1st place (16 people did 2 loops, I was the first one who finished, I think)
Timing is everything, really. Just two weeks ago I tore my body up bad running the Burning River 100 and had not recovered yet. A local running shop (Running Fit) is a huge sponsor of running related things, organizing races, training, etc. They have started doing Fat Ass (= no entry fee, no frills, potluck style races) runs, and this one was only an hour away. I just could not say no.
This run was organized by Farra (guru to Running Fit’s Ultra Team) as a training run for people getting ready for the Run Woodstock series of races (including a few ultra distances) in September. It is a nice little ~13.5 mile loop (hence the race title ‘Lucky 13’) in the Island Lake Recreation Area near Brighton, MI. The idea was people could sign up to do as many loops as they wanted, with most people signing up for 1-4 loops. Since it was advertised, over 50 people showed up (spread over all distances, not sure how many did 2+) and we even got race shirts, I am counting this as a marathon race for my 100 in 1 quest. I can do that since it is my idea. :)
Burning River kicked my butt and I took I seriously dialed back my mileage these last two weeks. I took the three days before this race off hoping my body would be at least 80% recovered by then. I was wrong. The course was not all that well marked and I had never runs these trails before, so I got in behind a speedster (a nice Running Fit employee named Trevor) who is a 2:50 marathoner who was doing only one loop. I figured I would follow him for the first loop and then do the second loop alone. The trail is almost all single track with small hills, but tree branches and grass growing over the trail. No way of getting into anything like a stable running pace, but that’s what you get when you do a trail race. Trevor and I were doing a decent 8:15 pace which is not slow for that trail. At about mile 11, I was starting to get seriously fatigued and my legs were started to protest, so I let Trevor go figuring by this point, the trail was self explanatory (it was).
There was a light drizzle for most of the day and the trail was wet, but not bad. My shirt got soaked from wet branches, but my shoes and feet stayed reasonably dry. As I was coming into the start/finish area, (1:55 into the race) I was seriously considering stopping after 1 loop. I felt awful, I was wet and cold and the night before our power went out, and Mistique was home alone still with no power. I couldn’t come up with a reason to go back out. But I changed my shirt, grabbed a cookie and went out anyways. I have run several marathons where the full marathoners run right by the finish line for the half-marathoners at the halfway point and considered dropping down to the half distance that day (usually allowed) but I never have done it. I guess this was just another case of ‘Get out there and finish the marathon, darnit’. Those other times, I was not still sore from a previous race, unlike this time where I felt rolled hard and put away wet.
The second loop was harsh. Frequent speed-walking sections and sore legs every step in addition to the same wet trail conditions (did I mention the mosquitoes were terrible?) made for a just not so fun run. But, since I am bull headed and I always finish what I start, albeit slower than I want, I finished. Once I hot the end, I spend only a few minutes chatting with others and eating some of the large amount of food brought by the kind souls of the race before the bugs got to me and I wanted to get home to my power-less home.
A fun little local marathon, which is exactly what I am looking for with my new 100 in 1 goal. Sleep in my own bed, wake up, run a marathon, and be home for dinner. I love that part.