15 Things I learned at the Austin Rattler 33k Trail Race + Next up?

I’m still pretty pumped from this past weekend’s Austin Rattler and I’m pretty sure Lynn is tired of listening to me still talk about it.

This is a path I saw at work today… and it made my want to strap on my hydration vest, hop in my car, and drive back to Reveille Peak Ranch to do it all over again!

That experience is going to be super hard to beat. Felt great, perfect weather, etc….

*** I want to share some things I learned and thought during the race!

1.) I need trail shoes. It’s not a necessity, but I must have them 🙂 Plus, the shoes I wore were a little worn down and I like any excuse to buy new Brooks.

I’ve heard great things about the Caldera 3s. Any advice or thoughts on these or any other trail shoes?

2.) Road racing and trail racing is very different! The mental part was the biggest difference for me as I was so focused on making sure I didn’t trip and fall that the miles flew by. As I’ve already said, even on my best day and best race… I’ve never had 21 miles fly by like they did on Sunday!

It kept me mentally entertained the whole way!

3.) It’s not about maintaining a super speedy pace at every second or mile. It’s about moving with purpose. There will be times it’s smarter to walk up a few inclines as speeding up them would take more energy than power hiking. You can always make up some of that during the downhills, but not with trashed legs!

4.) I will never run an Ultra or trail race without a hydration vest! I did this last year at my 50k and only had a small handheld, in 94 degree weather. I was under hydrated, couldn’t carry much fuel and paid for it.

I felt freaking amazing at this race with my Salomon S Lab Hydration Vest! I will update MY GEAR soon to show all the items I’m now using as it’s been awhile. My vest allowed me to fill one flask with water, the other with GU Roctane, and I kept them filled at every water stop. I never got thirsty as I reminded myself to drink often, didn’t have to carry my phone in my hands, stashed my GU and fuel in the pockets, and never even felt like I was wearing it. Best purchase ever!

5.) I usually like to run with a lot more people around me when racing, but for this one, I didn’t. Once everyone was spread out it was pretty cool to feel like the whole world was my own! I got excited when I caught up to folks and passed them, but even that was different. We checked on and encouraged each other before I passed on, and same thing happened when some of the 66k caught up and passed me. I love the competitive spirit but also the kindness and genuine support that was present.

6.) I tried not to look at my watch and I didn’t until mile 5 or 6 as I didn’t want my heart to sink with such a slower pace than with road racing. However, when I did I was pleasantly surprised and I reminded myself that it’s 2,000 feet of elevation. I wasn’t going to be running 8 or 9 minute miles! The goal was to push but to feel good and enjoy the journey!

7.) I couldn’t believe how badly my lower back was starting to hurt about 15 or 16 miles in. I stopped a few times to lean back and stretch it out and it helped. I think from the crazy elevation and possibly wearing the vest my posture was getting a bit sloppy. So, I tried to be conscious of that the rest of the race.

8.) I was so glad I wore a hat as my face would’ve been fried. I would like to wear sunglasses possibly as well if super bright next time, any recommendations?

9.) Sunscreen. I will never not wear sunscreen again as the entire outline of my vest is still on my back and shoulders. Along with the sweet outline of the GU tattoo I had on my arm! Shoulders are red!

10.) I want to experience camping onsite for a trail race! Take in every bit of the experience and nature. Glampimg would be right up my alley!

11.) I was hoping I wouldn’t see any snakes. I saw one along the trail during a run last week so that stuck in my brain for a lot of the run.

12.) We weren’t prepared. Not right or enough clothing, didn’t take coolers of food and drinks, had the barking pups. Etc…. We totally looked like rookies! I mean, I didn’t have a pair of OOFOS to put on my feet when I was done. I need to buy a pair or have someone send me one 🙂

13.) I was sore in a different way this week. My quads were screaming even though during my race it was more my calves. The bottoms of my feet were very tender for a few days from all the rocks and uneven ground I ran on, jumped on and tripped over. Definitely different than concrete roads for miles and miles!

14.) The finish line was amazing as everyone clapped as I was headed in as the announced yelled out that a runner was coming. Being that some of the runners are minutes apart, it was like my very own finish. Felt pretty incredible!

15.) I thought about how far I’ve come since my first 5k years ago. The more races, distances and terrains I do the more I want to see what I’m capable of! I know how important training and recovery are and I am being kinder to my body every day! It makes all of these amazing things possible and for that I am grateful!

16.) I had to add one more in because I’m so lucky that my amazing fiancé goes with me to each of my runs, wether it is a 5k or a 50 miler! I know they aren’t always fun for her, nor is getting up at 5 am to go sit and wait for me to finish. Then, she listens to me pick apart my race for a week while talking about how much better I’ll do at the next, how incredible it was, etc! I’m pretty blessed to have such a supportive person by my side, and she motivates me more than she will ever know! It’s not the finish line I look for when my miles are up, it’s HER waiting for me, and it happens to be at the finish line 🙂

I already have my eyes set one one more trail race… maybe only a month after my 50 miler and a week before ScallyWompus’s 5 miler. Cough!

This one looks incredible and would be a fun weekend. I’d probably just do the 13.1 and the elevation gain is 1500 feet. I will need those shoes, OOFOS, and sunscreen stat!

PS… sign up for the Scallywompus Buffalo Hump 5 or 10 mile race HERE and come run with me. Use code ROADRUNNERCHICK15 for 15% off and while your at it sign up for the whole series!

Think I’ll be able to get a run in Sunday. Pretty excited to get back out! Being a little more cautious as don’t want anything to happen between now and the 50 in two weeks. I also have a 5k next Saturday before we head home to spend the weekend with Mom and Dad Papke!

See you at the start line!

PS – Giveaway this weekend as I’ve been slacking. Stay tuned

PPS – Please forgive any typos

Questions –

What items would you recommend for trail running or that I’m missing in general?

Easter is coming… do you have any traditions?

Will you come run with me at Buffalo Hump June 8th?


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