Would you ride with friends? (anything)
Would you get a little lost? (anything...anything to race!)
Would you pass a lake? (anything)
Would you love the fall colors? (anything)
Would you run on singletrack? (anything...anything to race!)
Would you talk and laugh? (anything)
Would you appreciate the flats? (anything)
Would you wish the teeter totter was part of the track? (anything...anything to race!)
Would you slide down gravel? (anything)
Would you scale a cliff? (anything)
Would you sing the Rocky theme incessantly as you ran uphill? (anything...anything to race!)
Would you count down miles? (anything)
Would you push hard at the end? (anything)
Would you finish with a smile? (anything...anything to race!)
I think I've mentioned a time or two that I was hurting after last Sunday's private half ironman, so when I agreed to yesterday's trail race at Klondike Park, I did so with the understanding that I was going to take it easy. I'd walked several miles during the week, but I wasn't sure how a run would go. Even so, I was looking forward to getting to hang out in the woods with some of my friends.
Judy, Vanessa, and Lindsay picked me up at about 6:30 and we met Krystal and Jeff (not my Jeff) at the park, near Augusta, MO. Despite some slight navigational difficulties, we got there in plenty of time to sign up. Since most of us hadn't pre-registered, the lady who checked us in said we could come back after the race to see if there were enough shirts for us to get one. I was hoping there would be because I liked the shirts.
|Krystal, Lindsay, Judy, me, and Vanessa before the race|
The race started on a paved road and then curved down around the lake. Apparently they used to mine for silica sand there, and there was plenty of sand blowing across the trail and beside the lake area.
|The lake is to the left here|
The first mile was primarily paved trail with a short stretch of trail and then a long hill. We opted to walk the big hill. Once we got to the top, though, we got to run downhill on some sweet singletrack.
|Yeah...I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.|
Coming into our third mile we ran into Vanessa, who wasn't feeling well, so we all ran the rest of the way together. There was a water/gatorade stop at mile 3, and then the arrows pointed us onto the Katy Trail. I've done two different week-long bike trips on the Katy, so it's just a special place to me. It makes me happy just being there...plus, it's nice and flat. :)
|Some day maybe I'll stop taking pictures on the run...|
Back in Klondike, the race route took us to the singletrack on the other side of the park. This part was considerably more rocky and technical, with some cool bike skills areas (teeter totter, drops, etc).
I'd love to see somebody else ride this, but I think I'd still be an admiring spectator at this point. :)
There was another water stop at mile 5ish, and though we were hopeful about nice, flat trails ahead, the ranger on duty assured us there was no such luck. After passing him, we headed down a steep, loose-gravel hill. With the gravel sliding under my feet, I almost fell twice but managed to make it to the bottom without injury. We had said hi to a lady on her way up, and she wasn't particularly friendly, but when we made the return trip we realized that she probably only had enough energy to breathe and keep moving forward.
It was a long way back up that hill, but I made it, humming the "Rocky" music the whole way. I may have even raised my hands in the air like the champion I am when I got to the top. I'm not sure...it's all a fog now. :) We passed our ranger friend again and then headed back towards the beginning. Knowing that the end was near, I picked up my pace a little bit. I was really enjoying myself and had a big smile on my face. We got back to where we'd started, and the arrows were pointing us back towards the lake.
Really? I kind of thought we were basically done. :-/ Still pushing, we rounded the lake, crossed the bridge to see the smiling faces (and cameras) of the friends who'd been finished for some time, and up a hill to the finish line. My time was 1:29:16 for the 7 mile race (49 out of 56). Possibly my slowest time, but most definitely some of the most fun that I've had in a race.
As recovery runs go, this one was pretty much ideal, and it was made better by the post-race food. There was bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. and honey. I love honey, and on that grainy bread it was delicious. And if three pieces of bread weren't enough, we stopped at O'Connell's in St. Louis for some awesome burgers, fries, and pickles.
This was the second in the St. Charles County Parks "Wild in the Woods" trail race series. Unfortunately, "real life" is going to keep me away from #3, but I'm hoping I might be able to make it to the final one, and I'm going to do my best to clear my schedule (ha ha) for these next year. If you live in the St. Louis area, check out this race series. They have well-run races in amazing parks. You won't regret it.
*Thanks to Lindsay for letting me borrow her facebook comment for a title. Thanks, also, to her for making me crave a Klondike bar all day. And for the two glasses of wine, which weren't ice cream but certainly did the trick. :)