To summarize: I drove to Louisville and back, lost $14 dollars gambling at Churchill Downs, ran my first trail race, pooped in the woods, fell, completed my second half-marathon, , and was beat by 2- 14 year olds who completed their first half and trail marathon. It was a good weekend and fun was had by all.
The long version:
Clayton and I picked up his friend Brett on Friday morning en route to our day and a half adventure. Our first destination was Churchill Downs in Louisville. While there are probably a lot more wholesome activities than gambling, let’s be real here…..gambling on horses surrounded by a grandstand full of characters some of which are well on their way to drunk, is a load of fun. We downloaded the FastBet Mobile application, loaded our $40 bucks and placed our bets. Five races later we had cashed out with some wins and mostly losses, totaling $14 bucks.
We checked into our hotel and headed to Olive Garden for dinner. This was followed by the boys swimming in the hotel pool while I skyped with Greg and then took a little nap.
The next morning came early with a wake-up time of 4:30 AM. We had an hour drive west of Lousiville to Bristoe, IN. The race is held on two lakes loop which is part of The Hoosier National Forest. There is an 8 mile, half-marathon and full marathon trail run. The half is one loop around both lakes and then obviously the full is two loops. Each loop consists of a total of 3150 ft total elevation gain, crossing of 3 streams (although I think I counted more), and a whole lot of everything you might expect of a trail run except for snakes. Thank God I did not see any snakes.
Upon arriving in the park we were given our car tag for entry, followed by a stop where we were checked off of the entry list and given our t-shirts. Then we were sent to a small parking lot where people parked haphazardly wherever they could find a spot. I immediately noticed one bathroom with a long line of both gals and guys. Not really what you want to see when you really have to go. Especially when you have a five minute shuttle ride to the actual starting line, you’re not really sure what the bathroom situation is once you get up there and you only have about 20 minutes to go until race time.
The unisex non-flushing toilet without running water:
So yes, for those of you that read my loopville post (and the above summary) I DID poop in the woods. Better to do it there than wait in that line or have to right at the start of the race when we’re all bunched in on a tiny narrow trail. Felt good too. Just sayin’. (Oh and I also made Clayton and Brett scurry through the woods along my intended path to a big tree in hopes of scaring away any snakes that might be hanging out. You know, kind of like those guys that used to drink the king’s wine to make sure it wasn’t poisoned.)
The three of us caught the shuttle and proceeded to the get your name written on your hand with a permanent marker station. This is much better than an annoying race bib and pretty much the style of the whole race….simple and adequate. After that we were off to the start line where we headed to the back. I wanted to make sure the boys started off slow especially considering the fact that neither had run farther than 6 miles. A short set of instructions were given by Chris Hollinden the race director and then he hollered out a “ready, set, go”.
We immediately began the process of merging into a single file line to enter the trail head which resulted in a lot of walking for about a mile…..a mile and a half if you ask Clayton. By that time we were spread out enough to where you were mostly running by yourself. It was within this first mile that I realized how inexperienced I was at running on trails. I mean it was downright frightening at times. I know I’m not in great racing shape but even if I were I still can’t imagine running much faster than I actually did. The scenery was beautiful I think but I really didn’t get a chance to see much of it. I was too focused on the trail and trying to stay upright. I started to keep track of how many times I almost fell but I ended up losing count.
I did actually fall once. It was right after the first aid station which was at the 4 mile mark. I was running along when I noticed this big guy in front of me drop, tuck and do a side roll. It was so freakin’ fast and graceful that after he went down, rolled and got back upright I actually thought to myself “wow, did he mean to do that”. It wasn’t but a moment later…..at about the time I passed the very spot where he fell that I suddenly shot forward subsequently landing on both knees, my left palm and my right shoulder, AT THE SAME TIME. I landed facing the trail backwards, watching the two chatty girls behind me run towards me. Not graceful at all. Having now fallen on both concrete and a trail in almost the same manner, I can assure you that falling on a trail is much less painful.
Time was of no concern to me on this run. While I was aware of it, I didn’t care about it. I just wanted to finish without stitches. I walked much of the hills. Funny too that my heart rate actually was more elevated when I was walking than when I was running. That was how crazy hilly the hills were. There were moments that they seemed to go on forever the worst of which was followed by the fourth and final aid station. Never been so happy to see Gatorade, Coke and M&M’s in all of my life.
I finished in a time of 2:46:44. Just shy of an hour slower than my only other attempt at the half and 16:44 seconds slower than Greg’s prediction time for me. Clayton and Brett finished in 2:30:55.
This race is awesome. It’s a no nonsense run that that is put on by and benefits the local high school XC team. There is no goodie bag, no medals, and no sponsors. The aid stations were plentiful and I’m still in awe wondering how the heck they got the Gatorade and water coolers so deep in the woods. The meal afterwards was amazing as well. Your typical post race cheeseburger is usually cooked by some old, bald guy. I’ll take the one from the strapping young lad any day of the week. 🙂
Finally, I just want to share with you the description on the race website:
Before you read any further into this website, realize that
this race is not for people running with babies in strollers
or for people dressed up like Elvis…this race is for
serious runners who want to race some of the most
difficult terrain in the Midwest. If you would rather run in
the suburbs and set a personal best running through the
parking lot of the local mall, please leave by clicking here.