by Kelsey Fields
I am officially five days away from the most challenging race of my life. I don’t know if I had too much NyQuil, was in a Taco Bell coma, or if I just officially hit my quarter life crisis when I signed up. My fingers registered me before my brain could tell me to back away from the computer. Races should have a 24 hour think period. You sign up, and then 24 hours later you have a chance to come to your senses because you’ve realized that just because you want to run 25 miles doesn’t mean you should or that you can. Maybe I’ll work on that along with my beach jeans.
This is the overview the website gives of the race:
“The Out & Back Challenge is a Run-Relax-Run Relay format for runners who want to get in some serious miles without running during the night.
Your team will run approximately 125 miles (depending on final course measurement). Each runner will run 4 legs (based on a 6-person team). You will be challenged and actually run more miles than the 200-mile standard teams, but get a good night’s rest.
Think of us as a high-speed walkabout through the best that the Natural State has to offer. From panoramic mountain vistas and rolling valleys, to winding rivers, lush National Forests and 5 scenic State Parks, Outback in the Ozarks will take you to a breathtakingly beautiful “Land Down Under.”
This is what it actually means:
The Out and Back Challenge is a ‘run the hardest 7 miles of your life with 1000 feet of elevation gain-have enough time to rest that your legs cramp up and die-then run 8 more miles just for fun, but don’t worry, you get to stay in a hotel and wake up and do it all over again the next day’ format.
I’m not bitter. Really, I’m not. But I am nervous! And that is the whole reason I signed up for this race. I really didn’t know if it was something I could do, so I am testing my limits. What I do know is that when I finish I will have accomplished something that took a lot of hard work, dedication, and grit.
My best friend Kayla and I have been training for this race together. Our training has consisted of early morning hills, speed training, strength training, and endurance runs. We found out that if you wake up early enough, you can start running before your brain registers it as a bad idea. Besides my butt looking better in my skinny jeans thanks to those terrible, terrible, hills, my easy run pace has gone down by a solid 30 seconds per mile, I have loads more energy, and I am sleeping like a baby.
Does your daily running consist of sprinting to your child once you’ve noticed they have a deathgrip on an uncapped sharpie and are headed towards the walls? That’s okay! You don’t have to join in on my kind of crazy, but you really should find a way to challenge yourself. Here are some ways to challenge yourself, starting from the bottom up!
- Beginner: “I run to Target to buy dry shampoo and coffee.”
Run everyday for a month. I do this every summer for the Runner’s World Run Streak and it is one of my favorite running commitments. I run a mile each day, but if you are a beginner smart small. Try running three minutes each day, and build up to twelve over the course of the month.
- Intermediate: “I run when I can find an opportunity to escape from my children’s sticky grasp AKA a weekend or evening jog here and there.”
Enjoy running every once and a while but too scared to commit to a race? Just do it! Sign up for a 5k. Start training with the Couch to 5k app and take it slow. Build up your mileage a little at a time until you feel confident enough for the big day. I swear to you that once you feel the adrenaline and atmosphere of your first 5k you will be addicted.
- Advanced: “Mommy runs when she needs to clear her head…otherwise known as 3-4 times a week.”
Run a 5k every month for a year. This is something I have always wanted to to do, but you know, having babies. I may have to make it my New Year’s Resolution for 2019. Sign up for your races far in advance so you can’t back out and so your registration fees are lower (the closer to you get to an event, the higher the registration fees). Pick races that have gorgeous views, awesome swag, or dope medals. (Can I say dope? Am I too old for that?)
Our sponsors at Bass Pro Shops Fitness Series offer an amazing variety of races, from a beautiful trail race through Dogwood Canyon to a half-marathon through the sites of Springfield. I dare you to check out the races on their website, and sign up for one today!
Their mission is to celebrate health and wellness, outdoor adventures and wildlife conservation in the beauty of the Ozarks. Programs are designed to include activities for people of all ages, backgrounds, fitness levels and areas of interest. CLICK HERE for more information or give them a call at 417.873.5214.
Kelsey is an elementary teacher (just finished her first year!), a Beachbody certified Insanity instructor, avid runner and yoga enthusiast.
When she is not working out, you will find her cheering on the Denver Broncos, substitute teaching and spending time with her family. She is wife to Blake and mom to busy 2 year-old son Max and 1 year-old, Mick.