Reese Ruland on Running in the Shadow of Her Bike


by Reese Ruland
Reese cruising to a new CR at the Quad Rack 25 in Ft. Collins
Reese cruising to a new CR at the Quad Rock 25 in Ft. Collins


Ok, I'm going to admit that over the past year I kind of, sort of, became a little ensconced in the world of road biking. I could go places faster, I could geek out to new gear, half heartily joke about Strava, and have you seen how awesome everyone looks in tight spandex and chamois....? Among my cycling friends I was and still am the token runner. I usually show up to a ride having  just run two hours, but biking is low impact, so it doesn't really count as a work out...I think it works like that? So I bike. And I run. My cycling friends know this. My running friends, however, do not. I blame that on the ease at which one can take photos while biking. I'll guesstimate that for every running photo I have, there are at least 20 biking photos that drown it out. Which is why when I signed up for the Quad Rock 25 mile race, my running friends were perplexed. Between the day I signed up and the moment the gun went off, at least 10 people asked me if I was still a runner. I was about to loose it and just start saying, "Bitch I might be!" But the stock answer was, "Yes! I run AND bike. I just don't take pictures while I run." I mean really.. where am I going to put an iphone6 in my shorts? Exactly. 


My training over the past few months had been sporadic at best so I figured that Quad Rock would be a nice way to jump up my training runs in preparation for my hundred miler in September. Base miles are everything, right? I signed up six days before the race. The next morning I woke up to to sore knees and heel pain for no apparent reason. "This is good," I thought. Who doesn't like being injured? For the next few days I stuck to cycling and icing my legs compulsively. The day before the the race, I biked for two hours and still felt a slight twinge in my knee. When I got off my bike I did what any normal person testing out the durability of their slightly injured knee would do, jump up and down and run in small circles- just to see what would happen. There wasn't a ton of pain which seemed pretty conclusive to me. Obviously I was healed and ready to go. 


Reese (right) grinding up a climb in Ft. Collins
That night my friend Dana Kracaw stayed at my place. She too was running the next day. It was nice to have someone else  at the house who would be getting up at 3:30am. Not because I can't wake up that early, but because its nice to have someone else to complain about getting up at such a stupid hour. Which is what happened on Sunday morning as we both sucked down our heavily caffeinated drinks.  


Per usual, arrived to the start line entirely too early. I'm not someone who warms up for these things. So I just meandered around, talked to friends and told people that I just don't take photos while I run. Yadda yadda yadda, we all line up and we count down to our start. A furious beeping of watches ensued as we all shuffle off. About five minutes into the race I noted that my right arm, the one holding my bottle, is already fatigued from holding it. Which is simply pathetic. I contemplated just stopping. It's too early for this shit. And by "this shit" I mean running, holding a water bottle, and generally exerting effort. But everyone else around me was doing just fine, so I just stuck with it, begrudgingly. It also became quite apparent that I don't like running behind people. Or having people run too closely behind me. I feel a) claustrophobic b) Like I'm missing the view and c) rushed. In a panicked manner, I skirted around people so I could be on my own. Once I was able to do that, I eventually got into the groove of running. The uphills were good and steep and the downhills were the perfect amount of technical. These trails were in my back yard, so I felt like I had a bit of an unfair advantage. I admit that despite having run them many times, looking east towards town and the reservoir, the view hasn't gotten old. In fact, if I had brought a camera with me, I would have taken a photo. But you know how that goes. 

Nothing of note really happened during the run, which is good. No one needs to epic if they don't have to. I didn't stop at any aid stations, but they looked rad. Luckily my knees held up - well mostly. I didn't encounter ferocious beasts on the trail, nor did I have any life changing epiphanies. I felt like I was just training as usual- until about mile 22. At that point, the sun started blazing and the course was no longer shaded by trees. So at mile 22, I decided that, yup, I'm over this. I'd like to be done now, please. Which at that point you can see the finish line, but you know you have three more miles till you get there. It looked like an oasis. As I wound my way down the switchbacks I could almost taste the freshly cut, cold watermelon from the trail. And once I crossed the finish line, I'm fairly certain I immediately made a b line for the fruit. 


Race directors, Nick Clarke and Pete Stevenson, put on a fantastic race as usual and of course had a great finish line area- complete with massages, beer and food. Three things I enjoy. Ten out of ten I'd run it again. And hopefully by running the race I've gained my trail runner cred back. I might not have photographic proof, but please.. it's on Strava- so it did happen. 

You can read more from Reese on her blog:

Tags: cycling, endurance, endurance energy gel, energy gel, gel, quad rock, reese ruland, trail running, vfuel

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