I conned my friend Susan into doing it with me (though truthfully she had wanted to do the 3.5 mile route). I told her this was my birthday present so we should go all out and do the 7.5 miles. We could always walk. This wasn't about speed - it was about having a great time in a beautiful place. Binder Park was a fantastic setting. The only other trail I've ever run is the Katy Trail which is wide and graveled and flat (an old railroad bed) so not really a "trail run". Binder's woods stretch most of the way around Binder Lake and are full of mountain bike/running dirt trails with a ton of shade. We did the blue and green trails as part of this race (Trail Map Link).
Before the race, I had picked up Susan and we went to the park. It is on the opposite side of town, but that means it took about 15 minutes to get there - Jeff City is small. I grew up on Binder Lake as it was one of my dad's favorite fishing holes. He had the place competely mapped (including depth information) and could tell you where to catch any type of fish, on any type of bait, at any time of the year. I thought about him a lot and the time we spent out there on this run.
Once we got parked, we got our race numbers, shirts and swag (Parks and Rec had some cool water bottles and backpacks). Then headed back to the car to drop it all off. I texted SuperKate and she was sitting on the back deck of the bait shop so we hung out with her for a few minutes while we waited for everything to start (borrowing her bug spray which we had forgotten - thanks!). Also met the other Team Virtus rep - Bob Jenkins - who I felt like I knew from all his blog posts on the Team Virtus site. We took a couple pre-race photos and listened to the band that was playing. I was pumped to get started.
|With Susan - a Super Friend!|
There were good water stations along the way - seemingly just where I was needing them most. We were very happy that towards the end they left the water out for us slowpokes. The weather was warm, but not insanely hot. We lost the breeze in the trees, but the shade and setting sun helped. The course has a lot of terrain changes, but was a lot of fun. As we hit the portion of the trail where I could see we were turning back and the mile markers indicated we were over half way, we both were feeling pretty good about how it was going. We got some more water and I could tell exactly where we were because I could see the lake and knew that part of the lake relative to the course. We continued cruising along and I fell once (not hard) after a minor ankle roll. Had some other close calls, but always managed to catch myself after feeling my toe trip over a rock or root.
We hit the 7 mile marker and I was thrilled to know we'd be done soon. My feet were starting to hurt (maybe I should've worn my newer shoes?) and the tendon on the outside of my right knee was nagging me a bit. My shoulders felt a bit tight from all the looking down at my feet and I was just feeling like it was time to be done. Unfortunately, the course markings left something to be desired. because about 0.25 mile later we popped out of the woods into an open section of the trail and I could see the lake and I knew where we were and we were a long damn way from the finish line. UGH!
I mentally lost it there. I started walking a lot as Susan tried to cheer me along so sure that the finish line was coming right up (she didn't know the lake like I did). She really had to drag me in. I kept thinking, "Well maybe the trail is straighter through this section so it really isn't as far as I think". But then we popped out of another section and I could see we were still a ways out. She kept talking me through trying to run more and walk less, but I was feeling pretty defeated. The sun was setting and she wanted to be done before dark. That is a lot sooner this time of year than in June!
|Stole this pic from Kate's FB - thankfully she isn't close enough to see me NOT enjoying this last long uphill.|
|Neat finish line!|
We got a chips/salsa snack and visited with Kate and the gang a little more. Susan's boys were calling to see if she'd be home to tuck them in so we didn't hang out too long. I grabbed another Coke and we took off. Should have taken a pic of the dirt/dust "tan" line I had at my socks, but was too eager to get in the hot shower. I cleaned up and enjoyed the peace and quiet. My daughter was with grandma and the boys went to the tractor/truck pull in Westphalia so I had plenty of time to myself to read and relax before shutting off the light and nodding off. All in all, a pretty good birthday!
I didn't feel too bad when I got up on Sunday. Only noticed any soreness as I took the stairs at the school open house after mass. Had a pretty chill day and enjoyed dinner and movie with my husband. We talked a little about me trying to fit in one more tri this season and the need to get registered for it. Next weekend we are doing a family float trip on the Gasconade River. The following weekend there are a couple of options for races, but I'll probably do the Heart 5K like I did last year. It is local and a charity that I have supported for a long time. The next weekend is the Epic Mud Run with my husband and another couple we conned into going with us. So that leave three weekends in September that each have race options. Just always seems silly to travel a long ways for a sprint race. And I just don't think I have it in me to do the Oly this year. I'm a little bummed I didn't push harder to get to where I could do it. But I need to shit or get off the pot and decide or I won't have a choice. So watch for the decision in the next few days.