Monday, November 03, 2008

Race Report: Governor's Cross Country

"Are you sure that thing is waterproof?"

As we lined up yesterday afternoon at the Governor's Cross Country race, a fellow runner noted my Garmin and asked that very astute question. I wasn't too worried about it. While I can't take Paula swimming with me, I believe it's okay for her to get splashed a bit. And it was a lovely day for a run, warm and sunny. I was wearing my She-Hulk trail shoes, my lucky running skirt, and a red shirt. Ready to go!

I had no idea what I had in store for me.

The race was completely on trails, which also meant it was nothing but hills. One of the hills was so steep that runners had to use a rope to climb it. At the top were two volunteers, who each grabbed one of my hands, yanked me to the top, and launched me back down the trail. I jumped over hay bales, fallen logs, and tree roots. I crossed creeks of rank swamp water up to my waist.

It was, as you might have guessed, an absolute blast. And if the race itself wasn't enough fun, the organizers added a sort of treasure hunt. Just off the trail were hidden ribbons. If you found a ribbon, say, tied to a tree branch, and brought it back, you could get a prize. I think there were some pretty good prizes, but there were also smaller, fun prizes - like t-shirts from other races, small bags, and lanyards. For climbing into a sticker bush after my ribbon, I got a water bottle.

Because I wasn't prepared for the conditions to be quite so rustic, I did not dress right at all for the race. My She-Hulks were okay after going through the washing machine, but next year I'll save an old pair for this race. My shirt was fine, but the skirt was a huge mistake. Because it was soaking wet, it got really heavy and threatened to become an ankle warmer. I wound up wringing it out and tying a knot in it at my waist, essentially transforming it into a pair of Ridiculously Short Shorts. In retrospect, I should have either worn tights or just gone with a pair of RSS and worn them with a pair of knee socks to protect my legs a bit.

My legs took quite a beating. I have scratches all over them, and my left knee got it pretty bad in that thorn bush. It didn't hurt, but for a while, I had blood running down my leg. I have to admit to thinking, "I hope other people are noticing this, because it looks bad-ass."

This race was the absolute definition of fun run. I don't think anybody came out expecting to finish strong or get a good time. There were a bunch of high school cross country runners out there, and I definitely felt good about keeping up with them. Towards the end of the race, I was running with a big group of people and we realized that we had somehow gotten off course - no red flags to be found. We kept on following the trails and finally found our way to the finish line.

And at the finish? Delicious, delicious beer.


Kent said...

Congrats on a kick butt, fun race where you confirmed your ranking as a tough mother. I am afraid my ranking is in jeopardy with a DNS due to today's injury. What a great race - I'd love the rustic nature -- sort of Jay's Marathon for Iowa but more doable...

Julianne said...

Wow, fantastic race report! You are so hardcore! Tthat one hill with the rope and volunteers sound crazy. But fun! Btw, what are these She-Hulks that you're talking about?

Nat said...

Oooooh that looks like so much fun!!!

Totally want to do this.

joyRuN said...

Wow! That race sounded completely bad-ass to go along with your bleeder :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I love trail races so much for many of the reasons you describe. I also love that you call your Brooks Cascadias the She-Hulks.

I call mine simply "The Hulks"

Anonymous said...

That is the most fun race report I've read yet. I want to run that race!

Congrats on surviving!

tfh said...

Sounds FUN! It also makes me feel like my trail races are weak in comparison because I've never had to use a ROPE for climbing. But now I understand that the girl wearing knee socks this past weekend wasn't just trying to look cute-- she was smart! Great job snagging the ribbon.