Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Not a Tough Mudder...but a Tough, Muddy Race at the Fools 25K/50K Trail Race

When people hear that I'm an endurance athlete they usually ask me certain questions like have you ever done Ironman Hawaii. To which I must sadly reply "no" or "not yet". A lot of people also ask if I've done a Tough Mudder race. In all actuality I have not done a Tough Mudder or any of the related mud races. With so many options out there for racing I just don't have the ability to do everything I see or hear about. Ironically the Fools 25K race, which was my longest trail race to date was in some ways a Tough Mudder because it was tough and muddy for much of the race!


Prerace shot with the hubby!
Word had it that the trails in Peninsula were gonna be muddy. But then it snowed Saturday and I don't just mean a little bit! We got at least 4-6 inches throughout the Northeast. That would make for an interesting variety of conditions on the trails of the valley! The 25K'ers were to start at 9am - an hour after the 50K runners. Steve and I got up and ate a high-carb breakfast and headed out around 7 to arrive a little before 8. We were able to catch the start of the 50K race as we picked up our bibs and goodies. It was a chilly morning at 29 degrees and the field where we would start was covered in a blanket of fresh white snow. We got in a little warm up, used the bathroom and lined up for the 9am start.

The Start & First Couple:

The start was a slippery and snowy wet mess in the fields heading toward the trails of Pine Hollow. The terrain quickly shifted into a mixture of snow and mud. Lots and lots of mud. I tried to keep my feet dry as long as I could but it was a useless battle. By mile 2 my feet were soaked and would remain that way for pretty much the entire race.

The next 6 or so Miles:

Running through the ledges!
The trails were muddy but the scenery was beautiful - especially running through the ledges of Virginia Kendall. They were snow covered and slippery but breathetaking and actually they were my favorite part of the run. At least the first time we ran through them. You can see on the picture here that I was smiling and enjoying this portion of the race. A truly magical part of the trail!

The Back Half:

This was my longest trail race and trail run ever with my longest trail run before this being 13. I definitely struggled with the last 3-4 miles that went through Salt Run, which is a hard section of the race with lots of hills! I just tried to pace myself and walk some of the hills. I wasn't expecting to hit the podium at this race - just wanted to push myself and enjoy the experience and use it as a great training run for Cleveland.

The Finish:

Coming out of the woods and up the hill to the finish line at Pine Hollow, I was elated. Elated to be done but also elated for pushing myself through a tough day and a tough race! My first 25K trail race wasn't pretty but it was done! I finished slower than I expected at 3:02 but with the walking the last few miles it just slowed down my average pace. I was 8th female and 2nd in the 35-39AG so I still did okay all things considered.

Steve had a great race and finished in 2:23 and won second place overall so it was great to see him do so well!

Final Thoughts:

I definitely love trail running and much prefer it to grinding it out on the roads. I think it makes you a tougher runner for sure and you can learn to appreciate the raw beauty of nature no matter what the conditions are. Western Reserve Racing does an excellent job with their events and I highly recommend their races!

Next up is the Lake Health 20 Mile Drop, which is a road race that has an elevation loss of almost 800 feet. Looking forward to seeing how I do going downhill versus so much uphill!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your longest trail run especially those trails with those conditions!