Sunday, July 6, 2008

Psycho Psummer Trail Run: KC Trail Nerds

Andy and I ran the Psycho Psummer Trail Run on July 5th. It was a great 15 mile trail run. The Kansas City Trail Nerds, lead by trail master Ben, organized and marked trails with outstanding expertise. Andy and I chose the 15 mile version although there was the option for the 50K and 5K. What an absolutely incredible experience! From the start, the organization was superb, all phases of the race were handled so well. It was just fun to be a part of it. Many thanks to Ben and his crew of volunteers for being on the trail, at the aid stations, before and after the race help, encouraging all of us throughout the race. You all are awesome!

Many of you know that most of my racing experiences have been on the firm ground of the "road". This was my second trail race, the first being a short 2.79 race a couple of weeks ago. This one was for real! The trail was very challenging for me as a rookie and I am sure for those that had run it before. The area had received 3-4 inches of rain a few days before so many parts of the trail were ankle deep in mud. I was introduced to the suction of mud and the swallowing of shoes. Yes, I was introduced to getting dirty during a race for the first time. Mud was everywhere. As if that wasn't enough, I crawled over, under, and sometimes through logs across the trail. Hopped roots and rocks, slid down steep drops and back up the inclines. Oh yeah, and that low hanging tree that my head didn't see. The closest that I had come to such in route challenges on the road was a banana peel or an old hot dog from a Kwik shop and a few hills here and there. So this was new for me. But I loved it. At first, my concentration and brain power was on overload trying to figure out how to survive this new adventure. Then I loosened up a bit figuring you just can't outwit a trail. Then the fun began. You know, that was one of the major lessons I learned from this race. Lighten up! Wow! What an adventure!

I can't thank Andy enough for showing me the ropes (or the mud baths), as he said, "Dad just watch my feet". Turned out to be a good coaching strategy as I watched his every step, well not all the time, to learn this new form of runner craziness. He is a great trail runner! Trail running is so different than road racing. I am having to really rethink strategies, pacing, equipment, and not going into the "zone" that so many times I have done in road races. Reaction time is crucial, one mistake and it's face plant city.

And so it is, the day after the trail race and I ran 15 miles on the road and felt like it was a walk in the park compared to the day before. I have so much respect for trail running, even more now than before. The people are fantastic and are very willing to help each other and even help a rookie trail runner. I look forward to future trail races of even greater distances and other courses. Speaking of that, Andy and I next run the Lunar Trek 31 mile Ultra in two weeks. Looking forward to that!

Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!

1 comment:

Andy Woolard said...

what a blast, bud. great recap. and yeah, big thanks to the Trail Nerds.
and what's this 31 mile crap? you told me 30! i'm going to have to rethink the race.