Ultra Trail Running

Moving to Chicago threw a wrench right in the middle of my ultra trail running life. I went from having trails just steps from my door to having miles of concrete in all directions. It took me a couple of years to fall in love with city running. It took me a few months longer to find my ultrarunning legs again.

Summer 2019, I went onto Ultrasignup and started looked at local 50ks. I waffled for a while and then in September decided to sign up for the Miner 49er in Dubuque, IA. I’ll save you the math problem and let you know that this gave me like two months to train for a 50k. Up to this point, I’d been in a routine of running 15-20 miles weeks with nothing close to a ‘long run’ in my life since moving to Chicago. No big deal, I immediately sketched together a rough training plan. I built up to a 20 mile run just a couple weeks out from the race.

This is a pretty small ultra trail running race, so there wasn’t a lot of information about the course itself. I kind of enjoyed this unknown. The first weekend in November arrived and there I was at the starting line. It was a chilly morning, but I was looking forward to a nice day in the woods. The course was a double out and back for the 50k. I took off onto the course and was definitely going faster than planned for my first few miles. When I hit the 7.5 mile turn around, I texted Elaine who was surprised that I was already there.

The challenge for me was not the elevation gain of the course but the descents. Training in Chicago gave me miles of 0ft of elevation gain. With barely a hint of a hill in any of my training, my quads started to stage a protest on my 2nd out and back. However, I was intent on enjoying my day in the woods that I had paid for so, I shortened my stride considerably, turned on My Favorite Murder, and put a smile on my face. The aid station volunteers were so wonderful and definitely gave me the spark I needed to keep going.

The last 7.5 miles, I had a sharp knee pain on every descent. I eased my pace off on the downhills, eventually resorting to doing a sort of side step down the hills to minimize the impact on my knee. Then I power hiked the uphills.

The course ends with a very long uphill, probably the longest of the whole course. At the top of this climb was the race directer there to greet me and run me into the finish line. At the Finish line, Radar was waiting too and as soon as she saw me, she sprinted to my side to run me in.

All in all, the Miner 49er was a wonderful race. The race directors, volunteers, and course all helped give me my ultra trail running mojo back and for that I will always be grateful. I’m looking forward to this coming November and being much better trained for it.

Curious Ultrarunner’s Secret Society was established to inject a sense of whimsy into training calendars, split times, and fartleks. Our goal is to build a community that creates a space for the individual to fall in love with the magic of running.

Mission: To help others fall in love with ultra trail running

Vision: To make you and the world slightly better through laughter & pain

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