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

Monday recovery

This past weekend was spent hiking the trail system at Turkey Run State Park, IN.

Camping in a two person tent, and spot we were in was ample enough to host two big tents and two cars with electrical outlets to use. The majority of the days were hot, humid, and a beautiful cloudless blue sky.

Spending Friday morning setting up the campsite, and grabbing some snacks here and there in the likes of Doritos, veggie sticks, and of course my Docaff. Delicious, dark, and tastes incredible!

The camping area was huge! I mean it was full of RVs and not a single tent except for the five other couples we went camping with. RV camping was a sight to see. How they managed to park those gigantic things into a very tiny spot is beyond my amazement. Finesse, skill, and not having your neighbors yelling at you to not knock down their tarps, or tent lanyards go a long way to a good weekend of peace and quiet.

Quiet, silence, and hot nights are not synonymous to peaceful nights. A/C noises drowned out nature, and if they didn’t then there were a few yahoos with a blow horn keeping people awake, or waking people up in the am. Oh, well. It’s not like backpacking where you have to pay to camp at secluded spots in a National Park. Trust me, well worth the hike, effort, and patience to find the secluded silent spot.

The trails were groomed and well maintained. Engineered at some points then turned into regular dirt, and rocks. Taking a hike where a waterfall should’ve been, was strewn with slick boulders, and muddy. Not very technical, and within a certain part called the ice box, it was way cooler there than any other place. Caves, shallow ones were cool but not for camping. Possible for riding out a T-storm but that’s about it.

Eating – oh the benefits of being prepared. Friday night was provided by the Dixon’s- smoked BBQ pork. Homemade bbq sauce, and eaten on a bun, topped with coleslaw, and baked sweet potatoes. For dessert we had brownies, and ice cream that was made right at the campsite!

On Saturday, Paul, Kim, Gint, and Tina threw down with a serious breakfast of omelets, hash browns from-scratch, good Coffee provided by Sandra. Man oh man it was good! Now, on Saturday night Selene had prepared tinga at home and was just ready to be re heated –My Latina Kitchen

There was plenty of other food on the table with grilled salmon a lot of greens and a Quinoa salad….. oh, the full tummy and great company! We have to do this more often.

This was a very short period of time sharing life with people that enrich your life, laugh at corny jokes, and get very down to earth honest with the life stories we shared. From all walks of life, we came together not as friends but as family.

Well we are looking forward to next years outing, since it’s so much fun why just once a year? We’ll see…. ha!

Here we are – group pic…. say con Queso!

Magister Nosce