First ever trail race

IMG_3554My first ever trail race! What an epic experience. I absolutely loved the day, from the start until the end. The views were spectacular. The weather was pretty darn near perfect, even if it got a bit warm midway through the race.

When I signed up for Rick’s 5.22 mile (Jesi mislabeled the picture with the wrong distance) Ultra I was hesitate to believe the website when it said it was a great race for a first timer, but after my experience with Regina a few weeks ago I realized that the trail was a great combination of technical and easy. Not to mention the price tag was fantastic-and the swag was a hat. I mean I love a great t-shirt but honestly my poor closet can’t handle another shirt.

This was a tandem event. There was the 5.22 mile race, one loop around the course, or the Ultra which was eight hours to complete as many loops as you choose or  that is possible. There is part of me that wished I had signed up for the Ultra, but next year I will take on the Ultra and go for three loops.

It was a smallish event, a total of 300 runners for both events. The small number made the event feel super cozy. Everyone seemed to be super friendly both along the course and after the race. One thing that I noticed is that trail runners have an even more amazingly outrageous sense of style from marathon runners. It’s definitely an anything/any color goes type mentality.

The course started out on the park path and wound through a field and then entered the woods. The course started out flat with a slight elevation. The race director saved the large elevation increase to a few miles into the race. The path is mostly two person wide, fairly clear though as typical nature things there were rocks and tree roots to be mindful of. IMG_3556

Marilyn and I stuck together and had lots of laughs along with deep conversation. And adventures with a yellow jacket nest. We both got stung a few times, but I think the experience is what helped me shave six minutes off my estimated time.

Despite the bees, I felt relaxed and comfortable. I laughed and felt kid like as I hoped over rocks and made my way through the woods. It was probably the most fun I have had running.

Not only was the course and the race amazing but the post race experience was one of the best I have ever had. The food at the finish area for runners included watermelon, all the favorite candies (Swedish fish, M&M’s, etc), jerky, homemade quesadillas, pretzels and potatoes. That was just what I can remember. It felt like a family buffet rather than a post race food table. Around lunch time, the race volunteer rolled out two grills and began grilling burgers and brats. It truly felt like a family friendly event. Jesi and I stayed until around two, cheering on racers and visiting with our friend John. IMG_3559

The race was all the components of a Spartan Race that I enjoy combined with road running with an added dash of comradery. I am really looking forward to the 2018 Rick’s Run. This is definitely a race I will add to my annual calendar!

Have you ever discovered a race by happenstance that ended up being your favorite race?

Happy Running!

 

 

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