The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
This morning I ran the Wholly Hell 15K with Muddy Monk. Temperature and humidity wise this was my hottest/most humid run to date so I was really nervous going into it, especially after bonking at the Sporty Frog a few weeks earlier. I've been watching the weather forecast
The trail preview pics Muddy Monk posted looked they would have us under tree cover though, so gradually, I got less nervous. And when my husband decided to run with me, I went from nervous to excited!
The race was held at the Lakewood Forest preserve, and let me tell you - it was amazingly gorgeous. I think it was my favourite trail that I have run on yet; mostly through the forest with tree cover, with daisies blooming and a lush green forest... It was 3 loops, each about 3.2m so about a third of a mile further than 15K.
The race started at 10 promptly and we were off; the first third of a mile slow because we were single filing it until the creek crossing. After that the trail widened and my husband and I were off...ish. Right off the bat he was really struggling with the heat. It hurt to see him pushing so hard but on the other hand it also made me realize that as much as I struggle with heat, I've made more progress than I thought since I was feeling really good. Close to the mile 3 marker, he tripped over a root and hurt his toe - bad. It's okay though, because the loop ended with a good vertical climb - and I don't mean incline, I mean climb:
Note the hands on the side of the track we were climbing...this was no joke!
It took us almost 40 minutes to get through the 3.2 loop. My husband persevered through a second, but it was pretty clear - he was done :( I was worried about his foot, because his toe was really bugging him every time the incline or decline changed (which on some very rolling hills, was often) and he was looking haggard.
I have no idea what prompted the expression on my face here! Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk.
At the end of the second loop, he decided he had to cut it short. I went on to do my final loop on my own; my fastest loop of around 37 minutes. I was able to pick up the pace and passed pretty much everyone who was on their last loop, because I still felt pretty fresh. Which was nice, but weird. It helped that there was a lot of sun cover I think, and the trail was wickedly gorgeous, although technically very challenging for me (creek crossings, lots of single track trail, tons of roots so needing care to watch your footing, and the steep climb - which by the way, I told the RD during our first loop that he was evil and sadistic for the ending the loop with that, LOL!). I think this was my favourite trail yet - although, I was happy to be done!
Finished! Photo courtesy of Muddy Monk.
After was weird though. I felt fine while running but got really light headed afterwards. Weird! :( This was also my slowest run in a very long time. I felt really bad for dragging my husband out; the heat with how challenging the course was was just...too much I guess. But it's done, and I'm closing out week 2 of training for the Chicago Marathon!
And then there were 6! Halfway to a full set!