If your idea of a good time includes running in 90 degrees, climbing up and down rocky hills, falling over roots and being covered in dirt, and snacking on pickles, watermelon and Mountain Dew, then you should probably become a trail runner.
That was just some of the fun that Kim and I had at the Psycho Psummer Trail Run in Kansas City this past weekend.
A while ago we signed up for the 20 mile race as part of a fun weekend road trip with Kim's family. The race started at 8am which meant we didn't even have to wake up until 6! Who knew I'd ever get to sleep in on a race day morning in July!
Lining up at the start!
Don't let the lady mean muggin' in the background throw you off - trail runners are an extremely friendly group of people. We had so many nice exchanges with other runners throughout the race, including the guy running in the kilt that mooned us. (Full disclosure - he had tiny briefs on underneath.)
Our plan, as always on the trails, is to walk up any steep hills. What we didn't realize about this race was that it was pretty much all hills, all the time! And they were very technical. Some parts were so rocky and rooty that we had no choice but to walk over them. (And this is not a complaint at all - the trail was incredibly beautiful!)
Trying to smile at the photographer and not trip over rocks.
Rocks goin' up and rocks comin' down...
If you look at the next picture closely you'll notice that I have a nice layer of dirt on my left arm and right leg. Yep, I fell just about 3 miles into the race. We were on a switchback portion that was the least technical part of the race but still had some rocks and roots sprinkled in. I wasn't watching my footing closely enough and caught my toe on a small stump sticking out of the ground. Wham! Down I went.
Just so I didn't feel left out, Kim took a tumble around mile 7 and we got to show off our dirt at the next aid station:
The volunteers at the aid station were so awesome that they had wet rags ready to wipe us down. We just made sure to get the picture first. Haha.
And while we are on the subject of volunteers and aid stations - both were incredible! I ate so much watermelon that I turned the collar of my white tank top pink from all the juice that dripped down my chin. I also ate lots of pickles, potato chips and Mountain Dew. One aid station was making grilled cheese and bacon! I didn't eat any, but it smelled sooooo good. They also had salt pills at each of the aid stations and I ended up taking 2 throughout the race.
So, earlier I mentioned that it was 90 degrees. It was definitely a hot day, but since the trail was shaded it didn't feel that bad. Who knew that the heat wouldn't get to us on the hottest running day of the year so far? We stayed hydrated with our Nathan backpacks and I am so happy I bought one for this race. I kept forgetting that I had it on! I'm so used to the water belt around my waist.
A little later on we came around a corner in the woods to see a view of the lake. There was an extra surprise - a photographer chillin' in a boat! He got these pics:
One takeaway I have from this race (besides that I had so much fun!) is that I really, really need to improve my trail running skills and confidence. So many runners were able to easily hop up and down the rocky hills where I had to walk - and I even had a hard time walking in some of the tougher sections. So, I'm hoping to get out on local technical trails this summer to work on that. I also think that trail running is so much more fun in the summer compared to road running. The heat seems to get to me less when it's shaded and I'm running slower.
Incredibly non graceful trail runner vs. graceful (shirtless) trail runner:
My log jumping skills are so sub-par.
In fact, there were lots of shirtless graceful billygoat-like runners out there. Enjoy! (Kim and I did!)
See? Trail racing is FUN and SCENIC! Rawr.
More little tidbits from the race:
-The swag was awesome - we got gender specific tech shirts, a beer mug or coffee mug with the race logo (guess which one I picked?), a sweet ass medal, a trail nerds pin and stickers!
- Also, the race paid for all the pictures ahead of time, so the runners got them for free. Overpriced race photography can suck it!
-We were hanging out at the finish line party just after finishing when "2 Legit 2 Quit" was played by the DJ. We were singing and dancing along until I pointed out the fact that we HAD just quit - I guess we are not 'too' legit. Just half legit. :)
- I probably shouldn't wear white for a trail run. My poor tank top still has dirt stains all over it after 2 washes. Oops.
- Gaiters are a lifesaver on the trails. I didn't have any rocks in my shoes and my feet were surprisingly clean when I took my shoes off.
- If you want to read Kim's perspective of the race, her recap is here.
I had such a good time running with Kim that day and sharing the trail with so many passionate runners. We already plan to be back next year so we can do the whole 20 miles!
All of the pictures in this recap are from Kim and Mile 90 photography.
Cause I can't handle running AND taking pictures. :)