felt rude, but at the same time I didn’t want to slow down since I was going to be running for a long time already. So I forcefully pushed my way through. Just kidding, I tried to be as nice as I could.

This actually gave me a bit of a time boost and I had a couple of well paced miles. Plus it was nice to have all of the people around for a while.

I should mention that the race course had to be changed in the days leading up to the race due to snow. The first few miles still had snow on the trail that wouldn’t have been ideal for the event, so we ran passed the lodge for 4 miles and then back. It did make the last 4 miles a little more difficult with some small elevation gain, but I also enjoyed getting to pass by people. Encourage others and be encouraged and curse those who don’t say anything (look I was tired and it was a fun game, just say good job or something next time). It was all in my head, so no one even knows.

I am really looking forward to shorts and t-shirt weather so I am not bogged down with layers in these pictures! Just saying.

Both of my legs had dirt strips on the inside. Either the HOKA’s are big shoes or I am kicking myself when I run…or both.

The perfect finish line photo with the kids. They haven’t learned how to smile in photos yet. Maybe they never will.

After eating the great lunch provided by the event and soaking in the hot spring pools and taking a nap and eating again, we went to the secret gardens. It was a peaceful stroll through the woods.

We finished the evening with a delicious dinner at Mckenzie Bridge General Store. If you are in the area, check that place out!

In the end I had hoped to finish in under 3:30 and finished in 3:38. It was not too far off for my first longer trail run and I was really happy. The whole experience of the event was great and I think we will be planning to run it again next year.

The best part of this event, was not really about the event at all. I had wanted to run throughout the winter and hadn’t previously found the right motivation to run year round. This event was perfect. It was too long to go into it untrained and I wanted it to be a great experience. I really did run all winter hitting a couple of 30 mile weeks leading up to it.

Next up: Dirty Half. This is a sold out trail half marathon and it should be a lot of fun.