We picked up our friends and rolled into the Claireville Conservation Area around 8:30 this morning. We scored a great parking spot right near the start so we were able to keep warm and dry in the car after picking up our kits. It was a cool and damp morning, but after last year's scorching heat we were not complaining.
Before shot of Team Nucking Futs.
The race started 15 minutes late due to late registrations and kit pick-up (just like last year). It's a great event, but pretty unorganized.
We finally got started and followed the first part of the route along a dirt road. We had been told that we would run an out-and-back along this road for the first 2.5K, but within about 1K we were directed onto a trail in the woods by a course marshall. Big oops! We would find out later on that this trail was for the 5K runners only and we should have continued straight until a turn-around point.
We continued along narrow trails in the woods and through fields of tall grass, avoiding logs and brush blocking the trail. We navigated sharp turns and rugged terrain while facing several short, steep climbs (some of which offering a rope to pull ourselves up) and descents.
During the first half of the race we ran past the start/finish area where we climbed through tires and over a stack of haybales. I totally wiped out
It wasn't long before we realized that we probably weren't following the correct route. Around 5K (according to my Garmin) a race official finally informed us that we had run the second half of the course and would now be directed to run the first part.
We encountered four river crossings along the way, one waist-deep. The trails became muddier and muddier as soaking wet runners slogged through. After one river crossing, we had to clamber up a steep muddy embankment which I continued sliding down until my teammates yanked me up.
Pretty soon we could hear the crowd at the finish line. I glanced at my watch and realized that our 'modified' course was under 8K (supposed to be 10). I was barely tired, which was somewhat disappointing. Last year I could barely stand up straight at the end. Also, the short course means we can't compare to our previous time, although I know we would have slaughtered it even on the full course.
We plowed through the mud pit of questionable content (it smelled like manure, so we were quite possible rolling in dung), hubby losing a shoe along the way.
Team Nucking Futs crossed the mat at just over 50 minutes (still waiting on official results).
My shoes have seen better days.
We showered off and changed into clean clothes, although we were still pretty muddy as we piled into the car. I'm pretty sure we scared off some customers when we stopped at Hero Burger for some lunch.
Despite the chaos, this is one of my favourite events and we're already talking about next year. But right now, I think I have some laundry to do.