It’s All In The Head: A Lesson Learned Spectating the Traprock 50k

Last weekend I decided to head over to the Traprock 50 to watch my friend and some top female trail runners compete. I also thought this would be a great way to get a long run done in a new area. Running 7 hours EVERY weekend has lead me to exhaust the excitement of exploring new trails. Don’t get me wrong, I still love running well known trails, but being in a training slump last weekend, I needed the excitement that new trails would bring.

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So, after teaching my morning bootcamp, I set off to Bloomfield, CT (30 minutes away) getting there around 10am. I was just in time to see the top racers come through on Lap 1 of 3, including one of the females I was there to see, Kristina Folcik. I wanted to see her in action. I’ve followed her career through her blog, and how she has become one of New England’s top trail runners. She will also be doing the Cayuga 50, to defend her first place title. Needless to say, I would be stalking her every move. Her aid station visits. Handheld or Backpack? Walk the steep inclines or run them? Not because I think I can beat her at Cayuga (I’m not there yet) but just to see how the top runners work. It’s the details that separate the good from the great.

After I saw my friend come through, I set out on my run. I tried to stay off the course in the areas that had out and backs, as to not confuse females into thinking I was running the race.  Otherwise, I ran in the opposite direction, cheering on runners as they passed, stepping off to the side on the single tracks. I loved the hilly terrain of the course, the technical sections, and more than anything, the amazing views!

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Not only did I get to experience the amazing energy that a trail race provides, cheer on my friend, and see a top trail running female in action (she beat CR by 15 minutes with a 4:51 time), but I also was able to get my 4 hour (24ish mile) run in. And with that, I learned a very valuable lesson that has stayed with me since. That training run felt better than almost any I have done to this point. The terrain was tough, but the body is trained for that. What I haven’t done well enough yet is train the mind. I “suffer” the last 2 hours of my long runs because I think myself into that suffering. THIS day did not give my mind time to suffer. It was too busy producing smiles, “nice jobs” and feeding off the energy of the other runners. Take the mind out of the game, and your body is capable of so much more.

This is has lead me to some comfort in knowing that the Cayuga 50 is a double figure 8 loop. This means lots of smiles, encouragement, and hopes of keeping the “suffering” at bay!

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3 thoughts on “It’s All In The Head: A Lesson Learned Spectating the Traprock 50k

    • Thanks Larisa. I have followed you and your amazing breakout the last year and have been inspired by you. I always think “I would love a run w/ her to pick her brain” I definitely have my doubts at times about 50 miles. It seems so far away when I start to hurt at mile 15 of my training runs. My one question for you, my feet ache when I hit 3ish hours. Is this normal? I wear Brooks Cascadia & if I’m going to try new shoes I need to do it soon! I did buy the Altra for the road and did like them, but feel i like a more rugged trail shoe?

      • Ah, I am not so inspiring. I’m just a gal who loves to run, and I make it a priority to train happily and with balance. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.

        Regarding shoes (though I know I touched upon this briefly on Insta) – I wouldn’t say it’s normal to experience foot pain after 3 hours. Where are you experiencing the discomfort? Rugged trail shoes with aggressive outsoles tend to be overkill in my opinion, though you might want to consider transitioning into something with more cushion underfoot.

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