Trust Your Training

Chris McCarthy's picture
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Lessons from the Jim Bridger Run.

At the end of June, I raced in the Jim Bridger Trail Run. This was my second year in a row and a great test to see how my new Ridge Run training program with Swiss Fit Montana was working out. The run starts at the Sypes trailhead, runs across private land and up the Middle Cottonwood trail, and then back to Sypes. In all, it's 10 miles with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain—nothing to sneeze at.

As I prepared for the race, my goal was to improve on my 1:52 mark from the previous year. At the start, I was strong and felt I was hitting my stride as we got on the Middle Cottonwood trail. It was about three miles in when doubt started creeping in.

Jim Bridger Trail Run, Swiss Fit Montana"I think I can't. I think I can't."

“I can’t keep this pace up for another seven miles,” I thought. “I don’t belong here, toward the front of the pack; these runners are out of my league.”

These thoughts went through my head for the next two miles. Finally, I settled down and started running my race again. I stopped worrying about all the other runners and focused. The last five miles were a breeze. I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:47. I still felt strong, but was disappointed in my self-doubt.

Jim Bridger Trail Run, Swiss Fit Montana
"I knew I could. I knew I could."

After a quick drink of water, I ran down to my car and back, about a half-mile each way, to get my phone to take a photo of my wife crossing the finish line. When I got home, I mowed the lawn, packed our trailer up for a week-long trip, and built a storage shelf in my truck. That afternoon, I met my parents at Headwaters State Park for a walk with the dogs and then cooked dinner for the family back at home.

Why the detailed account of my day? Because it shows that I didn’t leave it all on the trail. At the end of the race, I still had gas in the tank, and judging by my productivity, a lot of gas left in the tank. Not to mention that I improved my time by nearly five minutes. Obviously, the training is working and I just need to trust myself.

As I write this, the Ridge Run is less than five weeks away. I still need to get stronger, but if I step up the training and accept that what I've done so far is working, I should have a great run—knock on wood.

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