By Roxane Kippen, Team OAM Now Triathlete
Team OAM NOW Multisport athletes have been reeling in the podium finishes this year and are on track for another phenomenal season of performances. However, not every race goal involves standing atop a set of steps. Sometimes we race just for fun and sometimes we race to train. The T Rex 10 Miler and Wimpy 8K Trail Run on 4th of July was a combination of both fun and training for five of our multisport ladies.
Training plans include some high intensity days that can, oftentimes, be substituted with a race. For me, it is definitely easier to go out and do a hard run with a group rather than by myself or just one or two others. Choosing to do a race in place of a hard training day allows an athlete to focus on the training without all the stress of race day. It also gives an opportunity to test one’s limits…how much of a gap can I close in the last mile of a run? How hard can I push on climbs and still maintain decent speed on downhills and flats? If I go out hard, how long can I hold that pace? You’d be surprised by the things you can learn from doing B & C (lower priority) races that you can work to improve for A races.
There are a growing number of events available from which to chose, especially for running, so it is not hard to find a lower key race to mix up your training venue. The T Rex 10 Miler and Wimpy 8K Trail Run is held at Fallasburg Park in Lowell, MI every 4th of July. It is a pretty challenging course with some technical single track trail and some big gravel road climbs. Course signage, with T Rex cutouts, were a reminder not to take things too seriously though.
I chose to race the Wimpy 8K (just under 5 miles) to help teach my body to run fast on tired legs. The day before the race, I rode 30 miles of trail on my mountain bike which left me a bit fatigued. Amy Kimber, Cheryl Sherwood, Erin Young and Raquel Torres all ran the T Rex 10 Mile race. Amy decided to do the race the night before, Cheryl had ridden 100+ miles the day before, Erin is training for a 100 miler while still regaining her fitness after having a baby a few months ago, and Raquel was just wrapping up a very hard week of training. Clearly, winning was not the name of the game.
Our goal was to have fun and get in a quality training day and we all accomplished our mission. While I did end up walking part of a huge climb on a gravel road (this same climb is one of the first on the Lowell 50 course), I did push to close the gap on a female runner ahead of me on the return route to the finish. I’d say it took me a half mile to close the gap, up and down the gravel road, but then I really struggled to stay with her for the last mile in the trail and my legs just didn’t have what it took to pass.
Trail running is a great alternative to the constant pounding of pavement. It also builds hip and ankle stability and leg strength. Although, it does take a bit of concentration to maneuver around trees, over rocks and roots and up sandy hills. Raquel is a new trail runner and said the obstacles were definitely a challenge for her, but she is looking to improve her run and focusing on adding some running races to her training.
The T Rex was a very well-run event with no fancy chip timing and, in turn, no crazy expensive race entry fees. Post race refreshments included a make your own snow cone station along with a giant table full of raffle prizes. I’ll definitely be back for this one. Mid-July the multisport team kicks it back up a notch with several Michigan races. Keep an eye out for us at Tri del Sol, Clark Lake Triathlon, Little Traverse Triathlon, Caseville Triathlon and Tri Allegan.