Thanks to my buddy Marty, I got into the DINO series race at Brown County State Park.
The DINO series is a (great) off-road running and mountain biking series that visits several state parks in Indiana. It's extremely well run and it's garnered a large following. And for trail races, that's key. Having a lot of other crazy people on the trail with you, and hanging around after, makes it a lot more fun.
The morning started... early.
I've never been the first customer at the bagel store before. The whole-wheat bagel was extremely fresh.
This is not an FBI surveillance van. This was our transport to Brown County. Marty assures me that next week it is being decked out in Runners Forum logoness.
The suspiciously non-descript van provided comfortable transport to the race.
10 minutes later, tent/booth in place and in bidness.
After standing around for a few minutes, it was apparent that I was still sleepy. REALLY sleep. Martin had the gig under control, so I snuck off for a disco nap.
"Disco nap" doesn't really fit, does it. That's for a nap before going out to party. What do you call a micro nap before a trail race? "Mud nap"? "Sweat snooze"?
Moderately rested and suited up, I made it to the start. I had very low expectations for my performance in this "race". I was ready to treat as more of a "run". So I moved further and further back in the pack at the start, until I felt like I was around folks who would be also be running, and not really racing.
You might be asking "If you're running in a race, aren't you racing?" Technically, yes. But pragmatically, the difference between running and racing is the amount of discomfort and pain you are willing to put yourself into. I wasn't willing to take on much of either this morning. So I was "running", not "racing".
Anyway, the first mile of the race was on the horse trail from the saddle barn. The good news, the path was wide. The bad news, aside from A MILE UPHILL!!!, was the mud. Ever tried to climb a muddy hill? Not easy.
But, and this is the kinda sick part, it was fun.
I was passing people. I was dodging left and right to avoid the worst of the mud and muck. And I was CRANKING up the hill. I KNOW!
I took 5 seconds to snap a quick pic of the water station folks at the top of the hill. I was glad to see them. I was more glad to have some water. I was even more glad to be at the top of the hill.
The rest of the course was downhill, and I was hauling. The trail was now single-track, and passing was difficult. Thankfully, the runners were totally cool with letting me by.
Just before mile 2 I came up behind Marty. I sat behind him for a bit, ribbing him a little, assuming he had recognized my voice. He didn't, until I drew up on his shoulder. While I was thinking I was giving him a small poke, he must have been thinking I was a major tool.
I kept getting faster and faster, picking off runners as fast as they came. I was deep in the zone.
Unfortunately, the race came to an end. I felt like I could have run for another 2 hours.
As I flew to the finish, I came up on a young boy and his dad. Sure, I could have passed them, but for what? Instead, I stayed back and cheered the boy on. "Come on, dude. Don't let your old man beat you!"
Crossed the finish. And WHOOM. It felt like I'd stepped into an oven. Without the air moving over my skin, the heat and humidity (78F and 85%) hit me hard.
I needed water.
The water table was the hot spot in the grass field.
Water in me, I was on the road to recovery. But the sweating would continue for another hour. It was not pretty.
Neither were my feet/legs/shoes.
I ended up 4th in my age group and 42nd over all. Wonder what I could have done if I had decided to race.
These races aren't for the girly. Sure, she's wearing pink, but she's also covered with mud drops.
I don't know what "Zero Balancing" is. Looks like it's probably a disappointing substitute for a massage.
The shoes needed to air out a bit. I know... pretty disgusting.
This is Chicory Stout, an awesome little dog. She got her name from the beer her mom was drinking when they found her and took her in. She's found a fantastic family to take care of her after a rough first year of life. What a good girl dog she is.
Having missed collecting some hardware by one spot, it was time to head out.
But not home. Marty was gracious enough to take me to Bloomington to pick up... are you ready... new shoes!
Vibram VFF Bikilas.
And since I forgot my wallet, he was extra super gracious enough to spot me the cash for them.
We then realized we were starving. In a hurry to get home, there was only one choice available to us. Dreaded McYuckies.
However, I have to confess, the Angus Deluxe is... awesome. Veggies were fresh. The burger was an actual burger, not a patty. And the bun was excellent.
Almost home, we saw this disaster waiting to happen...
It's not the best picture. I started to get out to get a better one, when the "owners" walked up. It's essentially a miracle of junk-packing that somehow made its way to Carmel.
As they returned (from the liquor store... I'm just sayin') to their truck, one guy yelled "Hey! Why are you taking a picture of our truck?" "Because it's awesome!" I said. The one guy then went on to brag about how he'd packed it all himself and that hardly anything had fallen out yet. When I asked him how far he had to go with his "load", he said "Just until I find a place to dump it."
I hope for that guy's sake, he doesn't drive by any Carmel cops.
Great run. Great fun. Great way to start a Saturday.
Numbers: 3.1 miles in (awesome) muck.