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CHapter 1: I'll Admit, I'm not prepared

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

In exactly a week from today I will be in Colorado running the A' Basin Cirque Series Trail Race. This will be my first ever real trail race and when I contemplate what I am about to do I can honestly say that I am nervous as hell.

I've been reminding myself of something a former coach told me, that nervousness and excitement are the same chemical compounds in your body. In other words, you can't differentiate between nervousness and excitement. Now I've never looked up the science behind that statement, but it's something I've been telling myself for years to calm my nerves before I do something crazy. And it usually works, but for some reason I can't shake the anxiety I am feeling about this race.

It's not the mileage itself that I am nervous about. 8.8 miles is a distance that, although I haven't run it in a while, I feel very confident in my ability to do so. Perhaps the anxiety is coming from a mixture of things. My training for this race has been... nonexistent. Sure, I've been working out and running a few times a week, but I honestly haven't done anything structured to prepare and this race has gotten away from me.

I could make up a million excuses why I haven't trained. The Texas heat. A very busy summer with track. There aren't any mountains to run in the Austin area. The list goes on and on. To be honest, my heart just hasn't been in it the way it has been for other races. I think that part of that is because this is the first race that I've ever trained for alone. Finding the drive to challenge myself with the workouts needed to do well in this race hasn't been there. Having a community of runners to train with, even if it was virtual, has always been the biggest push for me. That's what I loved so much about training for the Austin Half Marathon last year with my Delta Performance crew. We had athletes in Austin and Colorado all training together for the big day. It was awesome. (Read the recap HERE)

I know that I'm making it sound like I'm hopeless, but I promise I'm not. I've been wanting to complete a race like this for years, and since this is my last year as an On Ambassador I figured it was now or never. (On is the title sponsor for the Cirque Series trail races.) So although I am feeling wildly under prepared and nauseatingly nervous I am excited. There's that whole same chemical compound thing going on.

This race begins at the bottom of the A' Basin ski resort at approximately 10,780' and gains 2,000' of elevation up to the summit of Little Lenawee Peak. The race to the top is just under 5.5 miles and the rest of the course is a not so smooth downhill. If you ask anyone who has ever trail run with me they'll tell you that I thrive at the downhill running. The uphill is brutal and I run like a snail trying cross hot pavement, but the minute we turn downhill I catch a second wind and I'm gone. I straight up fly on the downhills. For me, that's the most fun part about trail running.

However, another thing that I am note prepared for are the elements. Virtually all of my trail running has been done in Texas and although I've run numerous times in Big Bend National Park and the Chisos Mountains (check out my recaps HERE) I've never ran in the Rockies, where the weather can change at a moments notice. I've been checking the weather this week and it looks like the weather is going to be nice out. 60's and low wind, but if you've ever been hiking in Colorado you know that the weather forecast means nothing. There's a solid chance that I will be running in a random rain storm or worse; lightening. I'm trying not to think about that too much, but it does affect what I need to pack and wear that day. And let me tell you, this Texan does not like to be cold and wet. I'm going to be packed down with my best trail gear from On, so I'm really going to be putting it to the test next week.

Since I signed up for this race back in May I've been having daydreams and nightmares about it. This is going to be awesome! What if my Achilles tendon ruptures? My first real trail race! So cool! What if I step on a rock on the ridge line that causes a landslide killing other racers and destroying the ski resort?! That will all be in one split second thought. The mind is a crazy place. But I keep telling myself that the rollercoaster thoughts, the excitement and the fears, are normal and that I won't know until I get there and just go for it.

So even though I am underprepared for the hardest race of my life thus far, I'm as ready as I'm going to be and there's no turning back now. I'll be posting photos and sharing my last minute preparations on my Instagram for the race next week. I'll be writing up a recap of the journey while my husband and I take a much needed vacation after the race. So stay tuned!

Wish me luck and follow along!

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Coach Sonya
Coach Sonya
Sep 04, 2023

Ahhh yes! Ali I’m so glad you love your On’s! Thanks for reading!


Good luck!! Also thx for the recommendation for On shoes. Been using them for CG for the last year now. Finally broke my never ending cycle of buying New Balance

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