Rocks and Roots Trail Run Review 1/12/14

My first trail run/race today. I learned a LOT this morning running this trail race!

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This was totally AFTER the race AND a shower…

First of all, it was a lot of fun! This race had 5 different distances – 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k, 50k – and we all know I signed up for the 20k. This was the 2nd year of this running series (they will have one more race in February). I knew it was going to be muddy. I knew there would be ROCKS. And I knew there would be ROOTS. Let’s just say it really isn’t called ‘Rocks and Roots’ for nothin’. Before the race, as we were standing around a little campfire, I was talking with another runner who had done these races last year. I guess I really should read up on stuff more because I didn’t know this (but learned it from this fellow runner), that it was actually a bike trail. Fleet Feet is actually building/making/creating/digging an actual running trail that they will eventually use for the races. It is on the other side of the reservoir and right now, they just have a few training runs on the “new” path and then after the run, they work on the path. (I might be finding myself going to church on Saturday nights now so that I can join them Sunday mornings…)

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So anyway, that’s a little background detail.

It was good weather for a race in January! No snow and not too cold.

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So i’m signed up for the 20k. The people who were running the 30k, 40k, and 50k, left at 8:00. I really did not think there would be THAT many crazies people running that distance, but lo and behold, this is how many crazies people ran that distance today! But I totally admire them for going the distance. And who knows, maybe one day – in the far future – I’ll join them. (No one hold your breath though…)

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The 20k-ers started right at 8:15. I didn’t even use my watch phone Nike app because 1. it was taking too long to get signal and 2. I just decided I wasn’t going to even worry about time because this was new for me and if I see how slow I am, it might depress me. So. That was that. But I knew we started at 8:15 because I did take my phone and checked the time. Thank you to my friends from Clif for the box of goodies they sent me on Friday, because I took the Shot Bloks that had xtra caffeine with a shot of a cup of coffee with me, and ate 2 during the race. I really like them and they work and don’t upset my stomach! I had also FINALLY bought a waist belt because I knew I would use it for this race because I didn’t want to carry much in case I ended up in a mud pit. I was glad I did.

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I also carried my water bottle with watermelon Nuun – SO glad Fleet Feet carries the watermelon, because I haven’t been able to find it ANYWHERE!!!!!

Ok, now to the good parts – and the confessions. I’ll just come right out with it. I didn’t run 20k. I ran the 10k. As soon as this run hits the trails, it was HILLS. HILLS. The first thing I learned on this run: I will not complain about the “hills” at Sharon Woods park any more. Those aren’t freakin’ hills. They are speed bumps. Now in reality, the hills weren’t like mountains or anything, but when they are complete mud and “rocks and roots”, it ain’t no regular run. And there were a lot of these “hills”. There was definitely some stopping and going so people could get down a mudslide or across a “bridge” or just plain through the mud. When I say mud, I mean MUD. 

Exhibit A.

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Obviously, I learned that I need to do some “hill work”. Ya think?!

The second thing I learned – and I hope you realize how much it pains me to say this – I learned that maybe (MAYBE) The Hus might SOMETIMES know me better than I know myself. He told me I should only do the 10k because my lungs and chest are still getting over that cold I had. He might’ve been kinda right. My chest was tight and sore at the end.

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He really is my biggest supporter though. Even if I did make him get up on a Sunday at the crack of dawn to watch me run. Team Gilson.

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Anyways, before his head gets too big, moving on. I decided pretty early on that I was just going to go 1 time around the loop for the 10k distance. (This is acceptable and they tell you it’s ok as long as you let them know so they aren’t waiting on you or have to go looking for you. And when I finished and told them, I wasn’t the first one to just do the 10k after signing up for the 20k.)

Overall, I’m glad I signed up for this race. As much as I wished I would have just “sucked it up and done the 20k”, I’m glad that I didn’t. I’m using it as a race where I learned what “trail running” really is, and now I know that I need to do it more in training if I want to actually race a trail run again. Which, if the weather is anything like today, in February, I will do it again. But I’ll sign up for the 10k. 😉 I’m now nursing my left knee – the side/back of my knee is pretty sore right now. And I have to say, that 6 miles felt like more of a total body workout than running my 6 miles at Sharon Woods or Antrim park! You really are using your whole body to maneuver through the mud and trees and “rocks and roots”. 😉

Yep, I totally tried to take a few pictures of the trail for ya, but they didn’t quite turn out… :/

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This would be a pretty FALL run!

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Blurry, but you can see where the “roots” part of the race name comes from…

As I was going through some of the race pictures on Fleet Feet’s FB page, I came across this and I think I love it.

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“Don’t hate the hills…hate the race director!”

PS2 got me just about to cross the finish line.

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Oh, so ya. I finished at 9:38 – 1:23.

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At the end of the day, I had fun running this race, I learned a lot about myself and trail running, and I would/will definitely do this race again! Here’s to hoping February is just as nice!

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