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Chapter 2: Race Prep & Anxious Energy

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

My experience running the Cirque Series A' Basin Trail Race on Saturday, September 9th in Colorado. Part 1 is a look at the three days leading up to running the trail.

 

I was a Superball of nervous energy on Tuesday night before we left Austin. I could hardly sleep. I kept waking up in the middle of the night, and finally, at 3:00a I decided to go ahead and get up for a while.


When I can't sleep I usually go to my office and do some journaling. I find that journaling when I'm restless at night is the best way to help myself get back to sleep. I don't know about y'all, but my mind spins with the wildest thoughts at night sometimes. And let me tell you, my mind was twirling around like a top.


What I journaled about that night is very personal so I'm going to keep it to myself, but when I woke up the next morning I had only gotten rid of enough nerves to get me through airport security. Upon landing in Denver I was a little more at ease. There was something about getting out of Austin that helped me focus. It was probably my husband and I's Colorado adventure waiting for us on the other side of the race that got me out of my head, however, the heaviness of anxiety was still deep inside me.


We headed to Boulder where we were staying with my sister and her girlfriend until the night before the race. They have the most adorable little apartment in a very walkable neighborhood just north of the university.


I wanted to get to Colorado with a couple of days to spare so that I could prepare for the race. If you remember from my last blog post, I didn't really prepare for this race like I should have. In fact, some more experienced trail runners might say that I didn't prepare at all. Check out my last post HERE.

girl in river

At this point there was no need to try and do any hard workouts. I was as "in-shape" for this race as I was going to get and a hard run would just make me sore. So on Thursday my sister took me to a local park called Eben G. Fine Park. There is a creek that flows through the middle of the park, and were got in the frigid cold water for a little cryotherapy swim; followed by some sun bathing. Later that night we went for a bike ride around the city. It was so good to get some easy cardio and cryo done after the day full of travel. It really helped to shake out my body.


The next next morning I opted for an easy 4 mile shake out run on a trail nearby my sister's apartment. I found a relatively easy looking trail with a view off Eben G. Fine Park that took me on a 2.5 mile loop to Anemone Point. The total distance was about 4 miles from the park where I left my car.


I'll be honest, this route that I found was a little more intense than I was looking for because the next morning when I woke up my Tibialis Anterior, muscle of the shin bone, on both legs was really really sore. This hasn't happened to me in ages! But it was totally worth it! The views were everything I was looking for. At the top of Anemone Point you can see all of Boulder. Peep the pic below.

Top of Anemone Point Boulder Colorado

Friday was another travel day. So after my run we headed out to Dillion for the night so that we would be close to the race the next morning.


Typically, I get really bad altitude sickness the first couple of days when I come to Colorado so from the moment we got to the airport in Austin I started chugging water and didn't stop until I switched to alcohol after the race. (Okay, I'm not perfect, I had 2 French 75s the night before the race, but chased each one with 16oz of water.) And it worked! It was the first time I've ever been to Colorado where I didn't have a splitting head ache for a few days.


That night at the ski bum Airbnb we rented I tried to relax with friends and family. My sister made a delicious potato soup and I made a colorful salad to go with. We all had some good laughs and good conversations. Enough distraction to put anyone's mind at ease. Except the problem was that I couldn't relax. My nerves were starting to creep up on my again, hence the two French 75s. I could tell that I was getting jumpy, so at 10:00p I decided it was time to go to bed. Luckily, I was super tired from the travel and with the time change it felt more like 11:00p so I fell right to sleep.


The morning sun didn't come early. It came right on time and I woke up with it feeling... calm. Although I was very nervous, I have prepared for more competitions than I can count throughout my life so the morning of, for me, is always the most zen. My mind and body go into a different mode. I'm present, yet I'm not. I'm nervous, but I'm ready. I'm calm, and somehow my mind can race through every minute detail of preparation without shutting down. One might refer to it as being in the zone. It's hard to explain, but I'm always very calm and collected the morning of competition. When it comes to doing anything physically active, I trust my body and what it is capable of. Although I may not be fully prepared for what is to come I know the limits that my body can push. That clarity is something that I rely heavily on.


girl in parking lot

At a quarter to nine, my husband and I arrived at A' Basin Ski Area. The race was to start at 10:00a. Our friends and family would be arriving a little closer to start time. I picked up my bib and race swag then headed for the On booth so that I could say hello to my fellow On Ambassadors who were running the race. I'd never met any of them in person, but it felt good to at least have a few familiar faces running the course with me. Even if I'd just met them.


*In the photo on the left I am pointing to the peak that I ran up.


30 minutes before start time I decided it was time to warm up. I went through my whole warm up routine. Skips, leg swings, hip openers, calf raises and some jogging. Although I trail run often, the hill country trails surrounding Austin don't even compare to the mountain trails surrounding Boulder. My body wasn't prepared to come down an incline like the one I'd run the day before and my Tibialis Anterior muscles were feeling it; so I also rubbed them out a bit with my thumbs. It did not feel good at all, but it needed to be done. This did worry me a little because it meant that my body surely was not ready for the 4 mile, 2,411' decline I was about to run.


10 minutes before I headed to the restroom one last time. 5 minutes before I shared my LiveTrack link from my Garmin GPS watch with everyone. 2 minutes before the race I took a very nervous looking video of myself as I walked to the corral area. In that moment, while I was videoing myself, I realized that I'd never toed the line of a race alone without someone next to me who had trained with me.


30 seconds to race start. The crowd of 600 runners jittered forward; up as close as they could get to the start line. 10 second to race start. I took a breath and couldn't believe what I was about to do. It was the last nervous thought that went through my mind.


The gun fired to let us out of the cage and we were off.

 

Thank you so much for reading! It means the world to me to have my words read by all of you.


Here is the video that I shared on my Instagram to go along with this post. If you're not already follow me: SoFast_Sonya


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