Dances With Dirt 2017

Saturday started out beautiful. I woke at 3:30 A.M. and got right to it. Due to the fact that I choose to camp the night before the race this specific morning was a bit different. I start coffee but instead of the coffee maker having coffee prepared for me, I had to start the camp stove and warm water in a kettle. Everything turned out fine and it ended up being a relaxing way to prepare for a race.

The camp ground was 1.5 miles away so about 30 minutes before the start of the race I arrive. I changed into my running gear and hit the bathroom one last time. Minutes before the race was set to start I lined up with the others. The horn went off and we started our journey.

It was basically up hill to the first aid station which turned out to be the best aid station view I’ve ever seen. We had climbed from lake level to the top of the bluff, in many places the trail was washed out and so steep you had to learn forward to walk. None the less, the climb was well worth it. I took was photos and of course a selfie (see photo), refilled my water and set out on my way.

It wasn’t long before we reached the first out and back. Soon after starting the out, a giant puddle was right in the way of the course. I was able to step through it but not without getting a foot wet. The meadow was wide open to the sun but wasn’t a long segment. Before you hit the turn around another massive puddle of mud had to stand in your way. This was of course not just once but twice, so was that first puddle. I decided to change shoes at the aid station but knew I had that initial puddle to go through. As I approached it a trail had been forward off to the side. It wasn’t perfectly dry but it was better. I’ll take it!

The second out and back wasn’t far after reaching the original trail. I heard others around me saying that the trail segment name was “Easy, Hard”, or some version of that. The name wasn’t a lie. It was all up and down hill. It had plenty of tree roots, branches, and lots of rocks to navigate. The segment would feel easy, for about a minute, and go right back to being up hill!

After finally completing the second out and back, I was back on the trail. It wouldn’t be long before the third and final spectator point was in sight. As I fueled up and chatted, I had some sports drink, chips, and who knows what else. It was fantastic! I felt refreshed and in good spirits but knew the last 10K loop would include lots of walking.

The last 10K loop of the course included the initial up hill battle to the top of the bluff. That must have been four of the six miles. By the time I wasn’t climbing a hill I was beat and ready to get this over with. As I started down I kept up a decent pace and started the short loop around to the finish. I was ready for that line but not before two medium sized hills, you know just to hit you once more before finishing.

I had a ton of fun on race day. The course was challenging but beautiful and the aid stations were well stocked with both food/drink and nice people. I’m looking forward to racing there in the future.
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