No Billy Goats here!

That’s right folks, I’m no Billy Goat and I think they left that out as one of the requirements for the 25k Trail Run Kim and I did last night at Lake Sylvia!

Let’s start at the beginning.  Met up with Kim and Josh on Hwy 10 where we met with Tom and Hobbit to follow them to Lake Sylvia, this was at 6:30pm.  It was 100 degrees according to the car temperature, ugh.  We were not running until 8, so maybe it would get a little cooler.

Once at the Lake, we lucked out and found a primo parking space right up front, cause there weren’t any left and someone was leaving!  Kim and I signed in, got our bibs, made our donation and proceeded to gear up.  Spray down with OFF, fuel belt, visor, two headlamps, and then wait…. Okay, maybe we were a little anxious.  It actually didn’t feel too hot just standing around, we were right by Lake Sylvia, very pretty.  We saw lots of people we knew, Arland, who was running the 50K, Leah T, who was running who knows what, lots of people we see at all the Little Rock races or on our Saturday runs.

8:00, they make a few announcements and then BAM! We are out of there, there was a map, but it meant nothing, no real roads, only Forest Service Roads, which I didn’t know if they were marked or not, so we went mapless.  I guess the first 1/3 mile was asphalt and then that was it, gravel and packed dirt roads.

First 4 miles, UPHILL!  It was still daylight so we could see all the rocks, dips, cliffs and dangers.  There were lots of people still around us for the first 4-6 miles and everyone kept saying “oh but the last 4 miles is downhill”, nice thought.  Kim and I were so thankful to be finished with those 4 uphill miles, and I mean uphill, not inclines.  Everyone was walking up at some point on those 4 miles, some were just so steep you could only walk.

We thought YAY, we are at the top, OH HELL, what is this? Another hill? and another? and another?  It was misery!  We ran some of the hills that were actual hills, but there was this one hill that took you up to the turnaround point, HOLY HELL!  It was a monster!  No running up that baby.

When we finally got to the turnaround, YIPPEE!  We were so excited we actual drank sodas that weren’t diet!  Refreshing and ice cold, that’s all that mattered.  They had tons of stuff to eat and drink, fruit, cookies, crackers, candy, a little bit of everything.  Grabbed some grapes, filled up my water bottle with ice and Gatorade. 

We saw our running buddy Patrick at the turnaround, we saw him at sign in but never saw him again until that point.  Saw lots of other familiar faces too, but hard to see people, it was pitch dark by then and the only light was everyone’s headlamps.

I think Kim did jump over one snake, but for the most part we were concentrating too hard on not breaking an ankle to notice the snakes, or bats, or scorpions.  The bugs weren’t as bad as I expected, I thought “swarms”, especially with our headlamps, but surprisingly they weren’t bad.  I’m sure that huge coating of OFF I put on before we left kept them away 🙂

We were so glad to leave the turnaround, yippee!  on our way back to civilization!  What the hell?  Where did all these hills come from?  It’s like one after another, up and down, geez, will it ever end?  It was hard to run down the hills because of the loose rocks, as I mentioned, billy goats we are not!  The flat areas or smaller hills we were able to run, but if it was too steep, nope, we will just do the Sheryl power walk.

Kim twisted her foot at one point, not bad, but enough to just bother her for the rest of the run back, we had to be very careful, I would run in front and warn her of loose rocks, big rocks, dips in the road, or whatever, really hard to see, even with the headlamps.  We we always semi-close to other runners until the very end and hell, I have no idea where they all went, I guess they must have flew down the hills.

Maybe if we had been on a trail run at least once previously we wouldn’t have been so cautious, but neither one of us wanted to get hurt, so cautious was better than hurt in our opinion.

We knew we were getting close to the turn off and didn’t want to miss it, paying close attention to everything, our surroundings, the road, creatures, other runners, it was a little overwhelming.  I felt like I was working much harder than I normall do on a morning run in the dark, I like pavement, even though my joints may like the softer surfaces.

We were so relieved to see the turn off, we thought we were almost there, no, not really, another couple of miles and the worst, just because there were cars driving on this section who apparently didn’t give a rat’s ass if we were on the road or not.  The dust was horrible, it took a good 5 minutes after each vehicle passed for us to be able to see again, plus it was all over us and our sweaty skin, yuck.  It was nasty.

Yes, the last few miles were downhill, but we thought it would never end and we found that we were pretty much alone, no runners in front or back of us.  Where did they go, it got a little Blair witch project at that point and I really just wanted to sprint, but we just slowly ran, creepy, very creepy.  I would not want to be out there alone, I was thinking about Arland and how there was no way in hell I would have done the 50K by myself.  I hope he found someone to run with, but guys are different, you know, tough, right?

We finally could see some lights in the distance, we were getting excited, people, land, cold drinks, yippee!  And then ASPHALT!!!  OMG!  I wanted to go down on my knees and kiss the ground, I have never been so happy to see pavement!  It was like an old friend showed up to greet us, we were so happy, our pace picked up and we ran to the finish area.  We heard Tom say, hey I know those Crackheads, it was funny.

What a freaking relief, I don’t believe I will be doing this run again next year, too rocky for me, left my hoofs at home!  Congratulations to all those people who just loved it and finished.

The group, I think it is AURA, did a fantastic job, lots of water, food and Gatorade at the turnaround and finish area, not to mention water at the water stop.  Well organized, even though it wasn’t an actual “race”.  My garmin said 15 miles with a time of 3:15:18, which ended up being about a 13 minute mile, SLOW, yes, but considering how much we had to walk and the hills, not bad, not complaining.

Sore a bit today, feet and butt mostly, glad today is a rest day, I could use a good massage!  Mark this one off our list, 25K and trail run all in one, oh and at night too.

Did I mention how much my feet hurt while I was running, yikes, those rocks took their toll on my feet, do you get used to that or wrong shoes?  I just wore my regular running shoes, not a trail shoe.

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2 Responses

  1. Congratulations on completing the 25k! I have some pretty heavy-duty trail shoes (Montrail Continental Divides) that I wear whenever I do singletrack – they make a huge difference (they have a reinforced toe and a plate in the ball of the foot to make rocks hurt less). They make me feel like I’m running with leg weights when I’m on pavement, but they’re so much better on trails.

    You should come do the Mt. Nebo trail run in August – you start at the top of the mountain, run around the Bench Trail twice, then go all the way down and back up.

  2. I hate Ark hills. A few years ago I ran some and wanted to die. You guys have freakin’ mountains. This OK Girl, isn’t used to those types of hills.
    Good job the race. 25K is awesome!!!!

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