Non-races are popping up everywhere. Free fun is the best. Epic crazy shit free fun is priceless. What made it even better is it was 15 minutes from my house. How could I say no? The first 2013 non-race belongs to Rock Racing. Chuck and Robin decided it would be fun to run a half marathon, 13.1 miles, in the woods of Lost Valley, in the flippin' dark, in uncertain weather in January. I enjoy riding at Lost Valley so running there should be like-able too, right? even under these challenging circumstances. I wasn't going to set any speed records, this was an excuse to get out on a Saturday night for a few hours and see some of my friends. As I set out my gear the night before, I realized that it has been several years since I have run in the dark on trails. I was feeling another learning experience coming on. The SHiTR did not disappoint.
|Drink from this cup often|
Shoes were a no-brainer... Salamon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2W. (try and say that three times fast) These shoes were perfect for the conditions at Pere Marquette and they would be ideal for Lost Valley, especially if it rained. I wore two pairs of Team Seagal socks to insure extra "superior attitude"- should I need it- and provide added protection for my weak ankle/foot I have been limping along. It's a good thing my mind is stronger than my body.
All of a sudden, 4:45 ish, things changed weather wise. The sun left, the temp dropped. The wind started to blow. The tights were a last second decision as I was still putting them on while the promoters were giving instructions. I wore my CXU Insulator Pro Tights. These tights would be ideal for the cold and possibly damp evening. There was a 100% chance for rain. Weathermen are always wrong aren't they?
My jacket was supposed to have been my showers pass rain jacket. However, when I tried this on, it was a little tight. This jacket was not going to be an option. Apparently all this weight lifting has made my arms bigger. Fuck. At least I know before the race but, what now? Jim lends me his XL rain coat and said "it's better than nothing". He is correct, even if it will be more like a dress than a jacket if I need it.
I wore one mid-weight base-layer, arm warmers and a vest to keep my chest warm. Boobs should never be cold. I wore my Manzella's gloves and a fleece headband to keep my ears warm.
I borrowed Jim's AR headlamp and put brand new batteries in it, not taking any chances. I don't remember the brand, it was very bright and I was able to see relatively well.
I set out a small day pack, not sure if I would need it. In the end, it was completely unnecessary. My son put some new music on my Ipod and I was as ready as I was going to be. Let's do this!
|43 SHiTR participants|
"You know I won't start a race in the rain", I said to my husband when I left. Ahhhh, Mother Nature knows how to tell time, evil bitch. There were 40 plus brave souls to register for this event. Runners from the front, middle, and back of the pack. A nice mix. It was so cold it was hard to visit for long. The car was a safe, warm haven. Th race started promptly at 5pm. We would run up a bagillion stairs then back down them and head to the trail via the Katy. Some people were in a big hurry to get started, me not so much. I wanted to keep the delicious Kind bar in my belly, plus I am not fast. Not three minutes into the run I feel my first rain drop. Nah, could I be sweating already? Really? The rain begins to fall intermittently. Big drops to larger drops. It's just enough to piss me off, not enough to stop and put on a XL rain jacket. Within ten minutes I have to put on my headlamp. It takes me a while to get used to, the light is very bright and immediately begins interfering with my cataract infested left eye, which ends up blinding me. My right eye will have to see me through.
Finally my feet hit trail. For a brief second I toy with turning around and heading home. Then I remembered I am not a pussy. Rain is coming down harder now. Shit, this is going to suck. I am only a few miles in and I am drenched and so cold. Here I am, minding my own business, jamming music, and this guy falls down right in front of me. Enter JOSH. He gets up quickly and settles in right behind me. I tell him he can pass me if he wants. he chuckles and informs me he is a 'bigger guy with bad ankles' and is content to stay behind me. I tell him I have a bad ankle and one good eye. What a pair. I learned quickly what kind of guy Josh was. He was a complete gentleman. Making sure I was okay when I fell, laughing at my jokes, etc.. That was until I relaxed my ladyness and blew a snot rocket. He was relieved and said " cool, now I can do that". Awwww, He waited for me to do it first. He only complained once when my snot hit him. What a trooper. While talking, we found we had SuperKate in common. We talked about our kids, our spouses, God, all kinds of stuff. We even cussed like sailors when appropriate. Besides, the trees have heard it all before.
|My crazy is more than 10%|
We finally popped out of the trail to take the long miserable double track back to the lot. We were able to run side by side with a price. We were in the open and the rain had turned to sleet. More cussing.
Running up the climb out onto the Katy was extremely hard. By now it was 7:45ish, 30 degrees and freezing sleet stinging our faces. I have never been that ridiculously cold in my entire life. Nor do I plan on ever being that cold again. Josh and I parted ways when we reached the lot. I struggled to get in my car, my fingers were frozen. I had to remove my disgusting shoes and get all my wet stuff off before getting in. Help! I needed help. I just stood there, dumbfounded. Brain-freeze! I wrapped in a blanket, sat in the backseat and tried like hell to get my clothes off. I felt like I was operating in slow motion, like a cartoon. My teeth were chattering uncontrollably. My hair was frozen to my neck, my eyebrows had icicles, and I could no longer feel my butt. Where was my husband when I needed him? I could not drive home like this. (I was afraid I would short out the heated seat) After several exhausting moments of tugging and pulling I was finally able to change clothes and call home. " I'm done, whatcha doing? He said " I have a fire" and "Bring Beer"
I would totally do this race again. Yes, even knowing the weather was coming.
I am pleased to report that my shoes were magnificent. My feet and toes were dry and warm when I finished. I was really surprised given the downpour and the temp.
The tights were a good choice too. There were only a couple spots on my legs that were cold. Overall, I would choose them again.
I will be doing more reps with lighter weight so my arms fit back into my jacket.
I did not need the pack. Hell, I forgot I had it on and had hand-warmers in it. Never again.
I rarely get out in the dark so I am thankful for this opportunity. I found that it's getting very difficult for me to see at night so, I can schedule my last cataract operation way before DK200 and it shouldn't affect my training.
I still shiver when I think about this event and probably always will.
Have a good weekend.