Sunday, March 23, 2014

LBL 23K Race Report

     Snow, mud, and I wasn't last.  That should be the title for this blog post, haha! The weather has been a moody girl this year, and after the last half marathon, (see previous blog post) I hoped Mother Nature was done with her nastiness, but I was oh, so, wrong. She was a teasing temptress as I went to the Canal Loop one week before the race for my last long practice run. 
     It was a beautiful day on the trail and I had high hopes that race day would dawn just as warm and sunny.  The weather report called for rain, ice, snow the Sunday/Monday before the race.  I don't think anyone anticipated the mess staying around as long as it did, but cold temps dominated once again and the trail went from the pic above to this a week later...
     "A brown snowcone" is what I heard one runner call it, and rightly so.  I put my yaktrax on for the second half of the race, and though they helped with footing I do think they held snow on top of my left shoe, and I couldn't feel my toes for about an hour.  I shucked the yaktrax when I came off the trail to finish the trip into town on the road.  I never went back for them.  
     My only real goal was to finish with a better time than last year.  I beat last year's time by 32 minutes!  In the muck! Hard work and training pays off!  Now if the trail/weather cooperates next year, I'll see just how much my time really has improved!  
     Due to the harsh weather, the trail condition took a big hit.  West KY Runners club, along with LBL staff and other volunteers, met this past weekend to do trail repairs.  (I'm in the grey jacket)
      I learned a lot by working on the trail with these people and was honored to do so.  Doing this work gave me a new insight into this beautiful trail and makes me love it even more.  
     LBL is a very unique place and we are blessed in western Kentucky to have such a place.  One of my goals for 2014 is to run at least 500 miles.  I plan on many of those miles occurring in the Land Between the Lakes area!  And with views like this, who can blame me.

Take The Long Way Home

    The weather this winter has certainly made every training run feel like "the long way home".  (All you 80's peeps cue the Supertramp soundtrack!).  I decided more than a year ago that I wouldn't let the weather be an excuse for not exercising (except lightning, safety first!).  I was very hard pressed this winter to keep my end of the bargain.  I had to maintain my "safety first" motto and dusted off the treadmill on days when the footing was just too dangerous to stand much less run or even walk!  As long as it was not too slick to risk injury, I still walked and ran outside when I could.  The winter weather has certainly made life interesting...for all of God's creatures!
     I signed up for the Crab Orchard "Fly with the Eagles" half marathon on Feb  8th, a month before the LBL 23K.  "It'll be good practice" a friend says (you know who you are, lol). The weather continued to be atrocious and the race was postponed a week due to road/trail conditions.  My mind began its little hamster wheel turning, "are these two long races too close together for me? Will I be able to adequately recover in between? I consider the LBL 23K the pinnacle of my race calendar.  I didn't want anything to affect me beating last year's time!  
     The morning of the new race date dawned cold as (*insert your favorite colloquialisms*) or to be honest, plain ole 15 degrees!!!!  Crab Orchard lake was frozen solid.  The noises coming from the ice were amazing!  Mother Nature's music at its most freaky!  I even saw 2 eagles flying overhead around mile 11!  I had a lot of leg cramps those last couple of miles, but still enjoyed this race! 
     Here is Mr. 21 himself, after the race.  Thanks for always encouraging us to be the best we can be!
     Here is my race photo, about mile 3. 
The red hoodie was our race shirt (coolest race shirt, ever!) and I was glad I decided to wear it because it never got above freezing that day.  One of my secrets for cold mornings is in the fuel belt you see me wearing in the pic; it's lemon ginger echinacea juice!  It's carb and sugar enough to give a boost of energy and the ginger seems to warm me up!  I'm glad I didn't back out due to the temperatures/weather and I'm glad I didn't quit due to the leg cramps.  I may not be fast but I have as much determination as the fastest! 


     Sorry it's been so long since the last blog post.  The holidays and training certainly take a toll on blogging! 
     Since the last post, I did the Pearl of the Purchase 5k and placed in my age group!  Sharon Downs received the women's masters award! 
     Then it was off to Missouri for a couple of trail races.  The Klaus Park "Meandering Turkey" was a new experience for me.  This 4.5 mile trail is designed more for mountain bike types. It's a lot of trail in a small space, "meandering" through a beautiful woods.  It was also "no earbuds allowed" which was a first for me.  I placed in my age group and LOVE my award!
     The Perryville "Turkey Burn Off" was 3.5 mile trail race around a beautiful lake and was exactly the type I like! A variety of terrain, a few small hills, and good people. Definitely one race I'll be doing again!  Stay tuned!