Yesterday was the titled fun run on the Buckeye Trail. This would be the third year in a row doing this run. We enjoy the trails so much and the atmosphere is very laid back. Tanya Cady is the RD and her pre-run speech is always funny. With two loops of 8 and 5 miles we can run whatever we want in whatever order. We just need to tell the people at the finish line how many miles we ran and they will mark it accordingly.
So there are options from 5 miles all the way up to the max of 50k (31 miles). You can quit/stop whenever you pass through the start and call it a day. Hot chili and a great Brooks jackets waited for you inside.
Aimee Sara and I carpooled to the run with temperatures sitting at 25 degrees. This was the warmest day of the past week. A fresh layer of snow had come down overnight, about 3 inches.
We were signed up for the half marathon option, 8 mile loop then 5 mile loop, but weren't sure if we would be dong the entire 13 miles. My knee was bothering me from the prior weekends run, IT Band, and I didn't want to make it worse. Sara was coming off a bothersome stomach and Aimee didn't want to spend too much time on the trails. We all thought 8 miles would be enough.
With a toot on Tanya's whistle we headed towards the trail head. Even on the towpath trail we were single file due to where the compacted snow was. Immediately we were going uphill.....walking. There would be no running of any hills today. The footing was just not there.
I settled in behind someone and tried to keep my footing solid. The foot marks from the previous runner were hard to see so a twisted ankle was possible. I passed an occasional person but everyone pretty much kept their position since there was rarely a chance, or incentive, to pass someone. The effort to pass someone in the snow would use quite a bit of energy.
At the turn around for the 8 mile loop I grabbed a piece of banana from the aid station and thanked the volunteers for being out there. On the return trip it was hard passing people coming the opposite way since the packed snow made for a small path. It was good to see friends making their way to the aid station and told them to keep up the good work.
At various times during the first loop I wasn't sure if my knee would hold up for the 5 mile loop. A slight twinge put thoughts of doubt in my mind. Should I stop at 8 miles? Can I make it to 13? what if I take it easy on the hills?
I reached the Boston Store, start/finish line, refilled my bottle with Gatorade and grabbed a Hammer Gel. Chatted with Lloyd and Tanya and headed back out. Three people who were running near me made it through the aid station quicker than I, provided they even stopped. as I started the 5 mile loop to Brandywine Falls I could see the two guys and one gal ahead of me. I figured that if I kept them close enough I would have time to pull them back during the 5 mile loop.
As we approached the aid station the four of us were close together and we chatted while fueling up on water, bananas....I grabbed a piece of PB&J sandwich. We left the one female runner at the aid station and started the final 2.5 miles back to the finish. I was on the heals of one guy until we reached some steps. I bombed down the trail to the side of the steps similar to others before me. It was actually much safer to do that. Now I had one more person to catch.
I caught up to him after another 10 minutes of running and followed him closely until we reached the small portion of road before the towpath. He was very gracious and offered to step aside for me to pass whenever I wanted to. I wasn't worried about passing while on the trail.
Once I did finally pass him it was another half mile to the finish. Despite the 2.5 hours it took me to complete the 13 miles, I was very happy with the results and my knee made it all the way through with no problems.
Make sure you read reports from TriSaraTops, DaisyDuc and JT. They are a little more concise about the day but have great stories to tell, plus they have pictures to share.
*Before I cleared my watch I remembered my splits. I was even split on the 8 mile out and back, 47 minutes both ways. I negative split on the 5 mile section, 26 minutes out, 23 minutes back.