Would I be insane to run a trail race in place of a long run during marathon training? (Updated with race report) (Read 268 times)


fat, old, slow

    You would be insane to run a trail race, full stop. :-)


    But I'm insane, too.  I think it's great training for a marathon and run the Imogene Pass Run, 17.1 miles over a 13,120 ft mountain pass, every September and consider it a 20-miler in my fall marathon training program.

    PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

    bloggy stuff at http://ilanarama.dreamwidth.org

    Consistently Slow

      Basically, that's the question in a nutshell.  The road marathon I'm training for isn't until April 20th, and next week is scheduled to be my first 20 miler.  Training is going well, and I'll still have 10 weeks after next weekend.  I'm wanting to run a local-ish trail race, the Psycho Wyco Run, Toto, Run.  I was thinking I'd do the 10 miler and still run my 20 the next day, but I'm thinking about just running the 20 miler instead and calling it my long run.  I'm not planning to "race" no matter what distance I run, and I'm guessing the 20 miler would definitely take me over 4 hours, hopefully under 5.   Would that be nuts, or this far out does it not matter?

      You do realize you ask the wrong people? Two weeks out,maybe. Ten weeks out. There is noway we are going to say do not run.

      Run until the trail runs out.

      2200 miles ---2015

      50miler 13:26:18

      Race Less Train More

       Pistol 100 ----01/03/15 27:46:58

       The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

      unsolicited chatter



        You would be insane to run a trail race, full stop. :-)


        But I'm insane, too.  I think it's great training for a marathon and run the Imogene Pass Run, 17.1 miles over a 13,120 ft mountain pass, every September and consider it a 20-miler in my fall marathon training program.


        At least I'm insane in good company Smile

        A whole bunch of my real-life running friends are doing this race as well, so I think it'll be a good time.


          Race Report!  Had the most fun I've ever had running this slow today!

          Ran the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 20 miler today.  It's more like 20.7 miles, actually, and "ran" may be stretching the truth just a bit.  Weather was 30F at the start, and overcast, and it probably rose maybe 10 degrees during the run.  It had rained on Thursday, and the course was super muddy.  The elevation map sent out with course map said about 40% would be uphill, 40% downhill, and 20% what passes for flat in a trail race.  It's mostly on bridle path through Wyandotte County Lake Park, on a loop wheeled at 10.35 miles.  2 loops for the 20 miler, 3 for the 50K runners.

          I met several friends at the start, and we sat in one friend's jeep to stay warm, and then walked to the start together.  Even the start was entertaining - bunch of runners milling about in the grass, and eager dogs everywhere.  The race director caled everybody to line up, blew a horn, and we were off (the 20 milers and 50K runners started together.)  The first little bit was just through a field, then we crossed a bridge and hit the bridle path.  On this first loop, then path was muddy, but not too bad.  The first 2.8 miles to the first aid station are winding single track through the woods, up and down hills, with a shallow water crossing.  I was really enjoying the friendly company.  The first aid station was at 2.8 miles, and it was immediately apparent that this is a different deal than a road aid station.  The volunteers were super cheerful, asking everyone what they needed.  There were miniature candy bars, brownies, potato chips, orange slices, banana chunks, and gatorade and water.  I just had some gatorade at this station, and set off again.  The next little bit was ziggy-zaggy single track that changed direction about every 5 strides.  This was one of my favorite parts of the race.  A little over a mile of this looped us back to the same aid station, and then we took a sharp right turn.  The next part of the course was on mostly higher ground and not as muddy.  I could actually run long sections of it.  Before the next aid station, we crossed a long field next to the dam and came up on the road to an aid station along the dam.  Here there was more yummy food, and sports drink and water.  I ate a snickers bar and couple of potato chips, and drank some more gatorade.  At this point, we were halfway to halfway, and I was thinking this was not so bad.

          The second half of the loop soon set me straight.  Mostly in the woods, it featured sharp climbs and steep drops, through deep mud with rocks.  Thank God for trees, because sometimes they were the only thing keep me upright.  Also, I had a lovely nerd moment out there.  At one point, I was sliding down a steep muddy, rocky hill, when the guy behind me said "Oh, let me give you some more room before I take us both out.  Because F=ma, and I got a lot of m in this a!"  I giggled over trail runners making physics jokes for like the next 10 miles!  Turns out this guy and several other around me work for Garmin, and were all out running various length races (Garmin headquarters are local.)  Several of the steep climbs actually had ropes strung so you could pull yourself up - which it turned out I needed!  The last 2 miles of the loop were pretty rocky, and I slowed a bit not wanting to fall.  Starting from 4 miles out from the start/finish there were signs every 1/2 mile  "4 miles to go, 3.5 miles to go..." etc.  I swear it was getting longer between each sign!  Finally, there was a relatively flat tenth mile section, and I could hear cowbell.  I rounded one last curve and there was the finish - or in my case, the turn off for the aid station and the start of the second loop.  I refilled my handheld water bottle, ate some Gu, some peanut M&Ms, and some gatorade, and set off again.

          I'd promised myself I'd drop to the 10 miler if I fell, but I arrived at loop 2 with no excuse to stop.  Legs were a little tired, but not too bad.  I'd been secretly hoping to break 4 1/2 hours, and I hit the end of the first loop in 2:10Tight lippedx and thought maybe I had a shot!

          But, it turns out, hundreds of runners running through mud tear up a trail pretty good.  Even the start of the second loop was now very treacherous, with deep grooves in the mud, and slick areas were folks had slid.  I could still run up some of the hills, but going down was pretty hard.  About 2 miles in to the second loop, I had what I guess I have to call a fall.  The mud was really deep here, and shoe-sucking, so I'd slowed to a slow walk and had just climbed over a down tree when my right foot got caught in ankle deep mud.  Unable to pull it free, I slowly sank to my knees and put both hands down in the mud.  Fortunately, the different angle freed my foot!  The guy behind me checked to make sure I was ok (the "fall" actually felt like sinking into memory foam!) and then laughed and said "Well, at least nobody saw it!"  Apparently other trail runners don't count.

          The volunteers at that first aid station were super impressed with my coating of mud.  One nice guy took my handheld water bottle and cleaned it off well and refilled it so I could still drink from it!  Next, was the very twisty section through the woods.  Now the mud was worse, and my shoes were picking up more weight and leaves were sticking everywhere.  A nice lady and I traded spots several times - I'm much better going uphill, and she was much better downhill.  We passed the aid station again, and then for the nice part of the course on higher ground that was not too muddy.  At mile 14, a guy blazed past me calling out "looking good!" as he blew past me.  I was pretty puzzled - surely he couldn't have lapped me already?  I found out later that, yep, he'd lapped me.  He went on to win and blow away the course record for the 50K and finish in 3:59!

          We came up to the dam aid station again - 3/4 of the way there!  I was getting tired now, and was kind of dreading the really steep hills the second time around.  I didn't look at my watch, but I knew I was significantly slower on the second loop due to how chewed up the course was.  I had more candy, and several orange slices which were fabulous, and then off I went.  The second half of the loop was really treacherous by now.  The uphills made my quads scream, even at a walk, and then downhills were like big slides.  After sliding several times on one of the downhills, I finally just gave up, turned backwards, put my hands down, and slid down the hill on purpose.  That got me several laughs.  The last 2 1/2 miles were hard, hard.  Every time I'd struggle up a hill I'd think to myself that maybe I was done running, but then I'd start to jog again.  My shoes seemed to weigh about 800 lbs each, being so full of mud, plus leaves and gravel stuck to them.  Those 1/2 mile countdown signs seemed to get even farther apart on the second loop.  There were several very rocky sections in the last 2 miles, and I walked those thinking it was much better than risking a fall again.  I got lapped by 3 more guys in the last 2 miles, all running strong and looking good.  They all said something encouraging as they passed me.  I like trail runners!

          Finally, I was on the last flat tenth of a mile, and I could hear that cowbell.  I managed to run almost my normal road pace somehow for the last little bit.  Around the last corner, and the happiest word ever "Finish"!  A couple of 50K-ers were near me, and I was not envying them as they turned instead to head out on the third loop.  All I could think about was sitting down.  I took a right turn at the finish, and a friend who had run the 10 miler (which started an hour after us) had to point me back to get my medal!

          This may be the most tired my legs have ever been - and I've run 3 marathons, but it was truly a grand time out there in the woods!  Final time 4:38Tight lippedx for 20.7 miles.  Super cool medal with a tornado that actually spins!  And lentil soup and hot chocolate at the finish.  I could not say enough about the great volunteers out there at the aid stations and at the start/finish - they really made the day.


          2/3rds training

            way to not hurt yourself on the tough course...doesn't sound like this will be your last trail race.


            levitation specialist

              Woot! Good for you! Any pics of the mud aftermath?

              Hill Slug

                Congrats!  Sounds like it was fun, thanks for the race report.

                All time PR:  1:20 HM. 2:49 M

                2013 goal:  Master's PR HM  Recover from illness/finish the year strong


                Rage, rage against the dying of the light

                  _Why does your race report make me want to do one? Smile  Congrats, and thanks for the great report!

                  Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.


                    Not sure if I can make this work - but here's a link to my "after" picture, and the really cool medal.



                    fat, old, slow

                      Wow, go you!  I stay as far away from mud as I can, so double props to you for racing in those conditions.


                      The physics jokes made me giggle!

                      PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)

                      bloggy stuff at http://ilanarama.dreamwidth.org