On Wednesday, May 17, the Wasatch Trail Run Series (WTRS), had it's third race of the season. It was the third race of this season for me as well as I completed the Soldier Hallow long course. Soldier Hallow is a former Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic venue where it was and continues to be used for cross-country skiing. Soldier Hallow is located in Wasatch State Park in Heber Valley, Utah.
At this point in the season, the trails continue to remain in the lower elevations where they are relatively dry. By dry, I mean *not* under several feet of snow. And I say relatively because during the run, we found the mud I was hoping, er, at least planning for. Plenty of spots were definitely very, very muddy and provided plenty of dirty, sloshy fun for everyone.
My shoes also got relatively wet so I am very glad that my Altra Timp 4s are built for this type of terrain and that I was wearing moisture wicking running socks this time instead of the cotton knee highs I sometimes wear. Coming off of a pretty intense winter, the muddy conditions were probably caused by all the spring run off coming from the higher peaks into the foothills.
Although an intense wind and rain storm was rolling in, race finishers were thankfully coming in just as it began. We started out in sunshine but as a thick cloud cover began to roll in, it was quite dark earlier in the evening than usual, although we did avoid the downpour!
What frustrated me the most about this run is that I did not improve in time. According to Strava, this was my slowest pace out of the series so far, with a 12:57 result. While I did stop for a couple of photos (which I've done previously) and I did power hike a tiny bit (which I've done before), I actually felt like I steadily ran or jogged the vast majority of this course.
Another thing is the photo revelations. I spent a lot of winter time working out in either the big box for CrossFit gym, and never took one gym selfie. I was feeling pretty great about the relatively intense gym workouts I'd had this year. When looking in the mirror I thought I looked great for someone who's been around the sun 50 times and I was feeling great too!
But the stats and the camera don't lie. I might be in relatively great shape and form for my age, but I'm still slow at trail running. Racing photos show some great legs and arms, but ooph, that mid section is a bit more round that I thought it was and might be dragging me down a bit.
During the run I was thinking, ok, I'm good, but I could be better, so why not try. To this end, I will find ways to push my training and my races. I will also find ways to refine my eating and supplementation habits even more. Other things I can do are avoid mid-race photos LOL, and not walking!!! While I am skipping the fourth race taking place in Heber Valley today, I am looking forward to re-visiting Dimple Dell and Soldier Hallow one more time each during the WTR series and striving for better results both times! ~Clark 🙌🏻