Last week I did a last minute sign up for a local trail half. It's a first year start-up trail race put on in Harrodsburg, KY at a place called Shakertown. If you ready for a history lesson, well the Shakers were a religious community that were active from the 1800's till early 1900.
For a mental image...
no electricity and such.
I was pretty excited though. For one, I love love trail racing and two, well...I love trail racing. I've found that when I do show up for these races, that the percentages rise exponentially when it comes to race directors getting things right.
First off, the race shirt.
Yes, that's a bovine of sorts. The shirt is awesome. Material n' all. But I was perplexed. I mean, why a shaggy bovine? Then I googled Shakertown and found this guy..
I will call him "Alf"
Our half marathon mascot. And oddly enough, assuming the position I wish that I could have around mile 12.
My running partners.
(very official looking font)
The race was advertised as a trail run but I would say that in actuality it was 70% cross country made up of tall, tamped down grass with some horse trails and then 30% actual wooded trails with single track, tree roots, heavy rocks, creek / water crossings etc. It didn't really matter, it was a beautiful day, daytime high of 55 and not a cloud in the sky.
The first mile was a comfortable 10:05 but at the 1.5 mile marker, the steep, steep (and I'm not joking either) climbs began. We ran up the first few and my heart rate was through the roof. So, from then on, I chose to speed walk the hills and I found that I had a great recovery once on the downhills and flats. It's kinda how we're taught to run trail races anyway though.
The crowd was sparce as there just around 100 people who ran. The course was great, just a lot of sloped ground and spots that were tough on the ankles but I prefer it over a regular pavement city run, especially in fall.
The water stops were awesome, each manned by either some children and an adult or some guys with an atv vehicle. They were nice and I can't say how sweet it is to stop, have a drink and have an actual conversation with a person not fearing to get in the way of other runners. Trail running is where it's at for me.
The water crossings were a bit fun. In some cases you could tip toe across the slippery, mossy covered rocks and save your feet from getting soaked and then in other spots you just had to wade through it. Never worse than shoe deep though.
Finish time was 2:26 which is a new trail 13.1 PR for me. YAY! I wasn't really trying for time but it worked out well anyway.
I eneded up with a few of these (I'm only sharing the prettiest ones).......
Fun to look at, somewhat fun to take a needle to. I have a feeling that second toenal will be a loser. Sorry if I grossed you out.