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Race Report: Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi 50 Trail Run

Posted Mar 11 2010 12:12pm
Summary:
20k – 2:30:36
35/65 finishers overall
11/23 women
*****************************

Have I mentioned how much I love running trails?

I was especially looking forward to this run when the race director’s email earlier in the week said that the trails were “relatively dry.”

Phew, I thought. After the incredibly wet and cold winter we’ve been having, it’s a relief to know that somehow DeSoto National Forest escaped the worst of it.

Apparently, this race director lies.

And I don’t mean down.

Anyhoo. I had run this thing 3 years ago when I was still new to Mississippi. The conditions were about perfect, albeit a bit warm. The trails were fairly dry with just a few, mostly minor, mud and creek crossings. Given that I had shed most of my Mississippi-10 since then and was, I believed, in better shape, I figured I could knock a few minutes or more off my original time of 2:28.

So, after spending the night in Laurel (to avoid the 4a wake-up call), we arrived at the trailhead about 45 minutes before the 8a start time. The 50kers and 50 milers were already 2 hours into their races, and some of them were already completing their first loop.

The mud caking their legs? That should have been my first clue.

With the weather quite a bit cooler than 2007, and along with my now thinner southern-style blood, I decided today’s ensemb would consist of my new favorite hot pink long-sleeved Nike tech shirt, lightweight running capris, gloves to start, regular running shoes (I don’t have trail shoes anymore), pink sunglasses, and, of course, my pink running cap (which says, “Running is my Prozac”).

I was encouraged as the first mile passed with only a couple of muddy stretches that were easily navigable.

Ah. The confidence of naiveté.

Miles 2 through 4 started the on-again-off-again slog (mostly on-again) through a muddy trail that was thoroughly chewed up by the folks on horseback (actually, by their horses) and several creeks that, this year, were too wide and deep to hop over.

I tried to run “through” the muddy sections. Really I did. I watched the people who zipped by me and then seemingly floated over the sticky, chunky ground and thought, well, if they can do it, so can I.

Not so much.

I would hit the chunky mud and go all knock-kneed and discombobulated.

Yeah. Better if I walk rather than doing a face plant in the mud.

The creeks were slightly better. Cold. But they rinsed the mud off, which was quickly accumulating on my shoes and getting heavy. One creek didn’t look so deep when the guy in front of me went through it; apparently, he was a bit taller than I. I could’ve breast stroked across that one.

Yeesh.

But. It was beautiful. The pine trees soared over us and the sun filtered through with just enough warmth. The aid stations were well stocked and the volunteers were funny and helpful. I don’t think I’ve seen a Teletubby in a very long time. (At least not since Jerry Falwell determined that Tinky Winky was homosexual.)

What a great way to spend a morning!

Alas, my enthusiasm didn’t translate into a faster time. In fact, I was 2 minutes slower than 3 years ago.

Sigh.

Oh well. Hubby was intrigued enough to pick up an information flyer, and we’re thinking of making day trip at some point later this year and hitting those trails again.

Cool.
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