Skippo 20K Trail Race

After last week's half marathon, I was looking forward to the Go! St. Louis 10K on October 17, but my brother sent me a text earlier this week to suggest the Skippo 20K.  Since I've been wanting to do a trail run, I was excited.  It's weird how differently I felt going into the two races.  I was really nervous about the half marathon.  For this race,  there was really no pressure.  I was looking forward to just going out and running and seeing how it was.

Skippo 20K

The race was held at Castlewood State Park in Ballwin, MO.  Since I've hiked there with my family before, I kind of knew what to expect from the terrain (hills!).  I wasn't sure how I would do running on said hills, but I knew I wouldn't be setting any land speed records.

In addition to my brother, his friend Scott also ran today.  While I went to bed by 10 last night, the boys were out drinking.  I think between them they had about 20 beers.

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Team Hangover, looking forward to the day's race and wishing they'd brought adult diapers.

Unlike the cool temperatures at last week's race, today's were considerably warmer.  And by "considerably", I mean about 40 degrees.  By our 9:00 start time, it was already warmer than it was at the end of the half marathon. 

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I'd like to tell you that this is an intentional "cool photo effect", but in reality my camera (my son's camera) hasn't totally recovered from being dropped in the sand in Wisconsin.

We took off down the road.

Skippo 20K

Being the good little blogger that I am, and knowing that the scenery on the run would be really pretty (and not corn), I decided to bring a real camera instead of relying on my cell phone pictures.  I figured that I do a pretty good job taking pictures from my bike and would like to have some better pictures from my runs.

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Ahem.  So much for that plan.

The first part of the trail follows along the river.  It was wooded, fairly smooth, and very pretty.

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There were a couple of points where people were running two or three abreast, making it hard to get past them, but on the whole it wasn't bad.  Also, it was a very friendly run.  I got the chance to talk with several people along the way, which makes the time pass more quickly.

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Because of my commitment to "better" pictures, I wore my new Amphipod pack so that I could carry my camera.  Getting the camera out was no problem.  Getting it back in was no problem.  Running while getting it back in was a problem.  Bam! Hit a root and did a Superman through the air.  I landed mostly on my knees and elbows.  It hurt, but not all that badly, and yet I still wanted to cry as I got up, collected my bottle, and kept running.  More from the surprise than anything, I think.  Anyway, after that, I decided that maybe my race report would be OK without any more pictures.

Well, without many more.

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My least favorite part of the route was the stairs.  There were a lot of stairs.  I don't know how many, and I was too tired to count them.  Either time.

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That's right...we had to go up the stairs twice.  Scott: "I liked the stairs.  That's where I rested."  Screw you, buddy...go have another beer.  :)

My favorite part of the route (scenery-wise) came at the top of the stairs, though.  Gorgeous river views.

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Hello, Fall.  :)
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Once you reached the top of the stairs, you weren't quite finished climbing.  Now it was time to head up a rocky hill.

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Go right ahead...I just stopped to take a picture.  Certainly not because I couldn't breathe any longer.

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I'm sure she would appreciate this shot.  I'm sorry lady, whoever you are.  I should also note that she was ahead of me the whole time.  You go girl.

This trail transitioned into a downhill that was both steeper and more treacherous.  Lots of roots and larger, pointy rocks.  I just kept telling myself, Don't fall here.  Don't fall here. I was newly grateful that I fell onto packed dirt and not rock.  Once I made it to the top of the hill after the stairs (walking most of the way), I ran the rest of the way down. 

I got a chance to talk to Nicole and Nanette, who were also there with their brothers...and whose brothers were also way ahead of them.  We ran together for a while, and then Melissa ran by me.  I don't know her, but she's friends of some of my friends and we've been mountain biking together.  Melissa and her husband run, mountain bike, adventure race.  Fun people. 

If you didn't click the mountain biking link, it refers back to my first (only so far) experience riding singletrack, where I made it approximately 5 minutes before falling on the smoothest part of the trail and dislocating my thumb.  So, naturally, I repeated the falling experience while running with Melissa.  On a relatively smooth part of the route.  With no camera mishaps on which to blame it. 

Again, I'm grateful for where I fell.  Not too far from where I fell the first time.  I didn't really hurt anything, but my knee was really aching from being landed on twice.  I let her pull ahead and focused on just. keep. running.  Stairs, part II, sucked just as much as the first time, but this time running downhill was really hurting, too.  Anywhere the footing was very treacherous (and my criteria for "treacherous" was lower and lower as the hill went on), I walked it.  Any time anyone came near my, I cleared as far to the right as possible so they could get by.  One guy told me, "You're fine...I'm not in any hurry."

"You're in the right place, then!" I replied. Still, as soon as there was a chance, he passed me.  :)

I was really thankful to get back to the flatter trail, but it was definitely still a struggle to keep going.  I told myself I could walk at the water stops.  My knee was really bothering me (did I mention that, lol), and I kept telling myself, You can do this.  Keep going.  You're doing great.  It's just a bruise.  You can do this... At one point, I noticed that the bottoms of my feet were aching, from the rocks I guess, and actually thought, Awesome! Something to think about besides how bad my knee hurts! :)  It wasn't sarcasm.  I was actually happy about it...for a second, anyway.

I wasn't entirely sure how much distance was left, so I was delighted when I reached the next waterstop and heard, "Only two more miles!"  (Jim, on the other hand, thought he was closer to the end and so was not at all happy to hear this.)  I walked with my water until it was empty and then pushed on.  I actually passed the not in a hurry guy, who was looking pretty rough (clearly, since I passed him!). 

Nicole caught up with me between the 2 miles left water stop and the next one.  We agreed that we were both hurting and that our brothers darn well better be cheering for us when we reached the finish line.  We walked again at the 1-mile left water stop and then agreed to push to the end.  I really didn't think I had anything left, but when they told me "450 meters", I was able to push and actually run (instead of the death shuffle I'd been doing) to the end.  Melissa cheered me on as I closed in, and Jim and Scott did at the end.  "Go Team Hangover!!" (I guess I get to be an honorary member since we rode together).

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Team Hangover.  Only in this crowd could I, at 5'10", look short.

Our final stats: Scott: ~15 beers, 0 falls, ~2:02; Jim: ~3 beers, 0 falls, ~2:08; Kate: 0 beers, 2 falls, ~2:20. 

Clearly, I need to start drinking more.


  1. The Wild in the Woods series in St Charles still has 2 more races left I think. Check Fleet Feet's website.

  2. Hi Kate,
    Wow, what an awesome trail run! It looks pretty challenging at places...way to go! You did a great job of getting some really pretty pictures:) I love running this time of year!

    BTW, I totally had to laugh at Team Hangover:) I wonder if drinking beer helps? I am serious...I bet it would be refreshing on the dusty trails:)

  3. Patrick, thanks for the suggestion. They do have two left, and I'm thinking one of them has my name on it.

    Julie...our team statistics would certainly suggest a beer-success link! :)

  4. Awesome race and so soon after your first half marathon. Looks like you definitely caught the bug!

    Amazing pics too. All I can think about running is to keeping moving forward.


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