Saturday, June 2, 2018 was National Trails Day (always the first Saturday in June) and Fort Abraham Lincoln, south of Mandan, celebrates by hosting a 5k fun run/walk and a 15k trail run. This is the third straight year my Mom and I participated. She did the 5k and I did the 15k.
As I have talked about on here, I am in the middle of training for a 50k in South Dakota later this month. My “training” called for 20 miles this day. I decided to arrive to the 15k run early and run 6 miles, do the 15k and then finish out my mileage afterwards. The weather had been rainy, very windy and stormy the night before but Fort Lincoln let us know that the heavy rain had missed them.
I did my first large loop at about 7am while registration was opening. I ran the course backwards. The trail was in good condition, a little sticky in some parts but not muddy or slick at all. The day was very overcast, still windy and cool.
The best part of any run is seeing friends. Here I am at the start with Dana and Theresa. There was a very small turnout this year likely due to the weather. I believe 10 of us started.
We were off at about 8:15 and a few small sprinkles started falling. No big deal. As we climbed up and around, there was a photographer out on the course and they posted the photos on Facebook. The trail is awesome and has great views over the rivers nearby.
As we went on, the rain kept falling and coming down more steady. It never poured but it did not relent. The trail was mostly remaining dry in the tree / covered areas. As we got into the more open areas, it was slick. In many areas I choose to run on the grass instead of the trail and my feet quickly became soaked.
Here i am just keeping it weird! What a moron. Haha.
Now, going in to ANY race or event I never expect to finish first or even near the top. I absolutely consider myself a mid packer, definitely not fast but usually not the slowest. I always tell my husband I want to finish and not finish last. He tells me, well someone has to finish last. (Foreshadow in full effect.)
Above with my Black Hills running buddy, Dave. He is awesome.
Soon, I was also soaked. Everything. Even my hat was dripping. BUT, I knew everyone else was putting up with the same conditions. I told myself just don’t quit. The thing about trail running is you are alone a lot. Once bad thoughts start creeping in, it is hard to shut them up. I was becoming defeated and very frustrated by the slipping and sliding I was doing on the trails. It was really tense on my body and I could feel my muscles working in ways they don’t usually.
This was me leaving the start line and probably the last time I smiled. Haha. Just kidding, but I was a negative Nancy for a while there. With such a small field, it was easy to know my place and I was very certain I was in last place. I actually wanted to cry for a hot minute because I felt defeated.
I gave myself a pep talk right then and there.
- I’ve never rain in these rainy, muddy, windy conditions.
- I was coming off of a high mileage week (ran 26.2 the Saturday alone before!)
- I haven’t ran like this before with so many trails and miles back to back to back
- I wasn’t doing that bad
- Walking is OK
- Everyone is cold and wet
- Old me would have never ran in these conditions
- Any run outside is better than using the weather as an excuse to not start
- Reminded myself at least I’m not on at treadmill / it isn’t winter
- Hurry up and finish so I can see how my Mom did on her 5k
Here I am at the finish. The last lone horse out on the trail. There were 7 of us that finished. I was DEAD last (dang it!) but also the 3rd female so there is that? I always try to look on the bright side.
Quickly, I met up with my Mom and the other finishers. My Mom CRUSHED her 5k. She walks and did so well. She is quick! I told my Mom right off I wasn’t going to finish my miles (too wet and no spare shoes) and we went straight over to the showers so I could clean up and warm up. I wish I had taken a photo of my muddy legs after. Even after the shower, I had mud! So it was a fun experience after I reassessed everything at the end. I mean, I felt kind of bad ass running in that weather! 16 miles for the day was good enough that day.
Fort Lincoln seems to have my number. I have not ever ran strong out there. Last year, it was due to a self inflicted way too fun of a night the night before. This year, just tired and weather – not every run is A+ and the best ever. It happens! There is always next year or other events. After looking at my time, I feel it was OK for me considering. I’m always happy to just be out there.
Fort Abraham Lincoln National Trails Day 15k
This is from my Garmin:
1:39:12 | 9.64 miles | 10:17 pace