Wednesday, February 15, 2006

2006 Event Race Reports from Participants

Here are several nice race reports from participants in the 2006 event:

2006 Psycho Race Report
by Julie Bane

When I saw the race application for the PsychoWyCo "Run Toto Run" race outside Kansas City KS, I should have taken pause. The name alone should have been a clue. Fellow Alpiner, Dorn Peddy urged me to sign up for the 50K. I pondered the lure of the trails, and another state to add to my collection? Sign me up. Did I forget it was February? I mean, how hard could it be? I went online and read the race directors description of the race, and promptly disregarded clue #2. The things we do for love, right? (Just in case anyone is into masochism like I apparently am.)

Dorn and I left at 7 PM Friday, and drove all night. There was no traffic and the snow was light. We got to Kansas around 4 AM, and walked into a Holiday Inn to get a few hours rest before the 8 AM start. $89 was too steep a price for 2 hours sleep. We bundled up with blankets parked in the back lot of the Holiday Inn. Just before 6 AM we were in search of coffee and bathrooms. We arrived at the park and changed into our race clothes. It was snowing and a light film of slick stuff was coating the ground. We were a hardy bunch shivering under the shelter. Some were in shorts. Foolish people.

I had only run two 15 mile training runs since my Dec 4th Vegas Marathon, but hey, I have done trail races. I’ve done 50 milers. Hell, I crewed for Badwater. How hard could it be, I ask myself again? Foolish Me. Dorn and I wished each other a good race, and he moved to front of the pack. I saw another Alpine Runner, Deejay Jason, at the start. We were surprised to see each other. I hope she did well. We gathered around the Race Director, Ben Holmes, as he imparted a few words of advice. He told us not to litter, and if we happened to perish on the course to please dig a shallow grave and cover ourselves up before dying. Clue #3. Was there time to back out? The hills didn’t look so tough. How hard could it be? I asked myself again. The race began as all races do with laughter, cheering and chatter. We were all strangers, but we soon bonded like new recruits in boot camp. Laughter became groans, cheering became swearing, and chatter became heavy breathing. Most people were only doing one 10 mile loop. A few were doing the 20 miler. I hadn't yet found anyone doing the whole thing. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do the whole thing. Last year they gave out stainless steel dog bones for the finishers. Those who bailed at 20 were given half a bone that said "I bit off more than I could chew". I knew I had bit off more than I could chew.

On the first loop, the thin layer of snow had made the ground very slick. We started out going straight up a rocky Bridle Path. I had no clue what direction I was going. The trail wound back and forth and up and down. I was glad I was carrying a water bottle because the aid stations were minimal and sparse. The RD put up little yellow signs along the trail to humor us. I guess they were a play on the Yellow Brick Road. The Wizard of Oz theme was evident. With so many switchbacks and turns, I felt like I was in a twister. Very little of the course was actually runable. The footing was so bad from either loose sharp rocks or frozen slickness. At times, I needed to grab trees and use toe holds to climb a section. And then I needed to run into trees to stop myself from flying off the ridgelines. I heard a rumor that the elevation change was 5,000 feet per loop. I have no verification on that. That would equal 500 ft per mile. Is that plausible? The hills never stopped. I climbed my way up, sometimes on all fours, and picked my way down, sometimes backwards or sideways. Near mile 8, I came up a hill to find a graveyard of pontoon boats. I thought I was hallucinating. The course circumvents a lake, but the lake was not visible from the pontoon graveyard. The first real full service aid station was just beyond. I filled my bottle with Gatorade, and had a swig of Coke. The next two miles were filled with very steep climbs and some badly eroded spots. More little yellow signs: "If you aren't in pain, your either dead or not working hard enough", "It's OK to puke" followed by "No, Really" and my favorite "Embrace your pain, You earned It". I considered stealing that one. The last hill was a 6 ft berm that had one tiny tree to grab and a rusted tricycle to navigate around.

Did I mention that I was running in a borrowed pair of trail shoes? I never wore them before. They actually worked fantastic, and I had no blisters. I can't imagine running this course in regular shoes.

By the second loop, the ice had melted and a new kind of slickness challenged me: Mud; Lots of mud; Slippery mud. It was still snowing, depending on what side of the lake I was on. It was windy. I was chilled. I met a girl from Des Moines who was doing the whole thing, and seasoned ultra runner, Lou Joline, age 73, who gave me much needed encouragement. He had that old-timer, take it as it comes attitude. He seemed to be well known in these parts, and was welcomed into the aid stations with happy greetings. We chatted for a couple miles, and then fell into our individual paces. I was alone again. The scenery was spectacular. I was surrounded by snow covered woods, streams, ravines, ridges, and eagle nests. I saw a red-headed woodpecker, blue jays, hawks, and I was chased by a Canadian goose in one of the few run-able sections. I didn’t see any of the flying monkeys the runners were warned of in another little yellow sign. As I was climbing a hill near the end the second loop, the 3rd place man was coming in for his finish. I said I wasn't sure that I could go the full distance, and was considering a bailout. He said he felt the same way when he was where I was. I felt a lot better. The RD said I should go for the finish, and that I could walk the loop in 3 hours. It took me 2:45 to do my second loop, and I ran parts of it. I was 5 and a half hours into the race. The time limit was 9 hours. I didn't have a lot of cushion time. But hey, I came all the way to Kansas to do a 50K, I didn’t want to be told that "I bit off more than I could chew", and I am not a quitter. I was already in pain from twisting ankles and fatigued thighs. I was already cold. How much worse could it get?

With the decision made, the 3rd loop was actually easier. Except for about 2 miles in when I wanted to cry, turn around, or lie down on the side of the trail and die. But, I didn't have a shovel to bury myself, or the energy to do so. I picked up a stick somewhere on the course and used it to help myself up the steep hills. It actually became my security blanket. I felt stronger. I power walked with my stick. I ran with my stick. As I wound my way along a ridgeline, a freight train was idling far below. The sky was steel blue and the sun shone for a few moments. It was a spectacular sight. I welled up with tears. I knew that I would find the strength and courage to finish. I had come to that place in a race where all emotions are laid bare, and I was inside my soul. Everything was stripped away. It was me, God, the Earth, and the moment in time. I still had about 4 tough miles ahead. I kept myself in the moments, and concentrated on the parts of the course that were familiar. I was deeply focused. I mentally checked off the scrub tree in the middle of the path, the old tire, the pontoon boats, the creek crossing, the 8 mile aid station, the 6 ft berm and the rusted tricycle. I ditched my stick for the finish. With quads screaming, I ran down the hill to the finish. The shelter came into view, and there were three people there to greet me. They didn't see me. I ran through the shoot, and called out that I had just finished. They asked if I wanted anything like Gatorade. “No thanks”. I said simply "Just my medal". I deserved it. I earned it. I may have bitten off more than I could chew, but I ate the whole thing. A volunteer asked if I had fun. I honestly couldn't think of any time that was actually “fun”. But, I said that I was deeply satisfied with my accomplishment. A made the short walk to the warm car where Dorn was waiting with a cold Diet Coke, and a hug. My finish time was 8 hours and 19 minutes by my watch. He finished in 6 hours and 23 minutes. He also felt the course was extremely technical, and challenging.

I am sure there are tougher races out there. I haven't come across one yet. This was far and beyond anything I have ever done before. I am sore, but satisfied, and I did the Psycho thing and finished 31 miles. As the little yellow sign read, "Running this is 90% physical and 100% mental". So, that explains why I will go on to do some other certifiably crazy race. Anyone want to be on my crew for Badwater?

Another race report from an orienteering person: Click

#3 from Marvin Lee:

Psyco Wyco Run Toto Run 50K
February 11, 2006 by Marvin Lee

I chose to sign up for this run because it was an easy 4 hr drive Tulsa, a good time in my training for another long run, and would provide an opportunity for Margie and I to spend the weekend with Margie’s sister Maureen. So we loaded up the truck Friday evening and headed for Overland Park. We went to bed that night with the temps in the mid 30’s and a slight north wind. The weather forecast for Saturday called for the temps in the low 30’s. I didn’t remember hearing anything about rain or snow.
We didn’t know anything about the course, other than the flyer said it had constant rolling hills and to wear trail shoes. So we brought our trail shoes and a pile of cold weather gear.
Margie signed up for the 10 miler and I the 50K. Each loop around the lake is about 10 miles, so Margie and I agreed to run the first loop together. I would then continue on with the remaining two loops. The race started 8:00 AM at Wyandotte County Lake Park, about 25 miles North of Overland Park. Our plan was to leave the house around 6:30 AM so we could get there early enough to pick up our race packets and go to the bathroom 10 times before the start.
As we were getting around Saturday morning Margie said she hear what sounded like a car spinning and crunching outside. I didn’t give it much thought until I went out to warm up the truck around 6:15 and saw a ½ inch of snow on the road and felt a 20 mph North wind spaying snow everywhere. I was thinking … that’s nice. This was not a nice Christmas in a log cabin with a warm fire kind of thing …
Obviously I wasn’t anticipating snow and any potential travel delays getting to start, so this kicked the stress level up a bit. Turns out the snow wasn’t sticking and the roads were good, so we arrived at the park around 7:15. But it was definitely colder and wetter than we anticipated and so we ended up wearing just about everything we brought.
The race director Ben Holmes said a few words of caution about the down hills being slick and then cut us loose. We started out with snow on the ground, 24 degrees, and that strong north wind blowing snow off and on.
The first part of the race is due north, then you go around the lake’s dam and you head back south toward the start/finish.
Within the first ¼ mile you hit the beginning of those “rolling hills”. Nothing really steep so we just trotted up them with our fresh legs. For the first several miles the trails are dirt/clay and used by horseback riders and mountain bikers. With the ground frozen as it was there were deep hoof tracks in the trail making it important to watch your step or risk twisting an ankle. This combined with the wind, snow and risky footing forced all to quickly settle down and really pay attention to your step.
Most of the trail on the outward leg was on the north side of the hills where that evenings snow had accumulated and frozen. On one section of winding trail that takes you deep into a saddle and back up to a ridge line where the 1st aid station was. I fell down twice here. Running this section of the trail (about 1 mile) wasn’t an option and even when walking most were forced to grab trees to keep from falling. The weather and trail conditions soon make it clear to me this “run” was turning into an adventure race.
Margie and I adjusted well and settled into a wonderful rhythm of running the flats and walking the up hills. The race was pretty small, maybe 100 people total. I think there were 50 something 50K participants, so the pack thinned out quickly and Margie and I spent most of our time by ourselves. Some of the ridgeline views and trail through the woods were gorgeous. At times the sun would break through and it would still be snowing these big ol snowflakes … well, we thoroughly enjoyed sharing our time together out there. That was one of the great things about this event, having options to do 1, 2 or 3 loops allowed us to share the same course even though our training was for different distances.
Margie did a great job getting around that 1st loop and doing it on 2 hammer gels and 20 oz of water. It continues to amaze me how she can work for so long on so little fuel and water.
So we got back to the start finish at around 2hrs 15 minutes and celebrated with a big hug and kiss. I was so proud of her for finishing so well! Now before we started this run I expected we’d probably finish around 90 minutes. As you can see my alligator mouth overloaded my jaybird ass. This was one tuff track. The “rolling hills” that started at the beginning never stopped, they only got worse. And the last 2 miles were the most difficult with intense switch backs with steep grades that just went up and up and up. The only thing I can really compare it to here in Tulsa is maybe Turkey Mountains Elwood hill … but about 3 times as long with slick mud, rocks, falling trees and a steep slant to the trail. And there were several of these difficult sections along the course. I don’t see how anyone could possibly run some of those climbs. After the run Ben said the winner (around 4:41:00) ran all the hills … all 3 loops. That’s way up there on the freaky strong chart. It’s humbling how incredibly talented a lot of the ultra runners are.
So I started my second loop in good spirits and was moving well. I had my first bit of trouble at around 3 ½ hours … maybe halfway into the second loop. I hit one of those long steep climbs and felt a ping on the inside of my right thigh. Sure enough it escalated and drew up tight. The sad thing was that I was power walking up this climb. I starting thinking about only being half way through this thing and I was having to deal with a cramp! I knew it wasn’t from a lack of electrolytes or water … I’d been taking 3 endurolytes and about 23 ozs of water an hour … so I realized it was from being under trained. I just wasn’t used to so much elevation deviation. Luckily I figured out that I could back off a few minutes and the cramp would subside. I learned how important technique is … you really must focus on efficiency and proper form so as to keep the leg muscles in their normal range of motion.. It’s so easy to start leaning to far forward, putting pressure on the lower back and throwing your stride off. I didn’t have anymore cramp problems until I hit that same section on the 3rd loop and had the exact same problem, so it must have been how the trail led into that section that really set up a cramp situation.
Towards the end of that 2nd loop I had my doubts about starting the 3rd loop. It got pretty ruff at times, and it wasn’t because my fuel was spiking my emotions … it was the result of the tuff trail and cold conditions. Seeing Margie at the start finish really helped me get back on track and she sent me off with high spirits for the 3rd loop. I won’t bother you with the details of that last loop. You guys already know what its like to go deep … and so you know. Maybe the next time we’re out on the road or trail I’ll share with you some of the special moments.
I finished the run around 7 hrs and 10 minutes. The longest I’d ever run in a single day. Allot of that time was spent slipping and sliding down the trail or having to walk up hills too steep and slick for me to run. However I can’t deny that I wasn’t properly trained for such a tuff trail.
I later learned that Ben Holmes is quite the ultra runner himself. I had no idea we were in the presence of such an accomplished athlete. So I understand now why the course was so difficult, it reflected a lot of toughness. So if you’re looking to test your mettle, this is the course to give it a go.
The course was well marked and included several signs that reflected more of Ben’s character. I don’t want to ruin the surprise in case you decide to do this some day, but trust me, you’ll enjoy his sense of humor.
I wouldn’t recommend this race as a 1st ultra, you’ll probably trade your trails shoes for a tennis racket. If you do decide to make this your first, train running up hill … all day.
One benefit of being out there for over 7 hours was I thoroughly tested my fuel and hydration protocol. As you guys know I’m an ecaps fan, so for each hour I shoot for 25-28 ozs of plain water, about 3 electrolytes, 250 calories, and 8 grams of protein. I also recently added their anti-fatigue caps. So here’s what I used … and it worked wonderful:
I ate good meals all week and so pre-loaded well. I ate a normal sized dinner portion of steak and baked potatoes etc. around 5:00 PM the night before and didn’t eat anything after that until after the race started at 08:00 the next day. 30 minutes into the run I drank my 1st water and perpetum load (about 125 calories and 3-4 grams protein) and took 1 electrolyte. At the top of the hour I consumed the same water and perpetum load, 2 electrolytes and 1 anti-fatigue cap. So for each hour of work I consumed 250 calories of perpetum, 3 electrolytes, 1 anti-fatigue cap, and about 23 ozs of water. At the 4th hour I added another electrolyte for a total of 4 per hour. Therefore this is a total fluid protocol. I convinced you don’t need to eat breakfast before a long run or eat any type of solid food or simple sugars during the run. This keeps your stomach very happy, keeps the cramps away, and enables your systems natural ability to tap the unlimited amount of fat stores in your body.
We took a camera with us during the run so I’ll forward the pictures when they get developed.

Race Report Psycho Wyco 06- Shane Jones 50k

My race morning started out a little differently than I had planned. I awoke at 7am and looked outside. SNOW! I was a little nervous. I didn’t want muddy conditions for my first ultra. I was supposed to deliver a fire pit to Stacey’s aid station at shelter 10 before the race. We (my wife Brandy, and brother Cody, who were both doing the 10mile race and myself)arrived at the race at about 7:55, a little strange seeing how I live less than a mile from the park. After dropping off the fire pit and rallying back to the start I arrived back at the start to see everyone disappearing into the trail on the other side of the lake.
I remained calm much to the surprise of everyone who knows me. I started out quickly and settled into a nice pace as I worked my way through the back of the pack. I would like to pause here and thank RD BadBen for starting the race without me because if I would have been at the front I undoubtedly would have ran the first few miles like a 5K. So after a couple of miles of running a little faster than I wanted to I caught up to Markos and Patrick. I think quite a few people were caught off guard by the plethora of hills that this course provided because I was catching and passing tons of paeple throughout my first loop. This worked out great for me because I settled down and ran the next few miles with them. Around the time we got past the dam I found myself alone again.
My plan coming into the race was to get through the first two laps in good shape and just see what happened on the third. I was a little worried coming into the race because I had been sick a lot since New Years and had struggled on my long runs. Nevertheless, I stuck to my plan and tried not to think about the distance and just focus on the trail.
I came in from my first lap at 1:53. I felt ok about that considering my late start. I tried to remain focused and stick to my plan. This was when I started to catch a few victims of the frantic start. I came in from my second lap at 3:57.
I felt pretty good about that because one of my prerace goals was to finish in 6 hours. Best of all I still felt pretty good! I felt pretty good all the way through my third loop as the excitement of finishing ( in a decent time) built up inside me. I was even able to kick up the pace Trail Nerd style for the last couple of miles and pass a few people before the finish. I finished in 6:08. I slowed down a little on my last loop and finished a little over my goal time but I was happy with that . Mission accomplished.
After the race I was talking with a few people. Doug (who finished just under 6 hours-GOOD JOB!) was one of them and he told me he had been a little worried about me after my performances on some of our longer training runs. I was worried too Doug, but it turned out okay.
Thanks to everyone involved in the race. I have to say the whole lead up to the race was fun. The trail work, the training runs, marking the course, and race day. I just hope those orienteers don’t start showing up to our weekly runs and kicking our asses!

Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K by Gregg Lynn
Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K Trail RunSaturday Feb 11, 2006 8amWyandotte County Lake Park, KC Kansas,8am, start-cold and breezy.
I wore wind pants over my shorts, 2 layers of tech shirts on top with a wind shirt over that and a sweatshirt to keep my warm before the start. Stocking cap and gloves, fuel belt, garmin and a partridge in a pear tree.

Taken from RD Ben Holmes’ course description at :General Event Description:This is a TRAIL event. Yes, I said TRAIL event. If you want to run on a sissy, paved course, this isn't the race for you.It's a Loop course run on the bridle and single-track trails of Wyandotte County Lake Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The length of each loop is a little over 10 miles; you do the math; 3 loops is 50 kilometers long.The course's trails can be challenging due to rocks & roots and sometimes muddy conditions, and the constant barrage of rolling hills. But remember: This is Kansas, so how tough could it really be???

After a few quick announcements from Ben regarding course conditions-slick! course markings-plenty, and littering-unacceptable, we were finally sent off into the woods at a slow shuffle.

Loop 1: Frozen mud for much of the loop, I fell into a group of about 4 people near the back and ran the first half of the loop with them in what I understand is basic ultra form: run when you can and walk when you should—if you’re not sure then shuffle. 8 miles into the loop was the only manned-full-service aid station and they did a FANTASTIC job of taking care of the runners. The last two miles in to finish the loop is a fairly easy run with a few big climbs thrown in. I finished loop 1 feeling great!

Loop 2: Despite off and on snow, the frozen mud was now thawed out mud. I ran the entire second loop alone and had a couple of really tough patches. I rolled my left ankle pretty bad and it was starting to really hurt about a mile into the loop. By the time I reached the aid station they could see that I was feeling pretty raw. One gal even asked me point blank, “Will I see you one more time?” I told her I’d be back and shuffled, hobbled off to finish loop 2. Note: 11 miles into this race I was “lapped” by 3 of the front-runners who were app. 21 miles into their run!

Loop 3: Do you want it or not? About a mile into loop 3 my left ankle had stopped hurting (or was numb) and I was able to shuffle/jog along. I even ran a couple of the hills I had walked the first two loops. I knew for a fact there was only 1 guy behind me (he actually dropped and I was running dead last). A couple miles into the loop I caught up with Lou Joline, the King Dingaling of running in Kansas City. He’s 73 years old and runs EVERYTHING! It was the highlight of the race to run a few miles with him talking about running, aging and the great feeling of continuing to put one foot in front of the other. We ran together thru the section called The Wyandotte County Triangle which is an amazing maze of switchbacks up and down and around the slide of the bluffs. Another runner dubbed it “Brokeback Mountain” cuz he took a tumble there. I like that name cuz I said more than once during that section “I can’t quit you…”I felt bad leaving Lou at the water stop that follows that loop but there was a section where you could actually run after shuffling for over a mile and I took off. The rest of the way into the aid station I got my second, third, fourth and fifth winds, each one followed by a rougher patch. When I FINALLY reached the aid station I got a “Yahoo” from one of the girls and some much needed aid—I had trouble even picking up food off the table, I was barely hanging on at this point. One of the girls, her name is Stacy even offered to walk a ways with me. She said it was to help me get my mind focused, I think she just wanted me away from the aid station before I crashed and burned for good. She walked me a couple hundred yards across the way and then sent me on. I can’t thank her enough for that kindness.

The last 2 miles in my ankle was hurting again, I was dead tired, and feeling great one moment, awful the next. I ran as much as I could, even managed a decent pace a couple of times. There was still a couple of good climbs that I managed with a little wobble. The last short section to the finish I felt proud and relieved. I felt a little bad for the RD and volunteers for keeping them so late but they seemed very excited that I finished. I made it about 15 minutes before cut-off (9 hours) and had a good bowl of bean and barley soup—they saved some and kept it hot for the last two runners after 9 hours, how classy is that?!?I was dead-tired, hurting and starting to get really cold but there was NO WAY I was leaving without seeing Lou bring it in…and he did with about 5 minutes to spare! What an awesome finish!A few notes on the event:Ben Holmes, RD is a funny, funny man who puts on a 1st class event! The “Famous Amos” family who manned the full-service aid station is INCREDIBLE! I don’t think I would have finished the event without them and I honestly mean that. The course is HARD-and I honestly mean that too. I learned from Ben afterward that the course boasted 15,000 feet of vertical gain/loss over 31 miles. I also learned that bean and barley soup is pretty tasty when you are starving, cold and tired!

Personal note:I’ve lost 37 lbs in 2 years. 18 months ago I quit smoking. 20 months ago I started running. 3 months ago I ran my first marathon. 1 day ago I became an ultra-runner.Thanks for reading—If you’ve read this far it probably took you longer to read it than it did me to run it. Whatever your goals—weight loss—being fitter—being a better parent/husband/wife/child—whatever they are—treat them like an ultra-marathon: slow, patient movement toward the finish line will get you there every time. Gl
Original Post

Psycho Wyco 50k by Deejay
Yesterday I ran the PSycho Wyco 50k in Kansas City, KS. It was my first time in Kansas and I have to say that I was impressed w/ people from kansas. Very friendly. Now i am not in the best shape ever right now, but I have to admit that race was tough! The course is 3 loops and its on a dirt trail. There are many rocks, many hills, stream crossings, uneven terrain. In perfect conditions, it is not easy. But these conditions were definitely not perfect. Despite there being no snow in the forecast, we wake up to an onpour of snow. Not much accumulated, but the weather was crazy. It would be snowing on like half of the course and the other half would be sunny. So the result was that there was just enough snow on the trail, at least for the first loops, that you couldn't see the ground and you couldnt see all those hidden rocks and it was super slippery. I had to grab each tree to avoid falling on my butt and i still fell and i cant even tell you how many times i "almost" fell. The second loop was probably the best b/c the snow covering seemed to have melted on most of the course. The third loop was just plain muddy! It was tough. 31 miles on perfectly flat, paved trail is not easy. So this was for sure a real challenge. But it was a great race. $35 for a long sleeve shirt, huge medals, aid stations stocked w/ everything, even hot soup. For the first time i tried frappacino and hot soup in the middle of a race. yummy. Well, this is my 14th marathon or beyond race completed. I love the challenges of these things. Now....onto the next big thing. St. Louis marathon in April. Although there may be some smaller stuff before then.
Original Post

WyCo Wacos by David Schrik
Well, it was 4:30am, and I knew I wasn't going to get back to sleep. I didn't feel too hung over (buddie came in last night from Iraq), so, I couldn't think of any excuses not to run the trail race. I would rue that decision many times over the next couple of hours. There was a thin dusting of snow on the ground outside my house. I thought that would be fitting. I trail trace just isn't a trail race without a adverse conditions. On the way to the race, the light snow turned into a blizzard. I could barely see the road in front of me. I was getting a bad feeling about this.

As I pulled into Wyandotte Lake Park, the snow stopped and the wind died down. It was still cold, about 20 degrees, but that's nothing. The first thing I noticed was that were a lot of cars in the parking lot. Last year they had 45 runners. This year, they had a turnout of over 200. I didn't know there that many sado-masochist in KC. A lot of them must have been from out of town. There are a lot of trail racers who won't even do regular road race (too mundane), but will, willingly, travel a good distance to find a challenging, scenic course.

I've done the Chili run a few times, which runs on the road that circles the lake, and, it is hilly as hell. But, that's nothing compared to the trail. The trail was very well marked with little rad flags. The starter said that even "a blind polititian" could find it. I asked him "Demecrat or republican?" There's a difference, you know. I even led for the first quarter mile or so. Last year, only a handful of runners did the 10-miler. Oh, I forgot to mention, there were three distances, 10-miles, (actually 10.3), 20, and 30-miles. 1, 2, or 3 laps.

I let a couple more people pass in the first mile. It turns out that a lot more runners were doing the 1-lapper this year. The footing was treacherous, to say the least. There were rock and roots throughout. I got on a flat stretch that opened up to a meadow and looked around to enjoy the scenery. Big mistake! I hit a root and hit the ground hard. It wouldn't be the last time. I wore an old pair of trail shoes, but, they were still pretty slick. I'm going to have to invest in a new more advanced pair. So, you really had to focus on you footing on the entire trail.

Now, we started to hit some hills. They totally redefined the work steep. Lactic acid would flood your body at the top of each hill. You don't get that in road races.

We topped a big hill and there was a bunched up line of us. We were encountering a series of sharp, switch backs as we went down the hill. It brought to mind a slalom skier. Trail racing involves a lot of stabalizer muscles. I hate say this, but, I fell no less than 3 times through this stretch. Each one with an "$%@& me!" or, "Oh,@#%*!" expletive. I hope they thought I had Territes Syndrome.

I finally made it to the bottom of the slalom course. Then I looked up at, what seemed like, a sheer cliff. I mean I could have used a ladder to climb that hill. At the top, the trail ran along the crest for a stretch. The scenery and view from there was very nice. Be careful! Don't enjoy it too much. Then, it was down a steep, rock-strewn hill. I was a runaway train. I couldn't stop if I wanted to. I was just hoping that there wasn't a ledge at the bottom, because if there was, I was going to be airborne.

My body was really taking a beating at this point, the continuous, uneven footing, the steep hills, and the falls were starting to take a toll. To add insult to injury, my shoes were rubbing my left pinky raw. When will this nightmare end?

I really wasn't so concerned about racing at this point, as I was about surviving. I was holding this one guy off, though, then all of a sudden, he made a mad dash by me. We turned a corner, and there was the finish line. No time to make a counter move. He must have been familiar with the course. He, also, was in my age group. They only gave out one medal in each age group. All that for nothing.

I can't wait until next year!


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