Since misery can love company - I was pleased to see so many friends and familiar faces at the race. It was fun and surprising to see that the women's field was stacked (with Deb Livingston, Jenny Hoffman, and Lori Wetzel), considering it was a low-key, fat ass style event. It would be fun to share some miles with these ladies and enjoy the day!
(Breaking trail in the early miles)
The race started out with a quick 1/2 mile lap around the parking lot (to spread us out) before we started our first (of many) laps on the trails. As I turned onto the trails, I immediately post-holed to about mid-shin. I got out of that hole, and proceeded to post-hole about every 5 steps. It took about 6 minutes of post-holing (and a few face plants) to see the 1/2 mile marker. I couldn't believe how slow I was going. I continued to post hole and face plant till mile 2, wondering how I would deal with 6 hours of this! Mile 2 to mile 3 on the loop was the worst, as I post-holed every step and was slowed to a walk. I was frustrated, I wanted to quit, this was miserable! Luckily, the last 1/2 mile of the loop was the same as the first 1/2 mile, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was fairly packed out from the 100 or so runners behind me. Alright, I thought, I'll at least do one more lap to see if conditions are any better. However, it had taken me almost an hour to cover the first 4 miles!
(Enjoying some packed trail in the later miles)
(Focusing, thankful that my Inov8 Stormshell kept me dry!)
(Closing in on the lead guy)
After about 4 hours, conditions started to deteriorate again. It started to rain on us. One of my microspikes broke (so I had to run with only one on). The trails were turning to ice covered in slippery slush. Greg pulled away from me after my microspike broke, so I was on my own.
(On my own again, practicing mental toughness)
(Greg and I, as male and female champions)
At the end of the day, I had run 28.5 hard earned miles. This was essentially a flat course, but the snow conditions had made it such a challenge to get in every one of those miles! I finished 3rd overall and 1st female. With 100 runners starting the day, only the top 3 of us managed to get in an ultra distance. Many folks bailed after the first lap and ran on the local roads instead. It was certainly a great day to test your mental toughness and continue running! While I was a bit disappointed in the mileage I accumulated, I was pleased to have run strong the entire 6 hours given the conditions. It'll be hard to gauge my fitness based on this race, but at least it was another training day in the books.
(RD Emily with top 3 females - Deb, myself, Sonia L-R)
This was my first TARC event, and they do an AMAZING job of putting on a low key and fun event. Emily, the RD, is enthusiastic and did a wonderful job with some rough conditions. The volunteers who stood out in the rain just to take care of us were AWESOME! One of my favorite things that a volunteer did was build a snowman to point out an unmanned turn (see picture above). Thanks to Emily and her volunteers!
(Volunteer-built snowman to direct runners!)