Saturday, December 5, 2015

Alternative Chili Trail Run 10 miler 2015- My first Trail nerds race

I had always heard of the Trail Nerd's races, but they are all in KC, and let's face it,  I am not a trail runner.  Based on my performance and the aftermath of my first sort of technical, but mostly just hilly 25 K, I had kind of sworn off trail running.  We don't train much on trails around here anyway, since we have to drive to the few we have, and Konza doesn't allow dogs (and for a good reason).  I would love to do more trails just to get a change of scenery, but I will admit, I am just lazy when it comes to going somewhere to run.  Heck, my whole marathon training cycle was done on the same gravel roads out by our house.

Enter my crazy trail running and obstacle course chasing running friends Pat and Mel.  They had done a trail nerds race and LOVED it.  I didn't have anything for December, and there was a 10 miler that just fit perfectly with my long runs that they were both doing.  I was a little worried because my training had been pretty low key up till this point.  I haven't done any hill repeats, and my long run/easy run route has 0 hills.  Plus, you throw in the word "technical" and I get a might bit nervous.  Being a good running friend though, I signed up, mainly because this group allows canine pacers at the races, but also who can beat beer and chili post race with two of my favorite crazy running friends?

My training or lack of has been pretty good as far as I had slowly been leading up to 10 miles.  I was feeling good after a speedy fartlek session monday, well,until I got the email from the race director which contained the following sentence:
  • At mile 6 or so, after a long down-hill along a ridgeline, there will be 2 signs that'll say SLOWER-DANGER.  You need to heed this warning,  especially if you are a faster runner; it gets extremely steep and rocky here before a tight-right-turn…and we’ve had some broken bones at this location, in past races.
  • item_393_Slower_Danger_Sign
Uh, broken bones? Whoa, wait a minute!  Then I started watching the chatter on the Trail nerd's FB page about the mud and how bad it was in places.  Hmmm.  What have I gotten myself into?  After a mini panic attack and a virtual snap out of it by Mel, I finally calmed down and thought to myself, this is going to be fun, just go with it.  How bad can it be with stella ella by my side?  I have NO goals other than to maybe not have broken bones and finish with a smile.
I swear, we didn't plan on dressing alike, honestly
The morning started early with a 5:30 am wake up to get ready to drive to KC.  We had an hour and a half drive to get to the trail head and pick up our packets.  I had NO clue how to dress, so since it was feels like 27 when we got there, I went with gloves, a long sleeved tech T, tights, a hat and ear warmers.  I also still felt cold due to the wind blowing, so I put my arm warmers on under my shirt.  I don't know why, but it did help me stay warm till my body made it's own heat.  I am sad to say I lost one of my gloves on the trail, but when I warmed up, I tied my warm warmers on my waist band for stella's leash and shoved my ear warmer band in my pack.  I decided to go with my hydration vest, and one pack of cliffshots just in case.  I opted for one 10 oz bottle of Nuun water, so I could put stella's new collapsible water bowl in the other pocket.  I am sure those trail runners thought I looked like a pack mule.   Most of them were in shorts and long sleeved Ts, and not much else.  I wish I could be that confident that I would stay warm!

Now let me start by saying this was our first truly technical trail that included mostly single track trail, with a few larger grassy sections.  We had tons of rain last weekend up until monday, so I amazed they were dry at all.  Mostly, they were leaf covering mud, rocks and sticks.  There were some very steep hills, some very tricky down hills, and some very fun switch backs.  This first pic was from the start of the race.  You can see all of the rocks poking out of the leaves.  Sometimes I would forget about them, and totally biff it.  I can't tell you how many times I almost fell.  I learned a lot about picking up my feet.  I also learned about mud and water crossings.  I will for sure be getting better trail shoes for the next one.  After my feet got wet from the first crossing, my shoes and socks started to rub and my feet became bloody blister minefields that pretty much hurt the entire race.  It's amazing how you can just push the pain to another place and keep going.  

I learned so much on this run.  We had fun.  We almost fell multiple times.  We got mud all over and almost lost shoes. I pretty much smiled the entire race, and when I got done, I couldn't wait to sign up for another one!  At some points I couldn't believe i was doing the things I was doing.  Like one time, the trail was straight up, or so it seemed, and muddy.  Like super slick muddy.  I was able to hold onto stella's harness and she went up ahead of me.  We did that several times, her slowing down to steady me. Or when we had to use ropes to make it up the steep trail.  Or when we ran along a ridge line that went straight down if you stepped off of the trail (I couldn't look down, I am afraid of heights).  I got to talk with several people on the trail who were SUPER nice. Honestly, I  have never met such nice people at a race or at any event.  They gave me tips for my next one, complimented me on how I did (I came in 143 out of 153 but they didn't seem to care, I finished and that was good enough) and told me about upcoming races that Stella and I needed to do.  I stayed with a couple for the majority of the race, until the end when they stopped to fuel (i had fueled at mile 5), and we talked the whole time.  I was really worried about getting lost, but the trail nerd crew had that trail marked SO well that I finally got the courage to go on by myself and never got lost:)

We both ended up covered in mud, with medals, a cool calendar, a collapsible water bowl, and a trail nerd's hat.  More than that, we got a ton of confidence that we can both do hard things, and that we can master some pretty technical trails.  We also got a cool 10 mile sticker and a Trail nerd's sticker that have been proudly displayed on Sir Stubby, since the weather was warm when we got home.  I feel like i have been in a fight as my right hip is killing me, even after soaking in the whirlpool tub tonight.  I seriously feel just as sore as I did post Chicago.  Tomorrow should be interesting, and I anticipate having to take a few days off of training to rest and recover.  I honestly can't wait to do another one of these races.  You can't beat the nice people and swag and FREE race pictures.  

Have a great weekend and check out a Trail Nerd's race if you are in the KC area!

1 comment:

  1. Yup, Trail Nerds races are the best! You're a trail runner now. See you at Psycho Wyco!