Monday, October 21, 2013

Moccasin Gap 10miler Race Report

     Saturday dawned cloudy and cool with some rain on the local radar.  Thankfully, the rain moved out as we made our way to Ozark, IL.  
     The race announcer confirmed that the trail was significantly muddy from the previous night's rain.  There would be three aid stations and we would be following the pink signs and ribbons for the 10miler.  We started at 10 AM on the dot!  (I'm in the blue hoodie)
     I started strong and was even able to keep other runners in my sight for the first couple of miles!  The scenery was stunning!  I would love to go back to this trail for a hike and truly take it in!   
    There is a gentleman in a red jacket in the bottom center of this photo.  I think that shows perspective on just how big that rock/wall/cliff is!!!  
     The singletrack was perfect for trail running and I was having a lovely time until I started sucking mud! Somewhere after the first aid station, the trail became increasingly intermittent.  When you hit mud, it was a quagmire!  I was kind of glad when I hit a big rocky uphill, because the mud decreased, but I was also forced to begin mostly walking.
     At the top of this ridge was the halfway point, with a goody filled aid station #2, a big forestry lookout tower, and a water refill. I took a handful of pretzels and kept moving.  I now wish I had stashed a handful of that candy in my hydration belt!  Didn't I learn my lesson at Bernheim?!!  I still have a lot to learn about my fuel needs.  
     My next picture is of a lovely wooded singletrack.  There are pink ribbons on the trees to the right.  And my phone battery died right after I took this picture. 
     So I'm with no phone, no music, no GPS lady reading off my times in my ear, no problem!  My feet felt great, so I buckled down for some serious hiking!  I would "wog" (walk/jog, a Karla Hogancamp term, lol) along where I could and slog through mud like a pig when I had to!  I think the mud is what started getting to me towards the end of the trail.  I was sick of it!  I was also out of fuel and water by this point and I began to enter a dark place:(.  It's hard to explain but everything seemed larger than life!  This mud pit was just too much, or this one gorgeous woods just seemed unreal!  I was able to clean my shoes of most of the mud at a lovely stream.  I just wanted to stay there but a pink ribbon said, "no, come this way".  It was the last pink ribbon I remember seeing.  After I went up a huge boulder hill (also bigger than life) I came out on a camp road but there were no pink signs or ribbons.  Which way to go? Where was the third aid station? (I never did see it).  What time is it?  I'm hungry and feeling a little mad.  I pick left and trot on!  It seemed like forever before I found some cabins and campers who said they had seen runners earlier and to keep going in 👉that direction.  If they had offered me food, I would have taken it!  (No more pity party, lol, just describing how I was REALLY feeling at the time). 
     The last incline was made brighter by seeing my mom coming down looking for me!  I was so tired and hungry, and she walked with me to the finish line.  I should have hugged her, but all I could think of was eating.  I rested a moment next to the time keeper and another volunteer who handed me my finisher's badge and a door prize!  I really wanted to hug them, too!  On my way to the food, a trail running friend congratulated me on finishing and I confessed I lost the pink ribbons, and I remembered at the beginning of the race he had said "you can never have enough trail markers!"  Well said my friend, well said!
(A special thanks to my mom, the finish line time keeper, the awards giver, and my trail running friend, Shannon, you all waited for me and that meant a lot!  
     Oh, and the fella in the red jacket in the second picture?  We met him and his wife at a local restraunt!  We all recognized each other immediately!  They were so encouraging and inspiring!  Safe travels back to Wisconsin!)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Back to the singletrack

     It's been two months since I ran on the Canal Loop singletrack and I've missed it so much!  The Central Hardwoods Trail has been smooth and bug free, but just doesn't give me the same mental and physical workout that the Canal Loop does.  
     I purchased some high percentage DEET bugspray and hit the trailhead Saturday with high hopes that the storms would hold off.  The storms held off and the sun peaked through several times as I traversed the east side of the Canal Loop Trail.  
     I posted this pic on Instagram and shared a little info about having a favorite poster (when i was 12), that I would have loved to "be in", especially the summer I had my lawn mower accident.  The poster was this lush green trail with a deer on the trail.  Saturday's trailrun reminded me of that poster and I just felt blessed, like my dream came true!!  
     For lack of a better word, I would also describe Saturday as "whimsical".  There were the usual number bikers on the trail, but I also saw a gentleman out training his treeing cur pups, GPS collars included!  Not your average trail user, lol, but a welcome change from the usual hikers and bikers.  
     The sun peaked in and out and birds were everywhere, but I hope the next picture shares the "whimsy" I felt while on the trail...

     The little fella in the foreground is an ornate box turtle according to my knowledgable nephew, Blake, and trust  me, he knows his turtles!  
     I had plans on doing the entire loop to prepare for the Moccasin Gap 10 miler coming up, but decided at the halfway point to do some crosstraining/biking instead.  I don't want to share the details,  but my bike is now being worked on at Dicks Sporting Goods, and I may invest in some elbow and knee pads! 
     Here is the map/recap of my trail run.

     I'm also registered for a virtual 10k later this month, the Jostrunning Oktoberfest!  Virtual racing is a different kind of fun, with the freedom to walk/run on your own day.  Most virtual races are connected to a charity.  The ones I have done so far were for Shriners, Celiac disease, and the upcoming virtual race will be for a food bank.  Here is my race bib for the Oktoberfest...

     And here is the medal, which I will receive in the mail, after I run my 10k and turn in my time and a picture with my bib # to the Jostrunning website. 
     Also check out Anywhere 5k for more virtual 5k races.  Both Jostrunning and Anywhere 5k can be found on Facebook and twitter.