I’ve been dawdling over writing this race report because, frankly, I’m quite ambivalent with how things went. I did finish though I’m fairly disappointed to report I was about 45 minutes slower this year compared to last. My primary excuse is a difference in trail surface. I know it’s played up to be a muddy race and last year we had some mud. But with all the heavy rain we’ve had in just the last few weeks, including the half inch that fell on race day it’s fair to say it was really, really muddy this year. One friend said it’s the worst he’d seen it in 10 years.
I can’t even begin to describe it. It was one astonishing trail section after another of increasingly unrunnable trail permeated by slippery clay mud, standing water, rivulets and sometimes creeks! It was difficult to get any fast rhythm going since I expended so much energy just trying to stay on my feet. It was frustrating. I fell 1.75 times (once both hands and one knee touched down with one foot still on the ground so it counts as only 0.75). A guy running behind me during the other full body launch said it looked spectacular…I landed face first in a heap off the side of the trail…luckily not much in the mud. I tweaked my neck and shoulder a little but otherwise I’m unscathed.
I hear there were many more DNFs this year –mainly due to hypothermia but the stats and results haven’t been posted yet; so it’s hard to tell for sure. I reluctantly expended about 15 minutes at the halfway point changing into dry clothes and a better rain jacket. I doubt I’d have finished at all otherwise, since I was getting pretty chilled. After that I was fine…but the trail wasn’t. Good thing I have some balance skills because often it was more like skating than running…except that the skates could move in all directions, sideways as well as forwards and backwards. I actually had a fun time despite it all. I guess it’s one race experience I’m glad to have just survived.
I’m looking forward to a more runnable surface for that 60K in April. I hear they sometimes have a little snow but otherwise it’s a very pleasant course.