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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    St. Pete, FL

    "The Claw" race report

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    Warning--long post.

    So about 1 month ago I signed up for a 10 mile trail run. My training plan called for about a 10 miler and I really need trail time in preparation for Pikes Peak. I live in a mostly urban area and spend most of my time on the road. I have enjoyed doing the few 5Ks lately and thought I should dive in and do the 10 miler. As usual my training was off, mostly because I was training for a MS Bike Ride. So here it is time for 10 miles and I have NOT been running. And I knew that 10 miles on a trail would be harder than on the road...but I looked at finish times from last year and thought that at would not be last!

    So I don't know what trail runs are in your areas....I expected single and double track, knew there was a "stream crossing" and we were warned some areas were not really be "trails" but would be marked well. What I didn't realize was this was a challenging, obstacle-type, off road, off trail, get wet & dirty race. I was not totally prepared at all....

    So I drove there alone (as my partner in crime for these usual events was on a plane going north). Arrived in plenty of time. I did come prepared with hydration. I did NOT have my Garmin as it was froze up. So I would not have pace or distance, this disturbed me. I did check to see what mileage the water stations would be at and put that to memory to help me know approx mileage.

    The first couple of miles was the usual single and double track, so far so good, settling into a pace. Then first "stream" crossing, ankle to mid calf deep and not wide. Ok, I can do this. Then starts the UP & DOWN single track. Steep! We did that rabbling for awhile then across a field with grass waist high. The only "trail" thru that was the path beaten down by the previous runners that passed through here. Eventually we progress to more of a service type road service that wound up a tall berm. But to make it more fun they had us run up the side to the berm, run on path then run back down a few times. It was STEEP and TALL. (Pikes Peak preparation for sure). Did I mention it was humid and pretty warm and no shade?? Then a bit more up and down now on sandy, steep sections that required literally sliding down on my butt! Remember how you would get sand in your girly parts when you were a child and played at the beach? I was pretty sure I had dirt/sand in my girly parts as my running shorts are not that thick! To add more fun as we finally headed into the wooded areas it require climbing over or under limbs and trees. I even hit my head and I am only 4'10"!! And this is all in the first 5 miles! I was tired and found it very hard to run even on smooth surfaces. But I was halfway through....more trails, ups & downs, grassy fields. One of the "ups" was so steep and dirt so loose I really could not make it. I almost got there but was stuck (legs not long or strong enough) so I nice guy pulled me up! Then about mile 7+ another stream crossing. This one was wide and deep. For the average runner it was chest high. So I took off my fuel belt that housed my iPod and cell phone to hold up over my head. Took a few steps in the water and tripped on a rock and down I went. So much for keeping the electronics dry. (No I did not put my phone in a plastic baggie...yes, I know, what a dummy!). So it was up to my neck at one point, maybe this was really a tri! I must admit it was much cooler after I got out.
    The course became a bit less technical, but by then I was tired, my quads and calves shredded. Did I mention I was now running with my cell phone in one hand and the pack of the phone & battery in the other to help it dry out so maybe it would work again?! But I kept moving. I was being passed a bit more. All through out the race there were excellent and frequent markings of the trial with signs or orange ribbon. About mile 8+ come to an area and I realize I have not seen a marking for awhile. Now it is pretty much a single track and there does not appear to be anywhere else to go so I think that it is not marked since it's obviously a trail. BUT then I see group of people backtracking to me, so I join them and we head back to the last sign and it is pretty obvious this is the only way to go. However a few don't believe it and head out another way. Me and a few other go back and follow the path we thought it was...and it was!

    So after 2 hours and 21 minutes I finish the darn race! So I run mostly a 10:30 min mile for my long runs, sometimes longer, on a flat service without obstacles. So I am not too upset by my finish time. But it was HARD. At times I thought that Pikes Peak was easier (since for me it is mostly a power hike!). And at least it would be less humid on the peak!

    I was also unprepared for the "after race". Not sure why but I did not pack other shoes. What was I thinking?! And I now have light colored cloth seats in my new car and I did to bring a towel to sit on. Again, what was I thinking? Luckily I had reusable grocery bags in my trunk which I placed all over my seat. I removed my shirt and placed on the new t-shirt I had just earned. Took off my shoes an socks and drove barefoot (about 1 hour) home.

    Somewhere I missed that it was not just a "trail run" but an Xterra event and a true challenge! Maybe that is why it is called The Claw! I am exhausted. My legs are truly tried. But I did get cleaned up, have enjoyed a post run beer and my compression sleeves are on!

    But I did it! Will I do that race again? Hmmm, maybe, because now I have a time to beat!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Uncanny Valley
    Wow, what an adventure - yikes on it being an obstacle type race, way to keep your sense of humor about it! Nice job Kat.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Traveling Nomad
    Wow, katluvr, what a report! I cannot imagine! I think you did fantastic just to finish, and now that you know what it entails, sure, you can do it again MUCH better prepared next time.

    Thanks so much for writing it all down -- really enjoyed your report and felt like I was there with you!

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow



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