Race recap: Trail Series race 4

I used to sign up for races as “training” a lot but if I’m being honest, it wasn’t exactly training.

It was mostly signing up for staircase races, you know you put a big A goal on the calendar of say 100km, so you also schedule in a half marathon and a 50k on the way there to make yourself feel like you are training when you aren’t?

But since my little reboot recently and focus on actual training, I’ve been signing up for more races that are outside of my usual pattern.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not “racing” and can very comfortably resume training the next day. I’m going out on a long run where I don’t have to worry about getting lost or where the next water stop will be.

It’s 100% a privilege. Not everyone has the available time or money to just sign up for races all the time. So I’m super grateful when I can make it work and can take advantage of racing as a method of training.

In the lead up to Cairns, I’d been focused a lot on my nutrition in long races and tweaking that to ensure I was eating enough. For these shorter races, I feel like I have it dialled but I know for the next 10hr plus run I’ll have to make some adjustments as the sugar started to hurt my teeth!

I found during the past couple of races that I would epically loose my mental mojo on climbs. Even the short ones that other runners would be running. I was sure exactly what was causing it but I would just give up and was walking so slowly that everyone would pass me.

It was so frustrating and every time it happened I would get more and more upset with myself.

So I started researching mental skills for running because it wasn’t my legs or lungs causing me to sit on a rock and have a pity party.

I’m not sure if it’s the books I’ve been reading or my new friend Nintendo Switch but at this last race, I found myself so much more focused on the climb and can very proudly say I powered up them and got to the end super proud of how I got myself over the distance.

Video games for ultra training?

Speaking of video games, I also pac manned so many people at the end, in the last 3km of the race. I would see them up ahead, focus on catching and eating them and feel a little boost of energy when I did. It really was like playing Mario and getting that mushroom boost.

Most of the folks I caught weren’t even in my race (there were two shorter races on at the same time) or dudes, but you can’t tell that when you are chasing them.

I wasn’t the fastest, it wasn’t a PB, there wasn’t a medal but I had a great time and really got to play with some new skills.

Racing for training is the best! I’m sold!

Now, if you actually got this far and want to know about the race or course, I’m sorry for the waffle.

Each year, Rapid Ascent run a trail series of three different distances that they dub a short, medium and long. There’s 5-6 races, all within an hour radius of Melbourne.

The courses are fantastic entry level races (no technical craziness or mountains), the support is water only but the courses are perfectly marked and the start finish line has a great vibe.

There are no medals or swag for each race, only if you sign up for the whole lot and it’s a cup free event (as are most in Victoria).

This event was the last in the series, based out at Silvan and I ran the 21k which was the long course option.

It was a great looped course that had a great variety of trails and didn’t feel overly long in any section. There was muddy single track, forest roads and some fire trails.

The lack of aid stations might have made some new runners concerned but as always I had all my stuff with me (the ultraspire pack is not for me I’ve decided) and it wasn’t overly warm so running out of water between water spots wasn’t going to be a problem.

Another race where I took away a lot of learnings.

  • Ultraspire pack is not for me
  • Video games are also great training
  • Extra fuel on any uphill
  • Add more resistance training, your pictures look like crap!
  • Focusing on your race actually works
  • Be grateful, it’s cheesy but you’ll have a much better time out there!

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