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)
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!)