Race Recap: Mountains to Sea 12M

I raced the Mountains-to-Sea 12M on April 9. The MST is a really unique trail - it's 1,175 miles and runs from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The trail race benefits the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail, which works to build and maintain the trail. The MST is a wonderful, runnable single track trail - not too steep, not too rocky, and not so narrow that you can't pass when you need to. The course runs along Falls Lake and loops back and forth over various streams and rivers without a lot of elevation change. Plus, April in North Carolina is SO nice for trail running - it's warm without being oppressive, and the trees are starting to leaf in, providing some shade. Can't recommend it enough! The short summary is: I was slow but had a wonderful time. Feeling very psyched about "real" training again.

Goals

None - The last time I ran this race, I was just a few weeks away from setting my marathon PR at the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon. This year, my expectations were modest. My longest run before this race was just 10 miles. 

Pre-race

Work/life factors converged and so, while I did manage to get a couple Gus for the race, I forgot about pre-race breakfast and made do with Cheerios and plain yogurt and 1/4 of a banana (all that was left) -- and NO coffee. Thankfully, once I arrived in the shopping plaza where we were waiting for the race shuttle, I ducked into a Starbucks for a coffee and one of their bazillion calorie breakfast breads, which I ate on the shuttle on the way to the start.

It was about 39 at the start but quickly warmed up to the high 50s. I wore my Nike crops with a short sleeve shirt and kept a long sleeve shirt on until just before the start. Their drop bag system made it easy to keep extra clothes on until the last possible second.

The race

I felt fantastic at the start and enormously grateful to be running without any back pain! I was nervous for the first few miles -- the 10 miler I had done two weeks ago took me two whole hours (!!!!) and I was worried about being LAST or wanting to drop out but not being able to (since it's a point-to-point course). But after the 3 or 4 mile mark I settled in. I noticed to my relief that I wasn't having any back pain like I did at Little River.

No falls, though at one point I wrenched my ankle pretty hard, but after a few minutes it felt fine again. I finished in 2:20 something, an 11+ min/mile pace. Woah. I'm not as fast as I used to be (yet) but things are starting to click. Pain is gone - check. I'm logging more miles finally - check. Speed will come. 

Next up

  • I need a fresh pair of shoes -- I stay a version behind (to save $), so I'm excited to try the "new" Saucony Guide 9s.
  • I'm putting together a rough plan for the next few weeks to keep building up mileage to a consistent 20+ mpw.  I also need to re-start my PT exercises I was given -- I've completely fallen off of doing them. 
  • I also want to get a date on the calendar for a goal half and then get my training plan going!