Trail Mix 25K - My First Trail Race

I'm going to lay it down: I've run marathons faster than I ran this race.  Actually all of my marathons were faster than this race.  Including the one when I ended up in the med tent.

The biggest lessons were:
I should've praciticed in mud, or on more trails at least. I'd hoped that my 'snow' runs would help me out with the footing.  Uneven snow is like uneven dirt right?  It was super muddy for the race day, as can be seen in the photos.  I had a hard time with the footing.  Is it better to run through or around the puddles?  I had a hard time getting a grip, and that alone wore me out.

I should've practices more hills:  I was glad I had at least one long run on a non-road surface.  That was a fun run but wished I'd had more runs with the quick roller coaster style elevation changes of this trail.  Over the winter, I think I should've run up and down the stairs on the track every lap.  Sadly, I am not joking. 

I shouldn't have worn my heart rate monitor. I was glad I had it for like the first 10 minutes when it helped me warm up, and then not go nuts in the first mile.  After that, it was just freaking me out.  I stopped looking at it until late in the second lap but I wished I hadn't had it with me at all.  I think there will be a time in training and running when it's useful, but I'm not good enough yet for it to do anything other than take me out of my game.

Trail runners are just the best.  I did not DFL this course, but I was definitely in the final five.  And every freaking runner who passed me while they were doing the 50K was all "way to keep after it" and "you're doing great" and "nice job".  Some that were running the relay were super sweet too. I didn't totally need it, since I knew I could finish the course, but I appreciated it nonetheless.

Cheering teams are just the best too.  It's a good thing I had someone waiting for me at the finish because that second lap was hell.  BTW, I haven't been this sore after a race since my first half marathon.

Goals for the rest of the 2014 race season:
Lose weight: After looking at the pictures, let's be honest: It's time to start counting calories again.  I'm cool with it.  I knew I gained weight at the start of the new year during my period of avoiding the gym people.  I'd been putting calorie counting off for a bit to adjust to my new job and new eating habits associated with the new job.  But I think it's time.
Heart rate training:  Being aerobically efficient has long been the weak link in my training program.  I'm ready. Bring it on.
No long races for a while: that means no marathons.  Really the 25K was a bit too long.  For now, I need to keep the races a bit shorter and convince my aerobic system to play along.  I have some half marathons and 10-mile races that I've paid for, so that will be the longest I race for a while.
Run faster.  I mean, duh.  We'll see how it goes.
Run at least one trail run per week - I'm starting this after my next race which is in two weeks.
One workout of hills or plyos or stairs per week.  Really.  The hills owned me on the course.  No one was particularly big, but they were relentless in how many there were. 

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