For the 2nd year now, the SLUGS have put on a fun run on the Green Rock Trail in Allenton, MO. This is a rugged course. Lots of climbing, loose rock, softball size hidden rocks, wet leaves, all-in-all, a great place to get in some good training.
I left the house around 4:30 am so I could get there for the 6 am start. There was a light layer of snow on the ground and it was about 20 out. Not the most ideal weather, but once you get back in the woods on the trail it blocks some some of the wind Also, once you start running it seems about 15 degrees warmer. Even so, I decided to wear long pants.
There were about 9 of us running the trail that day. 3 of us had stated we were running the full 40 (2 out and backs) and the other 6 were doing various distances. I had my headlamp on and was really pleased with how bright it is. I am working on using it a lot more to get used to it being on my head for extended periods of time as well as getting used to running in the dark.
It was really nice with the snow on the ground and my headlamp making the white ground look like it was glowing. It was really quiet out. The snow muffles sound anyway, but it was only 6am on a Saturday and no one else but a few of us runners were out there which made it even more peaceful. I went out a little faster then I should of, but got my wits about me after about 3 miles and clocked it back a few notches. I cruised along and hit the 10 mile turn around where some fellow SLUG members were manning an aid station. This is what impresses me most, these people decided to take their Saturday to hang out in the cold and serve some silly runners food and drink. This aid station was tops. hot soup, M&M’s, Gummy Bears, pretzels, even homemade pie were all there. This aid station was stocked better than some of the races I have paid money to run. They along with Lee (race organizer and SLUG president) made the day really great.
I wrapped up my first 20 pretty uneventfully. I stopped and my car and picked up a few more Clif Shot blocks and Clif Shots, refilled my bottle with some Perpetum. I took off and continued out for another 20. Everything was going well except for a hot spot that was developing on my left foot. I decided to sit down on a log, rub a little Vaseline on the spot that was rubbing, tighten up my shoe and see how it would hold up. I decided that if it kept up, I’d just call it at 30 instead pushing it and getting a blister and pushing my training back any. As I was sitting down, Joe Neubauer came up and I decided to run with him for a while. During this time, I rolled my right ankle hard. I walked it off and then continued on and you know what happened next? I rolled the same ankle again. This time followed by a long list of swear words. Ok, time to relax, pay attention to the terrain and get myself to the aid station.
I made it to the aid station and except for a sore ankle, was feeling pretty good. My hot spot has gone away. Joe decided to call it a day with 30 miles. Mun Sang was right behind me and David Stores not far behind him. We all hung out at the aid station for a while. I downed a couple cups of ramen noodle soup and a handful of gummy bears then Mun Sang and I started making our way back to the start slowly giving David some time to catch up with us.
We grinded our way to the finish, swapping stories and just enjoying each other’s company. We probably walked a little more than we should have, but it was nice talking about life and everything around it without any other distractions around. We hit the 5 mile mark and Lee met us there to make sure we were good on water and food and to hand us our headlamps just in case it got too dark before the finish. He jokingly said we need to pick it up to get done in an hour and 15 minutes. Given and other 5 miles that’s a pretty mild pace, but given this course, and 35 miles on our legs we’d have to get moving.
We got moving. Mun Sang followed behind me while David dropped back a bit. He had come early and put in an extra hour before we started so he had hit his 40 miles already. I was feeling good so I decided I wanted to finish as strong as I could. On Green Rock, once you start hearing the highway, you know you are close. I was hearing the cars and picked up the pace a little more. We reached the end! Lee along with Mun Sang’s wife, my wife and daughter were all in Lee’s car watching for us. We came in in 10 hours 25 minutes. David came in about 5 minutes later and we all chatted a bit and ate some more food that Lee had sat out for us. A big gust wind blew through and we decided that was a good sign to call it a day. We took a pic of the 40 mile finishers and then headed our separate ways.
This was a tough training run, but that’s good, it will pay off in the long run. I had some lows with my hot spot on my foot and a double rolled ankle, but was able to pull though. Those are the kind of things you can pull on during a race to get you to the finish line. The company was great and the volunteers for this fun run were outstanding. Thanks to all!