Clarkston Backroads: located at Independence Oaks County Park.
The Course: Both Clarkston backroads as well as trails throughout the park.
Elevation Gain: 577ft
Max Elevation: 1,135
Weather: 35 degrees and sleet, which turned into rain. Lovely.
All 5 years I have ran it with Joan. Together we suffer through it. Each year claiming to make it a "FUN RUN".
Neither one of us really train to have a PR on their course. This is typically my first race after a long summer of training for a ultra. My body is just feeling recovered and I put it through the battlefield again.
Joan and I are a glutton for punishment. This year we actually got a wooden engraved ornament marking out 5th year running.
|Joan and I.|
We started the race with smiles and a good plan.
FUN RUN! Happy miles, miles of smiles!
We tucked in near the 2 hour pacer in hopes to finish under 2 hours with little suffering or sweat.
We chatted, giggled even, as we ran through the park. I watched my old neighbor, Chris B. get smaller and smaller as he ran with a more strict and speedy pace.
With the miles slowly adding up our conversation slowly died down.
Somewhere around mile 5, "SO are we having FUN yet?" Joan whispered underneath her misery. I didn't even have the energy to reply, it was more like a guttural grunt. The sound an animal makes right before it DIES.
The back roads were unforgiving. They loomed ahead of us. My mind circulated so many thoughts on how to cut my losses. I was trying to figure out how I could lessen the pain.
- Put my shoulders back more..better running posture
- Breath more effectively, except I was gasping for air.
- Smile and confuse my body.
- count mailboxes...I was too dazed to count.
- Mantra...I think I can, I think I can..
We managed to get up them. We both had our music in our ears. I was trying to drown out the fact that my breathing sounded animalistic. We heaved up two more hills before the turn around. I actually got a second wind as the runners began to pass me heading the opposite direction.
"HEY Chris! Looking Good!"
"Jill, OH HI!"
"ERIN! HEY girls!!"
I may have expended a little too much energy acting like "Lil Miss Social Butterfly." because after they were gone my lungs were burning and bad words were trolling in my head remembering I had to hit the stupid hill again.
Joan and I were not communicating in full sentences any longer. Our suffering spoke volumes where our vocal chords escaped syllables.
The sleet was gone, now a misty rain drizzled on us. We had made it to the half way mark. Then we made it to the 10 mile marker. We were still in front of the 2 hour pacers but we had not hit the trails of death. We knew we would lose time trekking up those hills around the lake. We came into the trails between 10 and 11.
The hills were brutal. Sadly, the 2 hour pacers passed us. This was supposed to be a "FUN RUN". We hadn't chatted, giggled, or smiled in a long time!
We were both in survival mode.
The pacers were just a few yards in front of us. I could tell they had Joans attention. She was determined to stay close to them.
We both knew once we reached mile 12, the finish was not only closer it was easier. We slowly closed the gap between us and the pacers. They saw us and cheered us on, We picked up our pace, I shared our time with Joan and but she was already 2 steps ahead of me.
We turned over the next gear as we saw the finish line and let the downhill momentum run us in.
I hit my watch anxious to see if we had made our sub 2 hour goal.
Overall: 112th of 328
Overall Female: 38th of 193
F40-49: 6th of 52
Female Masters: 10th of 99
|Spock. That the trail name I gave him the first time I met him at Highland Loops. This is the 3rd race I have "Ran" into him now!|
The weather was not inviting us to hang around. We did get our Union Mac and Cheese. We were lucky enough to find a spot at the picnic table UNDER the tent. We hung out for a few minutes, but I was meeting the rest of my gang at Honchos and Joan had a lot to do still that afternoon. As we headed out to leave they had to drag me because my friends were trickling in.
At this point, my sweat was mixed with cold and rain, I was shivering. We couldn't get to the truck fast enough.
|The shirts were a new material, best shirts EVER. The medals were even kicked up a notch!|
Another year under our belt! We survived!
|My tribe. Melissa, lacey, Claudia, Me, Paula, Matt, Heather and Erin|
I thought doing a shake out today would be good for me. I ran an easy 6 miles. Only it wasn't EASY. It had its moments. With each miles I felt my quads burning. My ankle that I twisted at CBH throbbing and my breathing...it was just BAD.
I wasn't this sore after running Hennipen!