The following is a race report of our trailrunning group's first trail series event. Normally, I would be race directing and doing 75% of the preparation work for such an event, but I now have a cadre of "trailrunning event experts" that are "stepping up to the plate" to take on race directing and other responsibilities. I think this is Just Awesome! I have enough going on with 3 websites, 4 blogs, KC Track Club Board of Directors' duties, and working 50 hours per week; all while trying to train for my own events and trying to have a personal life to boot!
The first race of our Kansas City Area (Trail Nerds) Trail Series is now history. Thirty-three runners showed up on a humid Saturday morning to run 7 miles on the Blue River Parkway trail system. Kyle Amos, the race director, had wheel-measured and marked the turns of the course the day before the race. The markings were clear and concise, and nobody was awarded the infamous "lost beyond all possible reason" award.
Local trail runner Caleb Chatfield, was trying to get over an injury before the race and he was "iffy" as to whether he would race or not. He decided to put on his singlet and pay the $8 entry fee and race, anyway. We saw no difference between an "injured" Caleb and the normally healthy (and fast) young Kansan. He burned through the course like a chain-smoker "burns one" after a 7-hour plane ride. His time was 43:23; just under a 6:12/mile pace for the rocky, rooty, and hilly trail run. New-to-the-area Kurt Kaczor cruised to take second place in fine form, in a speedy 49:08. Kyle Amos, the race director and local ultrarunner extrordinaire, turned-in a very decent 49:49 for third. Nine women participated in the race. Amber Anda took first place overall, followed closely by Nichole Thompson. Deb Johnson (of Shawnee, Kansas) took an uncontested third place.
We had some excellent help before, during, and after the race. In fact, the first and second-place males (Caleb & Curt), and the first-place female (Amber), helped clean-up the course after the race was over!!! Aren't trailrunners great? "Good" Ben Reeves took photos, and helped during and after the race, (he was resting-up for an Adventure Race the next day). Many others not mentioned helped-out, as well. As the old saying goes, "many hands made light work!" And trailrunners are more than happy to pitch-in. More about this race.
If you missed this race and still want to participate in the trail series, don't worry! We will have additional races and "make-up" races between now and the series finale in February. The next trail race will be an after-dark (nightime) trail race, and will necessitate the use of a flash light or head lamp. The date for this will be announced on the the trailrunning blog and both of the local running group websites. Expect the event date to be within the next 6 weeks, or so. The entry fee for the shorter runs in this series is always just a measly eight-bucks. The shorter races in the series are always low-key events, and sign-up is on the day of the race. If you want a Jason Crosby-designed Trail Series shirt, it is just $8, and you can get one at any of the Trail Series events.
More information and photos will be posted (soon) to the Trailrunning Blog site. You can also find information for upcoming trail races there, or you can receive e-mail messages from the trailrunning group site. Group trail runs happen up to 5 times per week, and you can find their locations and times on the same trailrunning group site.
Yesterday, myself and 5 other Trail Nerds ran the Psycho WyCo loop at Wyandotte County Lake Park. We normally train on this loop all Winter long, but plant growth usually prohibits us from running certain sections of the loop, during the growing seasons. This doesn't prevent us from attempting to run these sections a couple of times during the Spring or Summer. We trail runners are a stubborn lot; we usually have to be bonked over the head repeatedly to learn anything.
The run started at an early 6 a.m. It was Father's Day, and some of us had to get home to our waiting families after the run. The temp was in the high 70s, and the humidity was just north of a steamy 80%. Perfect conditions for a typical trail run. The flora in this area tends to get very lush and "jungle-y" with foliage, ground cover, vines, etcetera, here in the Spring and Summer. The humidity from the Gulf, constant sunny weather, and frequent rain showers has a lot to do with that. (We had 62 inches of precip last year, compared with Seattle's 38").
The first part of the run has a lot of wide bridle trail, so you never have to touch anything green. We got to the "WyCo Triangle" section, about 3 miles into the run. This is a 1-mile section of single-track trail that we recently spent a day cleaning up the overgrowth, and we've made it very runnable, again. After the Triangle, we continued on the hilly bridle trail and started to get into some tighter, flora-intense sections. Nothing much here, just green seed pods that stick to your socks. I did take a nice two-feet-out-from-under-me spill, though, and ended up with mud on me from head to toe on my aft side. (It was fun and rather comical).
We got to the top of the ridge past the dam after a short paved session, and saw a portent of things to come: an archway at the woods' entrance that was completely composed of poison ivy vines. We entered the woods and basically ran our way through the poison ivy and whatever else we found. It cleared up when we got to the top of the ridge, but by the time we descended the 260' elevation to the bottom trail, it had gotten very lush, again. This section threw some new plant-based torture at us...stinging nettles 4-feet high. We got through this with our legs screaming in pain, but (mostly) in tact.
We started the climb to the top of the other ridge, and in a section that plateaus-out prior to a final steep climb, there was a patch of impossibly-high (7') stinging nettles in our way. In fact, we were about a third of the way into the patch already. We were committed (or should have been), and needed to get through it. At this point, Shane decided to take the lead to get through it quickly, and said "follow me, let's go." He bounded off, got two steps into it, tripped on one of two logs, and ended up face-first in the stuff! He later said, "if you think this stuff hurts on your legs, try having it on your face, arms, and neck!" We all had a pretty good laugh, but we were all in intense pain for a while. (The effects of nettles are basically harmless, and the pain/itching goes away in about 30 minutes or so, if you leave the affected skin alone).
We got through about another 1-1/2 miles of thick overgrowth, and everything else on the 10.35-mile run seemed easy, (despite the hills). We finished up, and got cleaned up enough to drive home. I sat on a huge trash bag so as not to get any of the poison ivy oils onto my car's interior. Most of us had to go home to Father's Day stuff, but Paul and Shane decided to do an additional 7-mile out and back on the non-overgrown section. More power to them!
When I got home, I did my "strategic showering method" that I use to keep from having poison ivy issues. It involves undressing in the shower, 5 wash cloths, Dawn dishwashing soap, and concentration for what I'm washing and when. (It works well, most of the time). I only found one large tick that had tried to attach itself to me.
When I was through cleaning up, I went to brunch with my extended family, and had a "normal" Father's Day, from that point on. I took it easy and did nothing. Just nothing, (and it was everything that I thought it could be).
Last night was my first time back to running after a 2-week hamstring-healing session. It appears to have worked; I ran 11 miles on the really hilly trails (of the Psycho WyCo course). It was 91 degrees when we started, but the humidity was below 40%, so it felt OK. We also got to run on the trails that we worked so hard on last Saturday. Schweeett!
What a blast! I had to keep myself from staying out longer. I felt like running for 50 kilometers, at least. I'll hit the weights and stationary bike this afternoon, then plan on running both Saturday and Sunday. I'll keep my mileage to about 10 miles for each day. Next weekend, I'll ante-up and do back to back long runs, if I'm up to it. It's good to be back!
Update: My left hamstring muscle is healing nicely. I can now walk without pain. I've been hitting the stationary bike, doing the stair treadmill and lifting weights (but not with my legs). I won't attempt to run for at least 5 days. We'll see how it goes.
Well, my left hamstring, which has been singing to me for a couple of weeks, is now toast. On the run last night, I ripped/injured it severely. I'm blaming myself. I should have run by myself, at my own pace. I think I needed more time off, after my last run. During the trail marathon last Saturday, it hurt for about 1-1/2 hours, then subsided. Now it definitely gets some time to heal.
Just a few days after getting heat-sickness at Berryman, and I still feel really drained, and can't sleep well. I lifted weights on Tuesday and last night, but haven't run, yet. My strength is at a low ebb. I'll be leading an eleven-mile trail run this evening. I'm hoping that I'll be feeling more energetic by tonight.
I find ways to enjoy life as much as I can. Also, life's too short to treat people poorly.
I'm into long runs in the park, consuming salt, popping blisters,
eating roadkill & tree bark, and burying whiners in shallow, unmarked
graves. I also enjoy designing trail race courses that would make the
Marquis de Sade blush.
A fun time for me would include banging muddy shoes together, setting
broken bones with a machinist's vise, and duct-taping-down any part of my
body that is bleeding or just flopping-about uselessly.
What helps me to be an active trailrunner and grandpa?
1) Daily sponge baths with bovine stem cells;
2) Copious amounts of delicious & nutritious homebrewed beer; and
3) My secret elixir...Bicarbonate of Figleaf.