Today's Run for Regis started off with an incredibly foggy drive to Peninsula. I could barely see, but was still excited about tackling my first trail half marathon. I knew, having been a part of the practice run back in December, that this was a tough course. I was hoping I could use my morning drive to visualize the course and the technical components involved (ice, unpacked snow, slush), but instead I had to focus on where in the hell my lane lines were!
Tanya organized a wonderful event. I wish the other races I run had the same level of attention to detail and thoughtfulness as this race/running community. I have to admit I enjoyed her morning race lecture and will make a mental note to never wear my iPod if I see her out on the trails!
The 50kers started to the right to tackle the 5.5 mile loop around Happy Days; the half and full marathoners veered to the left to knock out the 8.1 mile loop around Kendall Lake and Salt Run. I will refer to the my first loop as the loop that never ended. The course was very well marked, but wow, who would have thought 8 snowy miles could have felt like 15 road miles? I did, that's who. Due to the "treacherous conditions" as Tanya announced, I felt I had to focus on the steps before me instead of being able to take in the beauty of my surroundings. The Kendall Lake pit stop was fantastic. Since this my first race that had an ultra as an option, I couldn't believe the food options. I was totally giddy to get a fig newton with my cup of gaterade. We had to check in once we got back to the Ledges Shelter (to keep everyone honest), then begin the 5.5-mile Happy Days loop. It took me 2 hours to complete 8.1 miles. By that time you wouldn't believe that I really was moving forward! At the beginning of the 5-mile loop, we were faced with the Ledges rocks, which were treacherous, and it was quite nice to have a volunteer watching over participants as we climbed down/back up the slippery suckers. Everyone joked that the volunteer had a camera around his neck so that he could snap embarassing pics of people wiping out. Thank goodness I stayed vertical!
About 3 miles before reaching the finish, I started having "stomach" issues (I won't go into detail), but jarring steps and bouncing was not in the cards for me at this point. A gingerly walk was all I was capable of. Fortunately, the feeling wasn't TOO intense so I was able to gallop from time to time to keep a forward movement. I finished the race and didn't even consider going back out. While I was settling in with a little sampling of chili, the first marathoner came in at about a 4 hour mark. Yep, it was THAT tough of a course!
My kudos go out to Tanya and her crew for such a great race!
I took this picture at the Ledges rocks. What can I say, after tackling the steep climb and not falling on the icy patches on the rocks, I decided to take a break to snap this quick pic. Plus, I wanted proof that I really was out there today!