As you can see from Pam's post below, we headed out to Woodside really, really early Saturday morning, 5am to be exact. Leslie, a fellow FTR, was kind enough to be our driver for the day, even with only a few hours of sleep (3 little ones at home)! Also with Pam, Leslie, and I were 3 other FTR's Diane, Kem, and Mike L.
We made great timing even in the rain. We were teased a lot as the rain would stop and we'd all get excited and hopeful that it would stay away, but then it would hit us again and our little bubble would be burst.
We got there early enough to get registered, get our bibs, etc. After that, we still had tons of time left as our race, the 35k, didn't start until 9:15a. So we all squeezed back in the car to stay warm. hile we were all huddled in the car, a few more FTR's showed up and said hi. Marc, Randy, and Susan G. all came up too. Marc was also doing the 35k while Randy and Susan (took 1st in her AG) were doing the 17k.
As it got closer to starting time, we all started to really get ready. Here's Pam staying inside the car as long as possible.
The time came to get the race started. The funny part of this race is we all start in the huge open field and then within 50 feet had to funnel onto a single track, thereby stopping the "run" instantly. But once you get through the shoot, you're off and running. Let the mud bath begin!
Pam and I had a goal of completing this race in 4:45, worst case 5 hours. We had done the 17k last year and didn't do too bad, and since we are in better shape this year, we should be able to improve on what we did last year. NOT! The mud made for a very challenging race.
The course starts off nicely, rolling single track, but then within a mile you start climbing, and climbing, and climbing. Pam does really well on the up hill. I struggle. Although, I will say that I handled the hills much better this year than I did last year.
The rain wasn't bad as we are pretty well covered by the canopy of trees. We made it to the first aid station (6 miles) in a little over 1.5 hours. Scott Dunlap was there as a volunteer and I (not knowing who he was) asked him to take our picture. He graciously did so.
Now last year, this is where we turned around and headed back. But this year, we had to cross the road and keep going. So now we were in new territory. We didn't know what to expect. It started off nicely, once again, rolling single track. Then we started to climb and started hitting a lot more mud!!!!!! I so wish I could've taken my camera out and taken more pics, but I had to keep it in a ziploc and it was a pain to get it in and out.
As we got closer to the 2nd aid station (11 miles) we saw our fellow FTR's coming back. First we saw Mike, he was doing really well. Then we saw Marc, he too was looking good. Then came Diane & Leslie, looking awesome, as usual. Then Kem, who wasn't feeling well all week, yet was holding her own on the course kicking butt as usual!!
We finally made to the 2nd aid station and everyone was so busy that we had to take our own self portrait. It was raining, so we had to be quick.
So we headed off feeling ok, knowing that now it's all down hill, right?? I mean we just climbed almost 3000 feet and what goes up must come down, right? Well we started off down, which was nice, but then we started hitting some of those downhills we faced going up - yeah we forgot about those. Mind you, our legs are pretty well trashed by now with all the climbing and all the mud, so seeing hills has now become a sore subject. In fact, Pam, was cursing the hills by this time. And she doesn't swear very much!
With all the mud, my feet did manage to stay pretty dry as I was wearing my mud runners, but I got energetic and at one point, going through a pretty muddy area, I ended up in deeper mud than I had anticipate and ended up with water inside my shoes - damn! Oh well, by then you really don't care as all you want to do is get it over with.
As we were coming into the 3rd aid station which was actually the 1st aid station, there was a beautiful waterfall that you didn't see as you were going out. I so wanted to take a picture, but couldn't :(.
At the aid station, I confirmed that we only had 4 more miles to go. The reason I needed to confirm this was because with all the trees you lose satelite and my Garmin was only registering 16.25 miles and it should've been reading 18 miles. So the lady confirmed, yes, 4 miles to the finish and most of it is downhill. I remembered that from last year.
We did have to hike up and through another mud hole, to which I gracefully sunk in deeper than I had earlier - gotta love the mud. Once we got to the top, it was basically all down hill, which I normally would be ecstatic about, however, for whatever reason, the parks apparently decided to pave the once dirt trail. GGGGRRR!!
Normally on a down hill run, I let go and just fly, but I was not able to do that on Saturday. My legs were so trashed from the climbing and the mud that hitting that hard pavement rattled everything in me. Every impact hurt. I kept hoping that it would only be temporary pavement, but it continued all the way down the hill and then you hit the fire road for the last mile. Absolutely brutal. But I was a horse to barn and I just kept going. I really wanted to walk on the fire road, but I wanted to finish more! Apparently Pam felt the same way, so she too kept on truckin too.
We finished, 12th and 13th in our AG (last in our AG)and we're ok with that as this was a tough run, but we did it!!
Here is a pic of our muddy legs - I wish I had taken a pic of the back of our legs as I disovered when trying to clean up that the back of my legs were muddier than the front.
Since I couldn't take any pics along the course, I'm going to refer you to Scott Dunlap's blog as he did the Woodland Marathon a few weeks earlier when the weather was beautiful so that you can see how pretty it is out there.
Smiling Through the Woodside Trail Marathon - blog by Scott Dunlap
If you scroll to the 13th pic on his blog post you can see the paved trail I'm talking about. Last year that was DIRT! Because of this, I probably won't do this race again, it's way to brutal on my bones after doing 18 miles in the mud!
All in all though, we had a great time. It's always a blast to travel with fellow FTRs!