This weekend we ran our last race of the season, the Fat Ass Trail Race in Batawa. I was immediately drawn to this race because of its name and also because I love to shop at the store that the race director owns. The race offers distances of 7.5km, 10km, 17.5km, and 25km. First prize goes to whoever can predict their time! Also prizes for dirtiest, most lost, and last.
Now I know this was a lot to ask of my body after the marathon so I opted for the 7.5km and planned to run easy and just enjoy…yeah right.
After a tiny bit of start line confusion Dan was off as he had predicted his finishing time of 42 mins. Me, I predicted 1:13:29??? I have no idea why I did this, clearly I thought I’d still be dead from the previous weeks race.
Originally I was going to run this with Big Sister, but then Big Sister’s Hubby signed up so I was off the hook. I tried to start out with them, but then the klaxon sounded and that was it, in my head I was going slow, but I was passing people, oh well. The course leads down the road where you loop around and head back to the ski hill, where the fun begins! Since I was a mountain goat in a former life I picked off lots people running up the ski run, mainly because they were not. Then the course flattens for a bit only to plunge down the backside of the ski hill, I passed a few more people. I have to admit that the down was a little daunting as the trail was covered with leaves, but after all my other falls this summer, I’ve lost that “fear of falling” and that just makes you go. Once at the bottom we flattened out again and that’s when I saw the back of a figure I know, yup I was catching Dan. Of course I assumed that something was wrong with him because I was enjoying my nice easy run. When I finally caught up to him it turned out he was struggling, you see we spent the previous night at Big Sister’s house with two cats, Dan is allergic, in that annoying wheezing way. It doesn’t help that the one cat seems to sense when he’s not wanted and kept leaping on Dan and trying to get into our room to smother Dan in his sleep. I told Dan I would try to pace him to his 42 mins, we weren’t doing too bad. The weather was un-expectantly warm so I was happy to see an aid station around 4km. The course was far more technical than we expected with lots of low hanging branches (not so good for Dan) so we didn’t gain as much speed on the flats as I thought we would, and although it was flat there were lot’s of fallen trees to hurdle. (Big Sister’s Hubby misjudged one and ended with a pretty knee gash, but at least he remained up right!) The end has you climb back up the backside of the ski hill and then you get to run down the front to the finish. By the time we hit the hill Dan’s wheezing was winning and he had to walk, being the nice wife that I am waited for him at the top chatting to Alex, who had come to cheer us on. I should note that a few people got by us at this point, including a woman who later thanked me for pacing her for most of the race, she won her age group, we happened to be in the same age group. Anyway…Dan and I ran down the hill and crossed the finish line hand in hand in 44:53.
Next to come down the hill was (a surprise) Big Sister’s Hubby, in 52:30, not bad for a smoker who did little to no training, however what I loved seeing was the excitement in his eyes when he realized he was nearly done and gave that last kick. I think he might be re-thinking his attitude toward running. He lost Big Sister on the first up hill, she told him to go, so he did, what a brave man.
Big Sister followed shortly after in 1:00:25 a whopping 25 minutes faster than she predicted. I loved listening to Big Sister’s race replay as we enjoyed our chili and cookies. First I have to explain two things that my big sister doesn’t like; running up hill and getting dirty. So after dispatching Hubby on the up hill (assuming she’d find him blown up somewhere along the course because he didn’t train) she hit the flat at the top, quite literally, as in big wipe out. The runners near her helped her up but her hip smarted, she started running again mainly to show everyone around her that she was ok, but really, her hip was sore and her leg and hands were dirty. She decided to drop out. Except she never “found the opportunity”, what Big Sister didn’t realize about trail racing is that there isn’t a race marshal every 10 feet to help you, by the time she reached the aid station she was parched (Hubby had the water bottle), she stopped for two waters and asked how much further. She was told 3.5km, oh well she figured best just keep going! And she did, up the second big hill and down again across the finish.
I was so proud of her for finishing, and when I heard all of that I proudly welcomed her to the world of trail racing. Her hip is bruised and hand grazed but otherwise she is pumped with her result, so much so that she just might go and train on those crazy hills.
P.S. sorry for the blurry photos, I need to stop to take photos apparently.