5 for Friday: Evaluating my Trail Running

This weekend I am typing from Providence, RI at the 2016 version of the New England Regional Irish Dancing Compeition…also known as the Oireachtas. My daughters both compete in the sport but only one will be dancing this weekend (the other is too young). If you have never been to an Oireachtas, you need to take one is because it is like nothing you have ever seen! During this weekend, 1000s of dancers will make their way from ball room to ballroom and stand up in front of a decent crowd to display their dancing ability often in front of three judges. I myself just love the dancing but as for the competition, not so much.

Why you might ask? Because the “competition” is really confusing. It is not just about the dancing but the dress, the tan color of your legs, the bun wig that has to bounce in a certain way, how “white” your socks are and a bunch of other things. The whole thing should be about how you dance…end of story! Not about how much you spent on a dress (which often run in the $3-6k range). Can you imagine running a trail race and not being judged based on your speed or performance but by your shoes? It just seems absurd to me. At the same time, if you cut out  his competition end of things, the dancing is graceful and just beautiful!

This leads me into today’s FIVE for Friday. I hit the trails yesterday not in hope of completing or running a race. No, I ran to get back into “trail shape.” There is an ultra coming in January and it happens to be at the Bradley Palmer State Park where I trained. I realized that I am way out of trail shape and need more practice! Today we focus on what I learned yesterday on the trails

NUMBER ONE: Focus, Focus, Focus! Running on pavement is “easy.” You just run and avoid any breaks or bumps in the road (and hoped to run well). On the trails, you need Ronnie ready for a tree route, muddy pile of dirt, horse manure and animals. That is a lot to think of! I realized yesterday that I need to work on balancing the focus of the terrain against my surrounding. Bradley is a beautiful location and I don’t want to miss anything!

NUMBER TWO: Need to Work on Hills! Once every few weeks I will find myself doing some hill training around Beacon Hill in Boston or at Woodsom in Amesbury. After running yesterday, I realized that I need more work in this area! I was winded to say the least climbing to the top of the park. Had to stop a few times on each climb! This cannot happen if I want to complete an ultra at this locale!

NUMBER THREE: I am a big fan of the Hoka One One Speedgoats! Hoka makes a trail show called the Speedgoat…after a famous race in the midwest. I purchased these easily a year ago but have not been running trails much (35 miles to be exact). Before I thought the toe box was an issue but after running on them twice yesterday, I found that my toes must hand shrunk and this is not an issue anymore. These shoes are so cushioned and a great way to not sprain an ankle as they roll with the terrain. 

NUMBER FOUR: Look at the map ahead of time! Yesterday was difficult finding my way around this park. There are a bunch of trails and they bob and weave about. I found myself looking at my trails app often and this was just a killer on my performance (stopping and startting). Even with the maps, I got lost a bunch! Next time I will be memorizing the maps. No more stop and go at every turn. Know the terrain and things will be more enjoyable!

NUMBER FIVE: Bring Water! I completely forgot my water yesterday which was a “party foul” on my part. With the trails and the constant loops, I could have set up my own waterstation and this was clearly a missed opportunity. Next time I bring water, place it strategically on the paths and take a sip so I am hydrated throughout the run. End of story!

So that is about it for this week’s Five for Friday! I hope to get out  his morning to run Providence but honestly I don’t see it happening as we have too much preparation for my daughter this morning. At the same time, it is 4:20am at the moment and nobody is getting up till 7:00 so perhaps I have time to spin around the city.

Thanks for reading! BM

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