Its seems like every time you accomplish a big goal or finish a goal race, you find yourself thinking “what next?.” After I finished my first full marathon last year, I decided to start running on trails. Last spring I ran three trail races. And then I started training for my second full marathon. Trail running mostly got pushed to the back burner, to lessen my risk of turning an ankle/getting injured during training. But after finishing my second full marathon, I felt the trail itch again (which sounds more like some kind of disease than a yearning to run through the trees and up mountains).
So this time I decided to sign up for the entire Roanoke Non Ultra Trail Series, which is put on by Mountain Junkies LLC. Last year I ran two of their races, and I had a great time. I loved the atmosphere, they did a great job with logistics, and I got to see some really great trails I never knew were there.The series has six races total, and I will be participating in five of them. The only one I opted out of was the Mill Mountain Mayhem 10K, because it is the weekend before the Blue Ridge Half Marathon. My first race will be the Frozen Toe 10K on January 10th.
The race is run on a favorite loop of the owners of Mountain Junkies, and in years past the weather has caused the trail to be frozen, completely ice-covered, or even snow covered. Should be interesting! It may end up being like my first trail race last year. The second race is the Explore Your Limits 5K & 10K.
I will be running the 10K for this race. The race is held at Explore Park in Roanoke, which I’ve never been to before. I look forward to exploring the singletrack mountain biking trails, which have been described as “challenging,” on foot. After that comes the Montvale 5 and 10 Miler.
For this one, I chose to do the 10 miler. I’ve never run a 10 mile trail race before. This race is held in Bedford county, and it sounds like the park is another hidden gem you never knew was there. Since I’m skipping the Mill Mountain Mayhem 10K, my next race in the series will be the Trail Nut 10K & Half Marathon.Last year, the Trail Nut was my first Mountain Junkies RNUTS race. I ran the 10K and had a great time. I was amazed at the set of trails that were there for exploring, right there behind the Bedford County Nursing Home. This year I decided to give the half marathon a try.
Finally, I’ll wrap up the series with the anchor event to the RNUTS series: Conquer the Cove Trail 25K & Marathon. I have chosen to run the 25K again this year. The race was a real challenge for me last year, but I loved running through Carvins Cove Natural Reserve, the second largest municipal park in the nation.
I’ve never done a series of races before, and I’m looking forward to the experience. It will be neat to see familiar faces at each of the races. At the end of the year, they hold a social get together and awards ceremony (the series also has a points system based on overall and age group placement at each race, like a grand prix). I’m hoping to make new friends and officially join the trail running community.
Have you ever participated in a race series before?