Sproul 10k Race Recap – My first trail race!

2 Aug

On Saturday July 22nd I ran my first trail race – the Sproul 10k. The Sproul 10k is located about an hour away from where I live, in Sproul State Forest in Central Pennsylvania. Many of my local running buddies have run this race in the past, and in the spirit of trying something new I decided to sign up when a friend suggested it.

The night before the race I got all my gear together.

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Camelbak, trail shoes, body glide, sunscreen, salt capsules, nutrition, and a complete change of clothes and flip-flops for post-race.

Over the past few months I’ve spent one run a week practicing trail running and specifically running/hiking UP some of the local mountains.  The Sproul course is basically a 3 mile (1600ft elevation gain) climb up a mountain followed by 3 miles down. I wanted to be prepared for the initial push since I am the most comfortable going uphill and wanted to be efficient and strong as I went up.

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The Sproul race is listed as a 10k, but the distance ended up being slight more (as is common with trail races). It ended up being just under 7 miles.

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On race day it we left around 7:30, and on the way I ate some Belvita breakfast biscuits. We arrived a little before 9am and picked up our bibs. We also got a really nice tech tank and some awesome padded hiking socks.

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This race was a steal at just $25!

After a port-a-potty stop we got ready to go and put on sunscreen and bodyglide. I also ate a pack of ProBar Chews for some pre-race fuel. There was a huge group of folks from the gym and running group so we had to grab a pre-race photo!

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Right before 10am we all lined up at the start and the group of us newbies went to the back of the pack.

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Nervous newbie selfie!

And then we were off!

The first .5 or so is a downhill on crushed gravel. Then you enter the trail and continue on a flat slightly technical trail (with river crossings). It was during this segment when myself and a few others got stung by bees! I haven’t been stung in years but the pain in my calf was unreal. Luckily everyone was taking it slowly (since it was single track in some places) but I seriously wondered if I could continue going. But, I was less than a mile in and I wasn’t going to give up that easily! Afterall, this race was all about trying something new and pushing myself. After my friend reassured me that my leg was not bleeding or swelling like crazy (like it felt) I knew I had to keep going. (I later found out that a bee was hanging onto the back of my running skirt but my friend didn’t want to tell me at the time for fear I’d freak out and swat it into her! Haha)

After the first mile or so you begin the climb to the top of the mountain. It is a REAL climb, but I honestly felt great the whole time. My training absolutely paid off. I even had times when I wished I had started further towards the front of the pack because I got stuck behind people sometimes.  It was pretty hot outside, though shady because we were in the forest. I took my salt capsule about half way up.

There was really no way to run until we got to the top, and since I had no pace expectations I just kept powering up and taking it all in. Once things flattened out I was able to run, before hitting the aid station at the top of the mountain.

It felt awesome being at the top but I knew I still had half the race left and wanted to keep the momentum going because downhills tend to be where I’m the slowest on the trails.

But not before grabbing a selfie at the top. 🙂

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The trail down is single track, on the side of the mountain. I was thrilled to see it wasn’t overly technical, so I was able to run large portions of it (cautiously of course).  I ended up loving the second half of the race. Since the runners were more spread out I was on my own for large portions and just enjoyed running through the forest and feeling good.

I ended up crossing the finish in 2:07:38 which I was thrilled with. I honestly had zero expectations but knew from training that I could maybe finish around the two-hour mark.

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After the race we changed (thank goodness for the change of clothes I had packed), and I refueled with gatorade and protein powder before going to the food area where they had beer, soda, pizza, hot dogs and other snacks. Pizza has never tasted so good.

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My first trail race at the Sproul 10k was a total blast and I am so proud of how I was able to push myself out of my comfort zone and be proud of my performance.  I really hope to do this race again next year because I feel like now I have an even better understanding for where I can improve and maybe, I can come in under that 2 hour mark. 😉

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2 Responses to “Sproul 10k Race Recap – My first trail race!”

  1. Ciara August 4, 2017 at 7:47 am #

    Congrats!! Trail races intimidate me so much. Actually, trail running in itself intimidates me! Hopefully I’ll be able to knock it off the bucket list some day =)

    • Becca August 5, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

      Thanks Ciara!!!! You can totally do it! I was intimidated too but I really had a blast!

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