As I was changing my clothes after my run today, a couple pulled up and parked next to me in the lot. The cute, young lady got out of the Jeep and asked me if I had a good run. My response was "I survived. And I only fell once so yeah, I guess it was good."
But that only sets the scene through a pinhole. You see, I was covered in mud. I don't think I had any higher than my knees, but my shoes and calves were doused. In fact, my shoes were so bad that when I got home, my socks were muddy. And so were my toes. So yeah, I guess it was a good run.
As for the falling part, it was on my first lap and I missed a rock or root and took a spill. As I run more trails I'm becoming more familiar with falling. And I don't like it. I used to pride myself on staying upright. Maybe I shouldn't have made that comment to myself about never falling. Oh well. Nothing was broken, bruised, or twisted. The impressive part of the fall was that I managed to do half a roll. I tripped with my left foot and stumbled and half caught myself with my left hand. As my right hand was reaching out to catch myself, I somehow changed my reaction and landed on my forearm and rolled a bit onto my right side. As usual it happened insanely fast and incredibly slow. If you've fallen before, you know what I mean. Anyway, the half a roll helped slow my momentum and I got up, dusted myself off, and had a little laugh to myself. As I thought about moving again, I looked right next to where I fell and saw a heaping pile of horse shit. And it was fresh. Somehow I missed it. Thank God. So I snapped a picture and got back to running.
Here's the pile of horse shit I narrowly missed rolling in:
The first loop was decent but muddier than I expected. Bad enough I had to skirt many of the sections on the extreme edges of the trail. And it's apparently normal because there was a beaten path in many sections where other hikers had done the same thing. Even the horses skirted some of the worse parts, or at least tried to. But I didn't feel too bad about slipping since the horses slipped plenty too. I guess four-hoof drive can only do so much in thick mud.
My muddy Altra Lone Peaks after my run. Gnarly.
My Altra Lone Peaks worked great. I had no issues with the mud other than nearly losing a shoe once or twice. The mud only stuck to the sides of the shoe and only stuck to the bottom treads for a stride or two before coming off. I did get some mud inside my shoes but I expected that since the toe-box has a mesh-like fabric to let your toes breath. If air can come out, mud can get in. My only complaint is the lack of velcro (or a surface to adhere velcro to) on the heel of the shoes to allow my gaiters to stay put.
The second loop was just as muddy and a bit hillier. There was a section that run under a power line but that added some hills to the mix. I tried to keep my aid station stops short and managed fairly well. Refilling is easy but finding the motivation to punish yourself a little more is harder. The final loop was a repeat of the first but with a bit more added on. I somehow missed a turn on the first loop so went back to see what I missed so I wouldn't get too lost during my race. Did I mention this was a dry run for my next race? Sorry, it is. Was. Whatever.
The Lone Peaks have a "rudder" on their heel but clearly it doesn't keep the mud from spraying up your legs.
Overall, I felt good. I didn't have everything dialed in like I wanted but did a fair job. My hydration was good seeing as I peed at least twice. My electrolyte levels were okay but not as good as they should have been. I think a few electrolyte tabs at the aid station would have helped. My fueling was lower than it needed to be. I was doing okay the first two laps and had a decent amount of gel going in. But the last loop I didn't take in enough solid food so I started to lag behind on pace and energy levels.
My muddy toes. Obviously before my shower. And yes, I have hairy Hobbit feet.
Temps were around 40F when I started and 45F when I finished. Moderate cloud cover with some sun. Light breeze coming off the lake when I passed by or was out on a peninsula.
Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was two breakfast burritos and an iced latte. During the run I had some Hammer gel along the way (two flasks that had maybe 4 gels total), one e-Gel at the start, one bottle of water, two bottles of Hammer Fizz, and one bottle of flat soda. I also had a Honey Stinger waffle. Recovery was a chocolate Zico followed by a Joey Jr. at Moe's Southwest Grill (with chips and salsa).
Nothing special for the run. Continuing to use my new iPod. Had continued success with my Altra Lone Peaks.
Aches and Pains:
Since the trail was so muddy, I had to deal with tons of ankle twisting and wobbly strides as I adjusted to rocks, roots, and mud. Nothing really hurt as I stayed loose but after an hour or two I could feel things getting sore. Near the end I could feel my legs protesting but nothing major. Knees are a bit sore right now but again, nothing too terrible. I did step on a few stingers (sharp, pointy rocks) and managed to kick one or two rocks (which always hurt). Beyond that, things felt okay.
Codename - Horse Shit
There was tons of it out there. You couldn't go 25 feet without seeing a pile of it. It was in various stages of decomposition; fresh to stale. I only managed to kick one pile when I wasn't looking and avoided the rest as much as I could.
Lap 1 - 49:07
Aid Station 1 - 3:23
Lap 2 - 49:59
Aid Station 2 - 4:46
Lap 3 - 1:26:26
Finish - 3:13:42