Fall / Winter Trail Racing

Well coming off the trails in Wisconsin we dialed in our trail running skills in Palos Park Trail System once more to keep our momentum going. Running more than 10 miles on the trails while being more efficient and effective on our running speed and cadence. We had a few new runners for this late fall race in Galena, IL Oct/19.

On this weekend we had the option of three distances. A 5k, 10k, or half marathon. Five of us raced the half while four more raced the 5k. Nicely groomed trail, and almost flat and shaded. Late warmer temps had runners shed their outer shells and ran fairly fast on this little trail.

Coming from the Northwoods with minimal rest and recovery I thought I could tackle this 1/2 marathon without skipping a beat. Well, not so fast my body was telling me very early on. Half marathoners staged first on this 27F morning and I was not a happy camper. Cold, and feeling very stiff we started our run. Sun was peeking out between he trees only teasing us with some light and zero warmth.

My hat, shell, and gloves stayed on when we hit a few icy bogs on the trail and knew right away that this was gonna be a rough one if I hit these bogs, and I’d feel colder if I did. Not my ideal running situation while I was just getting warm. Well, to no avail with runners somewhat tightly situated on the trail some of us hearty souls took one for the team and sloshed through those bogs and kept on cruising. Feeling cold, it took me to the 10k mark to finally shed my shell and stash it in my pack somewhat.

The shell stayed on my shoulder straps and it would not budge. Upon shedding the shell I began to feel my Right IT bad fire like crazy. No build up of discomfort or indication of hip tightness at all just boom! Here I am big boy! Whatcha gonna do!? Well, I continued to run, walk, stretch, and repeat that process around a half dozen times to stretch and curse my tight hips, all the while I hydrated to stem any possible cramping that may arise from this. I thought long and hard about just walking the rest of the distance, but I was not gonna give in and just walk.. I made up my mind that I would finish regardless of my discomfort.

I made it back to the start line and knew I had 5k left. Regardless of the hobble, shuffle, and pain I would not stop to stretch until I crossed the Finish line. When I did finally cross that line I was fatigued, and in pain. We took our medals, some pics, and then I tried to walk a few steps (26 total) to the top of the bridge / sidewalk to grab some food when at the first ten steps I took my body lit up like lightning bolts on both IT bands bilateral knees and hips. My body was having none of this stair climbing nor walking in general. So, what did I do? Heck I walked with Nene next to me for 800m to the restaurant and finally sat down to drink as much coffee as possible not caring about anything else except that there was food coming my way and I could relieve my pain with copious amounts of coffee until we walked 1200m back to the car and head back to the hotel to take a Hot bath. Purchased epsom salt, and Skor chocolate to take the edge off. Yes, cho-co-late! My pain killer of choice.. I have my type of meds and you have yours. 😛

Post bath what would any sane human do? I’m not sane so we went to a distillery that a friend referred me to and had an adult drink. Man did it hit the spot. No, not buzzed just felt the warmth inside that was missing and we headed back to the the hotel and then grabbed some food. Time well spent.

Would I do this race again? You bet! I love Galena, and plenty to do there. This year we’ll sty a bit longer and have great time to enjoy the festivities they have after the race. Halloween weekend with parade, and costume contest to be had.

L-R- Gio’s Wrecked Runners
Eleni, Tom, Nene, me, Aurora
L-R: Gio’s wrecked runners
Aurora, Eleni, Mark, Nene

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