This weekend I had the chance to head out of town a little bit and participate in a trail race in Pagosa Springs. My friend and I initially signed up for the half marathon distance this spring and between her getting pregnant, me getting injured and running programs getting slightly de-railed…I ended up doing the race with another friend, and the 10K distance. A lesson in listening to your body and being flexible I guess.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day to run. We headed out of town bright and early (it was actually DARK and early) and headed west to Pagosa. Fueled with waffles with peanut butter and coffee to-go…we were ready. The fun part about this race is through all of our ups and downs in this training period, we were really just there to have fun and get a good run in. Living in the valley now, I don’t often get the opportunity to run trails or hills, so I knew it wouldn’t be a PR race by any means.
We pulled off the road during our drive to soak in the beautiful morning scenery around Wolf Creek Pass. The low clouds and the trees were almost mystical! It was a good stretch break too!
Once we got into town, we checked into the race and got our socks. We are totally “we run for the shirt” kind of girls, so it took us some time to get excited about dancing chilies socks they gave us instead of t-shirts. But we decided to wear them and join in the spirit of the Mountain Chili Cha Cha! We huddled in the car for a while to stay warm, and then did the typical pre-run bathroom stop, running shoe/people watching and a little warm-up stretch before we took off up the trail. It was about 60 degrees and slightly overcast: the perfect running weather!
We love our Brooks Running Shoes!
The race itself was challenging but completely beautiful. While I was huffing and puffing I had such a huge appreciation for trail running, and the experience made me yearn for those weekend trail runs I had become so accustomed to. We walked some on the hills, and there were times we were a little backed up on the single-track trail, but overall, we just really enjoyed running somewhere new and giving ourselves a new challenge. Trail runners are a special group of people and it was fun to be running with a group so encouraging and friendly.
We both actually realized halfway through the race that although we have both spent most of our lives in CO – this was our first real TRAIL race! While we were clipping (ok – sometimes plodding) along, we both agreed that we were SUPER glad we weren’t doing the half marathon! Quite a bit more training would have been required for that one, and the 10K was the perfect challenge. We finished strong, as the last mile or so was either flat or down hill, so it felt good to push it across the finish line and not feel like completely wimps. We placed about halfway through around 60 participants so we were pleased with that too.
Jamie and I at the finish line!
I spent most of the race (ok all of it) absolutely starving so we headed out to find some post-race grub after enjoying the finish line water, oranges and potato chips (heck yeah Cha Cha race organizers…yum!) While waiting for restaurants to open for lunch, we walked along the San Juan River and even spent some time soaking our tired feet in the chilly waters! We didn’t visit the hot springs resort – but we smelled them and walked by to check them out.
It’s not a race unless you celebrate with a margarita – so that was the first thing we ordered when we finally got seated on the beautiful patio overlooking the river. We enjoyed our drinks and some grub, and then walked around town a little longer before heading out.
On the way home, we stopped for a mini-hike up to see Treasure Falls at the base of Wolf Creek Pass. It was just a short walk from the parking area, but it made us realize how much we had worked our legs! I think the people we walked by thought we were completely out of shape because of how much we were dragging! It was fun to see the falls though – another chance to experience the beauty of Southern Colorado!
Once I got home I showered and took a nap – the early wake-up call and challenging run sure wiped me out!
All-in-all we had a SUPER-FANTASTIC day. It was great to visit somewhere new, do a race with a great friend and running buddy, and enjoy the challenges of trail running again. It motivated both of us to make more of an effort to head out to the trails on the weekend, even if it means a drive!
I came home to a package on my front step with new running shoes (two pairs…that’s right), some running shorts and leggings. Talk about a reward! What a great motivation to keep running and working towards the next big race! I can’t wait to try out the new(ish) Brooks “Pure” line. I ordered the Pure Flow and the Pure Cadence. I’ll be sure to give you a review once I put some miles on them!
What about you?
Do you trail run? What’s your favorite trail race?
How do you reward yourself after a race? Margaritas? New Shoes? All of the above?
Disclaimer – I am not sponsored by Brooks and I was not provided with any of the shoes in this post. I’m just a big fan!