Congrats Kim. Another one down.
Starting out at 9 we met at the trailhead with Courtney, for Matt’s last course and Courtney’s 3rd to last. (I don’t know how to tag her in this )
(she ran the trail while Matt and I hiked )
Trail was great, weather was amazing.
So many mushrooms!!!
I took like a bagillion pictures but here is a few.
Found fresh ripe blueberries
Love me some trail snacks!!
Came across another challenge runner who recognized me Hello again! You were so quick didn’t catch your name
Victory pizza for Matt’s completion!
Obligatory mud pic
@mplank I realized a few minutes later that you would have no idea who I was, but yes, I recognized you from your posts here. Glad you guys had such a great time. I would love to know at about what mile mark you were able to find the blueberries. I have kept my eyes open for them but haven’t found them yet. One of the things that I miss out on in my hurry to run these is that I miss a lot of the little details and things you don’t notice unless you are paying more attention to your surroundings. I think it’s great that you are taking the time to take pictures and enjoy the time out there. I need to start doing that more myself.
Completed the blueberry challenge course thanks to Stephanie Mulinos who led the walk and another friend who came along for the fun. No running involved on this course. We took our time, it was muddy but it didn’t rain! Not my favorite course but got er done challenge is completed as well.
Another technical trail course today after yesterday’s Lime Hollow, which meant my legs were a bit tired .
My A goal: finish without getting hurt. B goal: run hard. C goal: find blueberries!
Well, read on to see how I did.
This was my ninth course and I had the most trepidation heading in because I heard it was a doozy.
The mud was consistently 4-6” thick, there were literally thousands of rocks, roots, and divots along the path, and by late summer, the trails were at times so overgrown they were near impossible to spot or push through (read: waist-high grasses and brambles).
However, it was perfectly meditative to concentrate on one step after the next. And the wildlife did not disappoint!
These cow friends were nearly blocking the path, and as I ran past, one led a stampede down the hill. Exciting and terrifying!
The mud was so deep there were literally pools within it containing frogs!
Farther down, it housed a toad:
Not pictured: a small garter snake that slithered under a bush when I got close.
The trail names were entertaining (especially hearing the RunGo voice lady say them). I used to live in the “South Slope” neighborhood in Brooklyn, so seeing this trail sign brought me back.
As for the C goal, I found wild blackberries in the first couple of miles.
It wasn’t until halfway that I found an area with low bushes and some (unripe) blueberries. Does it count if I didn’t get to eat them?
I also saw these nuts (?) strewn around the forest floor and would love it if some Challenger helped ID them!
The views were epic, especially in the long field near the end (mile 7 I think?)
As for my B goal: I ran as hard as my tired legs could carry me, and felt good about the effort.
And my C goal….I anticipated mud, so I took a “before” shot of my legs and shoes.
By mile 8.25, with a quarter of a mile to go, my legs weren’t looking too bad, but my shoes were definitely caked in many layers of mud. However, my poor tired legs couldn’t clear another root, and I went flying face first into some fantastic mud.
So the “after” shot does not even capture the full scope of mud (I.e. the entire front of my body, including arms and hands).
However, I don’t think any major damage was done aside from a little scrape to one knee.
Gonna call that a win!
Great report!! Way to crush your goals!
It sounds like an epic run, and it was indeed a treat to have running friends with which to share the movie.
I’m pretty sure the nuts you found were hickory nuts. Says the guy who lives on Hickory Road, and named that for a reason.
I almost didn’t recognize @Iris in the theater. All the mud had come off and she was wearing nice clothes like a grown up going out on a Saturday night. Neither of us chose to wear pink. There is a lot to like about the Barbie movie, but if there was ever a Runner Barbie, she didn’t get featured in the movie.
I’ve been out of commission with a stress fracture since the first week of summer, so no completing the Challenge for me this year, but now that I’m mostly recovered I wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity (one morning last week) to at least tackle the best trail course that’s part of it!
The temperature was decent, the air not too humid, and the ground (given the stories I’ve heard) relatively dry, so all things considered probably perfect weather. Some issues with unleashed dogs and redneck campers shouting racist slurs, reminding me that we are indeed still surrounded by reality, but I tried not to let that spoil an otherwise mostly pleasant morning.
This morning I found this course enjoyable to run bright and early by headlamp, starting around 4:15. I followed the RunGo prompts to make sure I didn’t get lost, but I’ve run here so many times I probably could’ve done without. Tons of mud following the recent rain, but nothing too terrible. The weather was great and I didn’t see anyone else out there. The sun was high enough for the last mile when I finished around 6:00 but I wasn’t in position to get a decent sunrise pic. 1 down, 9 more to go today
I’d been delaying this run after hearing many tales of the Mud in the first half of the challenge period, planning to try for a day following several dry days. Cut to end of summer following my foot-injury-enforced pause for all of July, and I had to stick this run in my mileage- & difficulty-based challenge-finish schedule and hope for the best.
The odds were not in my favor. It rained earlier in the day.
I decided to make the best of it, and plan to get muddy. I wore a pair of older, technically retired shoes I keep around for just such purposes, and set off determined to stick with my plan.
I had a blast the first half. I skirted the mud as best I could but gave in pretty quickly to the inevitable, and embraced my inner kid-splashing-through-the-mud-puddles.
This was only about halfway! But still after at least one full-foot-submersion.
I loved running along the pond and watching frogs leap out of my path into the water every few feet, as well as all the bridges and streams.
In the second half, the mud started to become more tiresome. I’d underestimated how much time navigating the mud & vegetation would add to my time, and my light was disappearing at a pace much quicker than I’d have preferred. I was VERY happy I’d thought to bring my headlamp, just in case, as I carefully navigated that last mile through the mud & trees.
The view from the cow pasture was GORGEOUS in the twilight, though.
This run was definitely the hardest one so far, but I finished it, despite having to literally hose my shoes off when I got home! And it’s left me with just 2 runs left to go, the shortest & the longest. 14 miles away from finishing the challenge!
Well Done!!! I agree, this is the hardest one in the whole challenge but I love it! It is so beautiful!
It took me almost as long as our Ludlowville run! And left me WAY sore-er. But it’s a REALLY cool, highly-technical run!!!
I didn’t have time to write these up over the weekend (will put one in Lakefront Loops shortly), but I had a lot of fun closing up the series with a trail run and a 5k. On Saturday morning, I headed out to do the Blueberry Patch course before the weather got too hot. This was my last course to complete the challenge, and from the times I saw, I thought I had a good chance of picking up a substantial amount of points given my experience with trails.
It seems like very few people got a chance to run this course without substantial mud, and I was not one of them. While much of the beginning was dry, large swaths of the course were dotted with swampy sole-sucking sections determined to part shoe from foot.
Most of the mud was in short sections though, with dry spots between where you could get momentum.
Thus I worked in a trick to just not lose inertia in the slop, and did a sort of “mud dance” when I hit them, quick stepping with high cadence so that I would never be pushing down very hard into the muck. I picked this up in cross country races where often the turf is too soft to get much energy return from it.
This seemed to work decently, and even when I hit the sloppiest sections, I was only adding 10-15 seconds per mile on what worked out to be roughly 7:35 pace on the downhill first half.
The other worry I had was going off-course and losing time. I was carrying my phone (brand new…eek) in my hand, keeping an eye on the run-go map to make sure I was always on course. Happily, I never plopped it into the slop, and I kept to the course. I did have to come to a near stop in a few spots to make sure I had it right, but mostly it was simple to navigate. In the second up-hill half I slowed down quite a bit, but was still able to stay in the mid 8’s to get back home. I knew I had Nora’s incredible 1:07 and change in my sights, but the over 8 minute miles were adding up, so I wasn’t sure I was going to take 1st on the course. I gunned it best I could toward the end when the road was near, and came in just a hair ahead, at 1:07:33. Any slower on those darn gates and I would have missed it.
Since I took first on the course by a fair amount on the other guys, this gave me effectively over 100 points, since it pushed other runners down on that count. If I had a few more seconds, I might have gone into second on the board at this point, but as it was, I was 0.13 points behind Andy Klepack, which is frustratingly close…I would have been happy to just leave it there were it a matter of 5-10 points. I had one other soft performance in the 5K, so I decided if I was feeling okay in the morning I would run a tempo-ish Lakefront Loops on Sunday.