Before the race started, I wandered around chatting with the folks I knew and some I didn't. I taunted Barefoot Josh (knowing full well that I would never catch him unless something bad happened and I would never wish that on another runner). I also talked with some folks from Topeka and some people that were at the Rock Creek night race where John and I ran an aid station. John and Danny were manning the only aid station on the course, cooler of beer in tow. He didn't want to risk falling and making his wrist worse since it's not quite 100%. I think he just preferred to drink beer and watch other people run. :)
Here's Brett and I, pre-race and sans-spouses.
I know this course well and I was hoping to run it in under an hour. My time last year was 1:08, but last year's course was much dryer and more runnable. Rocky downhills are my forte and I was hoping to use that to my advantage. The mud would make things more difficult, so I tied my laces tight and double knotted my shoes.
I saw no less than 5 people lose at least one shoe. I thought it was funny, but I'm sure they weren't as amused. Coming into the Triangle, Danny said I was 2nd female and John told me I better pick up the pace (funny guy). I was passed by one girl, but she was having a hard time in the mud. On the road, she would have cleaned my clock, but between the mud and the rocks, I passed her again not far outside the Triangle and didn't see her until the finish line. I talked to her afterwards and she was visiting from Utah. Her quote of the night: "I thought I had run trails before, but I hadn't run anything like THIS!"
I picked up the pace a little and caught up to a group of guys that came down from Leavenworth. I passed them on a hill, but they hung close. I started calling out warnings for rocky sections and where there were good lines through the mud. Afterwards, they came over to say thanks and we chatted over beer. They said the may come down for a Thursday night run sometime.
I finished in 1:05, which is a good indicator of how muddy it was. I was running much faster than last year, but there were more sections that I had to walk due to mud. I never did catch Barefoot Josh, but I think I came close. ;) I had a lot of fun and met a ton of new people. Hopefully I'll get to see some of them again.
Thanks to all the volunteers and especially Dick Ross at www.seekcrun.com. All photos are courtesy of Dick.