Our trail guide for the run happens to be Eric, one of the trainers of the Spartan class I'm taking. After Thursday night's class, I mentioned rescheduling to him due to the rain. He said something along the lines of, "What if it rains the day of Spartan, you not going to do it?" Just like that, the gauntlet had been thrown.
I sat with my coffee and just stared outside for a long time. I checked Facebook to see who else was up. One of the first status' I read is one of my friends saying she has come to her senses and is skipping the trail run this morning. Here is my out. Oh, I so badly wanted to take it. I probably would have too if I wouldn't have had to suffer the wrath of Fred and Eric. It's similar to the Wrath of Kahn but without those weird ear worm things that eat your brain. If you didn't get that reference, it's okay. Just my geek showing.
Then my phone rings and it's my mom. She's wanting to double check that my sanity is still lost and inform me that there are reports of tornadoes. Awesome. I assure her that everything is still a go. She informs me that I'm crazy but she will watch my children while I go and be crazy. Moms are great like that.
Trail Map Here
The reason for this trail run was to run the 10 mile loop that is the course for a trail race called McNotAgain. I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to sign up for a 30 mile ultra trail run... this is it. It's this loop three times. Most of the course runs along the Potawatomi Trail. This trail is riddled with HILLS. One of the hills actually has a rope come race day to help participants get up and over. There are also a lot of creek crossings, bridge crossings, and today a snake crossing. (not kidding, it was right on the trail... shudder) Basically, this is a pretty challenging course. Even more so today in the rain and mud.
The first couple of downhills were a bit slippery. One member of our group fell almost right away and it wasn't long after that I went down too. Fred was nearly harpooned by a falling branch, he fell at least once, and cut his finger on a thorn tree. There may have been a beaver attack in there somewhere too. Another member went down a few miles in and our guide even slipped and went down one time. It was fantastic. I think I spent more time laughing than anything else.
|This is the largest bridge that we crossed. It was a beautiful view on either side!|
Our friend, Teisha, twisted her ankle about 3 miles in but she stuck it out and finished another 3.7 miles before calling it a day. We took a detour to get back to the parking lot so she could get home and take care of her ankle. To get back to the parking lot though, even with the detour, we had to climb some serious hills and cross the creek a few more times. She hung in there and did it all without complaint. Yeah, she's awesome like that. However, when our guide suggested we "use this log to get across" or go up the rope hill sans rope, we all looked at him like he was nuts. Personally, I would have taken the log, adventure seeker that I am, but I felt like I should keep the groups best interest in mind... yeah, okay, no way was I crossing on that log. As it turned out, there was a third option, another place to cross just up a little further. We lucked out.
|The tree we didn't cross. Which, by the way, also was without a path/trail anywhere on the other side.|
|Option number 3, easy creek crossing.|
|Fred, Bekah, Renee, Teisha, Eric|
When we made it back to the parking lot, I was beat. I was so glad that I braved the weather and did this run. It was challenging, exciting, muddy, drenched, and most of all fun! Snakes and all. Oh, and this run convinced Fred that it's time to invest in some trail shoes... yesss!!!
I have to give a HUGE thank you to Eric for being a most excellent guide! We really lucked out since Eric knows the trails so well. He and his dad are two of the people responsible for making the ultra races happen at McNaughton park from organizing to maintaining and marking trails.
The ultra trail race I'm doing in November offers a 10 mile and a 30 mile. I am planning to do the 30 and if I only end up doing two loops which would be 20 miles, I'm good with that too. This race is directed by Paul Wilkerson and Kirby Woods. If you would like more info and to register for McNotAgain 2012, you can go to the Central Illinois Trail Running Alliance website by clicking here: CITRA
They also have an ultra race, directed by Eric and Rich, in April that offers a 30, 50, 100, and 150 mile race. The 30 mile is called a 'Fun Run'... this makes me giggle. There are aid stations set up at start/finish, and one at the halfway point of the loop. If you are looking for a challenging trail race, I guarantee this will deliver. They are also always in need of volunteers at these races, which I plan to do in April. For more information on the April races you can go to their website: www.potawatomitrailruns.com
Peace, Love, Happiness!