DNF DID NOTHING FAST
I chortled and giggled out loud as I came up with this on my way to Aid Station 4 for the dreaded DNF. Yes, the DID NOTHING FAST lead right to the DID NOT FINISH.
But I digress.
I got down to the 4H Camp in Beverly around 3 pm, where we had a grand time trying to rest up under the trees. It was fun to have time to just sit around and chat, yet very hard just waiting for that 9 pm starting time! In talking to Bradley Mongold about the Allegheny Trail Speed Attempt I also met Rebecca Trittipoe, who holds the speed record on the Allegheny Trail. Rebecca did this run, solo, with no previous knowledge of the trail except the Alleghey Trail Guidebook. I was very impressed with her cojones!
The race got off to a prompty 9 pm start in the dark. The fast! pack went out down the dirt road, and I found myself alone in the back. Not a big deal, I needed to run my own pace.
The first 4 or 6 miles or so seems to go through Redneckville. Lots of barking dogs, which being the last runner through, I hoped were still caged up. A few random vehicles going up and down the dirt road also made me a bit nervous.
The climb began almost immediately. Ugh! It was a non stop gradual climb up over about 12 miles. It was on a dirt gravel road. It seemed like it would never end.
I was totally alone out there, and fine with that, except for the mile or so with the baying coon or bear dogs treeing something, and I could hear mens voices in the woods.
I need to learn how to walk uphill fast. Gombu had tasked me to do this last year about this time, and have I been practicing it? Nope.
I did get to an area where the tree cover fell away, and the sky opened up. I turned off my headlamp briefly to look up and see the black black sky and all the twinkling stars. Then I noticed I was walking into the ditch and thought I should get back to my task at hand.
What was the trail marked with? The trail was marked very well with flourescent markers about 1 foot tall. Your light would catch these and it looked like a day glow stick. There were also glow sticks that were activated out on the course.
After Aid Station 2, I was instructed to follow the Christmas lights onto the trail…TRAIL!! Finally! I started down the cushy mossy trail, gave out a WOOHOO happy to be off the climb and the dirt road.
This section of trail is very overgrown with pine trees. The trail is defined here, but around your shoulder level, the pine trees have grown into the trail. It’s hard then to see down to your feet, and as this section went on, I’m sure many of us runners have a nice rash due to the repeated brushings with the pine needles!
I switched on my second light here. I was carrying a second headlamp, which I wrapped around my hand held bottle. This helped illuminate the trail better. This was still slow going. Most of my night trail runs are on the Mohican Trails that I am familiar with. With this race, an unknown trail, you have no idea what your next foot ahead of your light is going to be. I almost went into a big swampy puddle before quickly jumping to the right to circumnavigate the mosquito breeding ground.
I really enjoyed the single track. It was very still in the forest. No tree frogs here, so no chirping.
So when was I going to get to AS # 3? It was only five or 5.5 miles. I brought my watch up and was shocked to see it was 1.30 am already. Where had my time gone? If I didn’t get to AS#3 soon, my 3am cutoff at AS # 4 was going to come into play.
Crikey, I didn’t come into AS # 3 until 2 am! Mongold was here. He told me it was 5.5 miles until AS#4 and the 3 am cut off. He was being positive “well, if you really push it…” I laughed and said “I dont’ think so!” but I was going to continue on and enjoy my journey. At AS #4 were the drop bags, where I had dry clothes, so it made sense to go on and time out there and have clothes available.
I had plenty of time to reflect on why I was so slow. Was it the big climb, that I was so slow out? Certainly a night trail run on single unknown track I was slower than normal. Could most of it revolve around the extra 25 lbs I am carrying around my waist? I think it’s the last. I need to lose weight, step out of my slow comfort slog of running to get faster.
I finally reach AS#4, one hour after the cut off. I hear Joel yell “is that Kim? And I reply, yes it is I. He says I am past the cut off. I cajole them (jokingly!!) to let me go on. At my current rate of speed, I should finish the race by Tuesday or so! I hurriedly changed into my dry clothes, had some wonderful soup made by Soup Master Willie (and a cup of his nice ale!) and warmed up by the fire.
A nice crew member took me back to the finish, and I slept in my vehicle for two hours before the ride home. I’m pleasantly tired again now, after another 2 hour nap.
The inaugural race was nicely planned, the markings were excellent, the Aid Stations Rocked!! It was a good time out in the woods of West Virginia!