Saturday, June 3, 2017 was National Trails Day and to celebrate, Fort Abraham Lincoln (south of Mandan) held their annual 15k Trail Race and 5k Walk/Run. My Mom and I participated in this event in 2016 and this year she again did the 5k walk and I did the 15k run.
My day started out early, with a wake-up call at about 5:30 am which seemed even earlier as I had been out late the night before with my husband. The weather was super nice and some patio happy hour drinks turned into several hours. Whoops. But, I’m not exactly a serious/elite/going to win this event runner so it’s OK. Sure, I might have performed better if I behaved myself, but I would have missed out on a fun night with him. I traveled the 40 minutes to my Mom’s house and we left Washburn at about 6:30, getting to Fort Lincoln at 7:30. This gave us plenty of time to register for the 8:15 15k start and 8:25 5k start. The commissary/gift shop has a great little coffee store as well if you need a morning caffeine fix before your run.
I haven’t been to a lot of races and I am definitely not a seasoned runner. However, I can tell you I really LOVE this event as it is always small (I like) and family friendly. The staff is awesome here. They really put on a great event. You don’t get much for swag but entry is only $10!! I’ll gladly pay $10 for the views on this run.
I also got to meet an Instagram friend, Parker, aka, PJScott22, who was also doing the 15k! Great job, Parker and thanks for saying hello! At the finish I also saw running friend Dustin and introduced myself to Theresa. One other person I chatted with was Andrea and we realized we knew each other from a trail run in Washburn the year prior. The running community is small and friendly! Everyone did great on this warm morning.
Here I am with a couple gals right behind me. I actually totally biffed it this run. I saw a rock, told myself to step over it and just biffed it. I caught myself on my hands and it was in a sandy area so I only got dirty, not hurt. Andrea and her friend were kind enough to check on me though and offered to walk with me if I needed.
The event starts with the first mile pretty much uphill about 200′ or so. Then you get on a loop and repeat that one time to reach 15k. There are water stations throughout and a photographer was there who took a few of these photos and then posted them to Facebook so that is really nice to have these memories. The run was warm. There was a breeze that day but in some of the treed and sheltered areas, it was quite stiffling. North Dakota really kind of went from 40 degrees to 80-90 degrees so I haven’t had much time to get accustomed to warmer running. I generally run at about 4:30 a.m. before work when it is nice and cool. And I haven’t had a billion beers the night before! This is coming into the finish past the gift shop at the park – you can see it is quite dry in North Dakota and I was a sweaty and dirty mess afterwards.
My Garmin stats read 9.59 miles | 1 hour 31 minutes 45 seconds (9:34 pace) | 949′ elevation gain (last year it read like 784′ gain so something was off – 784′ seems more realistic). My first mile was the slowest and my third the fastest. I think overall I am happy with the results. The main goal is to finish healthy and happy so achievement, unlocked. I was hoping to be under 1hr 30min and I think if I had behaved the night before, it might have happened. I have very little experience running trails due to running early in the morning and not having access to much elevation where I live. That said, I LOVE a trail run, being with nature and focusing on each step. The path is pretty much all off road – some areas a bit rocky, some sandy, some quite narrow and some just grassy. It is hilly and adventurous for this flat lander. I walked a few times (no shame) and stopped a couple times for water and a photo.
I finished my run very sweaty and salty and with one woodtick crawling on me. My Mom was waiting for me at the finish where she killed her 5k walk. She always impresses me! We were happy to use the comfort station at the park so we could shower and head into Bismarck to shop the day away. Thanks so much to Fort Abraham Lincoln for another fine event.