This was not my first time out at Clinton Lake running, but my first time doing this race, Sander's Saunter. I chose the 25 K distance, because I have lost my damn mind and I can't find it. It was my last really big distance race of the year and a trail race that Stella could do with me. It was suppose to be SUPER cold, so layers was the name of the game with my Mizuno base layers, plus a buff, a light wind breaker jacket from Brooks, some lobster gloves, hand warmers, and fleece ear warmers. I don't mind running in the cold and actually enjoy it, as I have the right gear to make sure I am comfortable.
Teri and I were planning on getting to the race about an hour early to pick up packets and take care of bathroom breaks. I figured the race would be at the same start/finish as the other Hawk races and I was right because the theme of the day was get lost!
|stolen off of teri's page because well, I totally forget to take "before" pictures!|
When we started, we went out blue and turned up the gravel pathway out to Sander's mound. While it was very beautiful, there were way too many people to stop and take a picture both going up since other runners were going down and then going down because I didn't want to fall and break my neck. We settled in with a group of runners and I was kind of excited to have others around me for once. When we came back from Sander's mound, we headed out on white for a bit. The white trail is very rocky and technical in my opinion, so no pictures there either. Overall, I think I tripped/almost fell 7 times total, but never completely fell so WIN! I have never felt confident running down hill on rocks, so I quickly let the guy behind me pass. I played leap frog with a lady and her off leash dog who ran with stella for a while, once I felt comfortable letting stella off leash. The 50K started an hour before us, and while I knew super fast 50K runners would lap us at some point, I figured it would be a while before I needed to corral her.
We ran white all the way to Land's end. This is about the time I thought i was lost. I knew there was an aid station at Lake Henry that we would pass twice, first time around mile 3ish. I thought I saw it, but I didn't see the way down to it and then I backtracked to make sure I didn't need to check in/out. They told me to keep going and keep going I did, but I kept thinking, am I going the right way? Now a little bit about me, I am a nervous pee person, so I started getting super nervous and that tailwind just kept going straight through me. This is an advantage to being a back of the packer at trail races, I can just step off the trail and pee and no one will see :) Until I got to Land's End, I was pretty sure I was somehow lost, so Land's End was an amazing sight! The aid station volunteers checked us in and quickly filled both of my bottles with water and helped me get my tailwind mixed in, and sent me on my way. They even filled Stella's bowl with water and got her fixed up with lots of love! We did a quick 4 mile jaunt around, in which we picked up blue and headed back to Land's End. I did get a few pictures from then on, as we were close to the water and the blue trail is a little nicer. These trails are very very beautiful, but the challenge of leaves on the trail was tough. When you can't see the rocks, they tend to jump up and bite you! I seriously don't see how these guys do a 7-8 minute per mile pace! I want their floating genes!