Getting Ready for my Next Race: Potawatomi Trail Run

This weekend, I am running the Potawatomi Trail Run in Pekin, IL. There are different options for this race as you can run the crazy distance of 200 miles on the trails, or if you are not that crazy you can run just 150 miles, or 100 miles, or 50 miles… or the fun run: 30 miles.

Countdown

All these numbers make 30 miles look like nothing compared to 200 miles. I think I still have some sanity left, so I signed up for just the fun run.  I found out about this race in December after one of the race directors, Eric Skocaj, finished the Hitchcock 100 mile race in Iowa where I was volunteering at the aid station. As soon as I got home that day, I looked it up, and even though I didn’t find detailed information about the race itself, like maps or elevation charts, I thought about giving it a try.

The race will be in Pekin, Illinois, a state where I haven’t run a marathon yet. If I am able to complete the fun run, this will be my 5th marathon/ultra and also my 5th state. Then, I will only have 45 states to go (HA!). I am excited about running another marathon as well as working toward conquering my dream of running in every single state, and I am hoping this race is as fun as Eric made it sound back in December.

Yesterday, I was looking online for pictures to have a better idea what the trail looks like because I had no clue. According to some descriptions, the trail is a single track in a 10 mile loop near a golf course, which means that I will have to run the same loop 3 times to complete 30 miles. What’s crazy about this is that some people are going to run the same loop 20 times to complete 200 miles! Another cool piece of information I found was that there will be a few sections on the trail where runners will have to adventure crossing some shallow creeks, which translates into: we are going to get wet, some blister may show up at the party, bring more socks just in case!

I will have to drive for 6 hours or so on Saturday morning to be at the start line at 8pm when the 30 miler participants will take off. The most entertaining concept is that even though some of us are going to run so little, we are going to run at night. My headlamp will be my best friend because it will be almost impossible to navigate the trails at night when it’s pitch-black. After the race is over, I am still debating if I am going to set up a tent and sleep in the park where the race takes place or if I am going to drive back home. I guess I will decide on that as soon as I am done, depending on my level of tiredness.

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to running this race because I have been training very hard for it for the last few months. It will also be my first ultra this year, and I am very confident that this race is going to be a blast!

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22 thoughts on “Getting Ready for my Next Race: Potawatomi Trail Run

  1. Sounds like so much fun! Running loops makes me crazy! I can hardly stand out and backs its and OCD thing I think. I looking to run my first Ultra Trail run this year. Not sure what and where yet was thinking a 50K the first time. My dream is to someday win the Western 100 lottery.

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      • Just looked it up, Black Hills of South Dakota, what a beautiful place to run! I look forward in reading about it. I’ve been looking at the Twin Peaks Ultra 50 in Corona, California – October 15th. Don’t know if I’m ready for it though sort of scares me, I’ve been opening and closing the registration page for the past three weeks LOL

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      • Do it! I see the elevation gain is 9,000 ft which means the view at the top is going to be breathtaking! I still need to run in California, so if you end up running that race, let me know if you like it and I’ll keep it in mind for next year.

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    • This might be an extremely ignorant question, but do the long drives do weird things to your muscles around runs? I know you must stretch extensively before and after but working them so hard and then sitting for so long makes me think you’d get stiff really easily. Is there some sort of routine you have for this or anything?

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      • I’ve driven 8 hours before and nothing ever happened to me. I’m horrible at stretching though, I always forget to do it lol. But when I drive that far, I generally stop a few times along the way.

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      • The furthest I’ve driven to a race was last year to a Half Marathon Trail Run which was 11 hours and had no issues running. Honestly I’m the worse stretcher there is the most I do is a Front Leg Stretch. Most times I don’t stretch at all; I will walk or short slow run to warm up but really that’s it. I should stretch, even my doctor has lectured me on this but… i’m lazy I guess. When I ran my 4 day race; 5K, 10K, half-marathon and full marathon I didn’t stretch once. If your legs get tight running its more about nutrition and conditioning than anything else. Cramps are mostly cause by salt depletion but could also be lack of nutrition during your run. At some point you will bonk if you don’t fuel up during on long runs by long runs.

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  2. Seeing the words “fun run” and “30 miles” in the same sentence makes me want to cry just a little bit. It is so incredible to me how many miles you and other runners train for! I think it’s so cool and such a neat strength to have. Since I am not a runner, anything over 3 miles seems like a lot for me… I can’t even fathom running 200. I’m enjoying following your running endeavors with you, keep running girl!

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  3. Your dedication to running is astounding! I wish I had this kind of love for running! Back in the day, the most I ever got up to was six miles..and I am pretty sure it took me 45 minutes to run it! Do you take breaks on these runs? if so for how long? can you eat?

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    • I generally run the whole thing and walk only when I reach the aid stations to eat, and to refill my water bottle.
      I eat when I run (not a full burger though) but more like gummy bears or little potatoes with salt. I would say, I snack when I run.

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  4. I echo the above sentiments with: 30 miles is a FUN RUN?! I’m the type of person who’s only “fun run” is the run to the liquor aisle, haha. Your dedication and passion amaze me, and I cannot wait to see what other races you are able to do (:

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  5. Are you going to run this race by yourself or are some of your running buddies going to participate in the “fun run” with you? I think that if I had to run 30 miles I’d want my friends running with me so we could encourage each other. Do you prefer running races with friends or by yourself?

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    • I know a few people running this race, although most of them are running 100 miles. One of my girlfriends is running the fun run but she is much much faster than me, so we’ll probably hang out before and after the race. There are gonna be a lot of runners this weekend, so I know I’ll be surrounded by people most of the time.

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