Our First Trail Run: How it Went + What Came in Handy

October 13, 2021

HI! I’m Molly.

Here to encourage you on your own bold pursuit of intentional living as I live out my own. I’m passionate about non-toxic living and simplifying our lives so we’re free to focus on the moments that really matter.

Running became a favorite of mine in college. I saw my brother run a marathon, signed up for one with my sister (we ran a race at Disney World!), and almost consistently have run one every year since then. I took a break in 2019 from running races and then signed up for one in 2020, but of course it was cancelled due to the pandemic. I have really missed races and like anything you love, I want others to love it, too! I’ve been talking about running races to Dom since forever and after wedding craziness calmed down, we decided to look into doing one together.

My brother-in-law runs trail races and after talking to him about a recent race, Dom and I decided we wanted to do one! We signed up for a Tejas Trails half-marathon about 1.5 hours away from Austin and had two months to train. Lucky for us, Austin has so many incredible trails to run on and Saturday morning long runs quickly became one of our favorite things. Setting the alarm for early on a Saturday isn’t so painful when you know a new coffee shop is on the other side of the run! 

I have always loved training because I love the discipline and structure it takes to train. Dom is currently working an hour away from where we live, while also juggling his wedding videography business, so he found it a lotttt harder to train during the week than I did. This unfortunately led to some injuries because consistency during training is huge! We were really worried about his knee leading into the race, which I know allllll about. I used to always have knee pain, but here’s what I did to finally solve those issues. Now...let me finally get to the race recap hahah!

We woke up at 4am in order to get to the race on time. Because of C0v!d, the race had staggered starts instead of one big start, which IMO is a bit of a bummer. One of the best parts of a race is all the hype at the beginning and that was definitely missing without all the big crowds! However, we got there, easily checked in and got our bibs, stretched quickly and then it was time to go!! 

The State Park was STUNNING! It was next to a lake; the views were so beautiful! A lot of the trail was mushy grass, which we were NOT expecting and honestly it was tough to run in! Dom and I stayed together the entire time, which I’ve never done with anyone else in a race before haha! I must really love him ;) Because of the staggered start, it wasn’t crowded at all on the course; we passed a few people here and there for the first six miles. At mile seven, we turned around and that was when we started to pass more people who were going the opposite direction. It was really fun to interact with everyone! There were no spectators along the course, which is insanely different from road races. This could be because of C0v!d or because it would be hard to get to spots since we were in the middle of the trail. I honestly didn’t mind not having anyone to cheer us on though! It’s just very very different from a road race altogether.

Dom’s knee hurt him for about 5 minutes during the race, but overall, we are SO thankful it hardly bothered him!! Mile 13 came before we knew it and we saw the finish line! The last bit was up a hill #theworst but we gave it everything we got and sprinted on up! Finishing a race is forever one of the best feelings out there - I always get so emotional haha! I was hoping Dom would get bit by the race bug like I have and I think he has :) Since this was my first time doing a race on a trail, I wanted to share a few things that came in helpful:

Since this was my first time doing a race on a trail, I wanted to share a few things that came in helpful:

  • Osprey Hydration Vest: unlike a road race, there aren’t as many aid stations along the way. I tried on a ton of packs before landing on this one and have been super pleased with it! It’s really comfortable and depending on how much I drink, it lasts me for 10-13 miles before I’m entirely empty.
  • Hoka Trail Shoes: I always run in Hokas, but I needed a Hokas specifically for trails that were more durable than the others I had. Hoka never does me wrong, I LOVE these!
  • Fuel: this isn’t necessarily specific to trails, but I tried a new Gu flavor and loved it haha! I used the caramel macchiato and it was amazing. We ate Gu around mile 5 and then I had energy gels around mile 9! It’s so important to keep your energy up!!

We had the best time and can’t wait to do another trail run some day! Until then, I think I’m setting my eyes on a marathon in December!!

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