The Mizuno Cabrakan
“Psycho Psummer” Run Toto Run
50K & 15-Mile Trail Run
Quite a title, but quite a race. This past Saturday I was lucky enough to find myself at Wyandotte County Lake park at 7:15am with intentions on running it.
The race morning starts as usual – finding a place to park, packet pick up, milling about, etc! The mug I got and the tech shirt were great looking! The mug is now my work coffee mug.
Anyway, the 112 50kers started at 8:05am according to my watch and after some notes from the race directors they blow the horn and they’re off. Exactly 30 minutes later, the 214 of us left over got another quick set of instructions from the race directors and we were off as well. One of the instructions did mention a split in the race ahead… a left that was faster, and a right that was drier. HAH. This turned out to be a pretty moot point. Well, somehow I ended up in the right lane; I think I subconsciously was going to avoid mud/wet shoes… if I only I knew then what I would shortly encounter. The “right split” ended up just being a very short jaunt up a hill, to a small plateau and back down to the main course where I was joined up with the other runners that I had just split with. I think the purpose of this split was probably just to ease some congestion.
Well with that out of the way, the first part of the race seemed “easy” I suppose. Quite fun with the normal trail terrain of roots, rocks, water crossing (with stepping stones), avoidable mud, everything going smoothly, and really just felt great to be in the woods. Not too far into the race, I came to something quite fun… a huge section of mud that there was absolutely no way around… and I simply had no choice but to charge right through. Made a huge splash dousing myself and likely the person behind me with a healthy dose of mud. Well that was fun after all! Directly after that there was a short stint “outside” in a field instead of in the woods, and then after about 2 miles there was a full aid station. There was watermelon, banana, water, sports drink… and that’s all I really took in – but it looked like there was a lot more… I didn’t stay long and headed back into the woods.
After the first aid station, the field really thinned out. I could just see the person in front of me, and no one behind me. This was quite nice for a while. Eventually I caught up with 3 other runners and we kept a pretty tight pace for a while, slowing on the uphills and even walking some, but the course was still (relatively) easy at this point and we did keep a fairly harrowing pace… felt good! At the same time however — it was hot and I was feeling pretty winded (but, I always feel winded during a race since I’m pushing myself) — but I was keeping hydrated by sipping early and often (at least I thought?)
Ok, so, somewhere in here we hit another aid station and I decided to partake a little bit more this time. I filled up my water, had some banana which I smeared peanut butter on (YUM!!), had some watermelons, bananas, some more watermelons and then some more watermelon. So then I head over to go back in the woods where the brush is so overgrown that I can’t see my feet… it looks like a tunnel or something… and a runner is entering at the same time as me… he says “after you” as I head in, and I nearly wipe out as I trip on something and go flying. How I caught myself I dunno, but it sure gave him a scare as he said “WOA!!!” and slowed so much I never saw him again.
I was alone now and feeling very refreshed from the aid station. I believe that must have been the aid station at 5.23 miles. Also, the staff there was great. So helpful and accommodating! I ran for a while. Feeling good. Still quite winded, but good.
I think this part is where the “BoyScout trails” start, but I’m not sure. After a short run on the road we entered the woods to the right, and began an out and back section that wound back and forth and back and forth like amusement park waiting line corrals. Here the trail was quite rough. There was no mud or water or obstacles really, but the trail was not level at all… it was all at an angle so that my feet never hit the trail flat but just pounded my ankles into oblivion. There was also a section with so many rocks and roots on the trail that I literally tripped for at least a quarter mile, was just falling forward. Here, I hate to say, I actually was pissed for a minute and not having fun. After 2 miles of this (8 Mile to 10 Mile) trail that was slanted sideways I exclaimed outloud to myself “$#&^$&# #*&$*#$ when will this be over!?” Well this section did end, and I exited those trails right where I had entered and headed down a hill on an asphalt path. This was a welcome relief. I think it was here too, that I could hear a band playing through the woods. This was kind of odd, because even though I’m quite used to a band at races… this wasn’t my typical race… and I was in the middle of the woods… but here’s some band playing…
And here, at 11 miles we have a problem. I’m feeling “ok” as I vault over some obstacles and pass a runner heading back into the woods. I feel a twinge in my right calf. Crap! I know that twinge. It’s the onset of muscle cramping and that spot is my problem child. Well that is a bad bad bad feeling for me… so I’m a little disappointed so I decide to stop and walk for a bit. Well ok, actually I had no choice because after a couple turns, the course goes straight up a hill where there is no path to speak of. Just a few ribbons tied to trees letting me know that yes, this is the right way… straight up the hill. I think I was on all fours going up that one.
At the top of the hill thankfully is an aid station. I would tell you what I had but its kind of blurry. I think I stopped for a good minute or two though and really tried to refuel. Are bananas good for cramps? Water? I dunno… But it is HOT and I’m definitely giving my body the ol’ 3-4.
I head back out. I’m getting some more cramp scares, so I’m taking it easy, but still “running” with lots of walking interleaved as well. Here soon I reach the Wyandotte Triangle. Here, I run with two other guys after another quick refuel, and we take turns taking the lead for a bit before we kind of all 3 wander off on our own pace. According to my watch the triangle was miles 11.77 – 12.59. After coming out of this I hit the last “full aid” station. I grabbed what I tought was grape poweraid off the table, but it was Coke! That was a big surprise but it tasted good! I got some more fruit, failed to fill my water bottle, and headed off. A guy there at the aid station was asking “how much further?!” my legs were asking the same question.
Soon after leaving this aid, my water is dry, and my legs are cramping bad. The trail here is quite rough, some of the worst (or best?) mud of the day… and LONG sections of it too. Now both calves are cramping and now… both quads are complaining too. The leg position that helps the calf puts the quad in jeopardy, and the leg position that gently stretches the quad puts the calf in jeopardy. I’m pretty much confined to walking, although I do a little bit of easy running here and there when I can, or when the trail is flat and dry (not often). There’s some water, and I see Dick Ross. He said something along the lines of “you look good” – HAH. If only he knew.
Well then it comes to a straight away where you can see at least a quarter mile of mud. Somewhere in here, near the end, my right leg becomes stuck in the mud and as I try to pull it out, it cramps… so, so, hard. All I can do is grab it in agony and wait for the pain to subside. It must have lasted at least a minute because two people caught up to me that were also walking down this mud straight away. The second runner I think is a 50ker. She has a bag full of goodies for which I gratefully accept two salt pills. She says, “here, take these with some water” I gobble them both down gratefully with some spit, as see… remember I had drained my water bottle and failed to fill it. I was too embarrassed to admit that I had no water. Was this why I was cramping so bad? Probably… but to my credit… I did drink at least 4 fills of my bottle, one of which was the succeed drink and three that were water… in addition to tons of watermelon and some succeed drinks at the stations too.
Well I’m basically walking the rest of the way I think, after *that* cramp. Running oh so slowly when I think its absolutely safe. And there is yes… one more “water only” station. I’m so thankful for this one. I fill up, and probably 200 yards down the trail after had drank most of my bottle. Oh well! I can smell the finish line.
The finish is across a couple of open fields away and I take it at a slow, slow, slow run. I’m just scared for my legs. One more cramp and I might be leaving on a stretcher I fear.
It’s funny, as I’m coming in… I feel great really, even the ‘ol legs don’t feel too “tired” just crampy! And some people are cheering me on… in my slow slow slow run… but even then I have to stop to walk. I know they are probably like WTF why is he walking the finish line is RIGHT THERE. Well… I had no choice. I was just doing what my legs dictated. During this open field I even passed two people, so … I know I’m not the only one beat.
Well there it is. I cross the finish line and I’m really elated… its been a great day and a great run. I just can’t imagine going for another loop. Really? I wish I was that trained up! If my legs weren’t absolute GARBAGE at this point I would have loved to. Ok… maybe not. I say that now… but at the time I was REALLY glad to be done.
Then Ben Holmes says to me, “need to fill your bottle?” and hands me an ICE COLD PABST BLUE RIBBON! I say “absolutely” as it dawns on me what I’m being handed! That was by far, the best Pabst Blue Ribbon I have EVER had. SOOOOO good. Thanks for that one!!!
I stuck around for a little bit, got some great eats and chatted a little bit but mostly I was just proud of finishing and my muddy legs.
That was Saturday. As the week has worn on, I’ve slowly recovered the use my legs, realized I had two purple toe nails, discovered some poison ivy on my lower shin, some cuts etc.
Before I ran the race I hinted at a friend of mine several times that I was running this race as I thought he might want to as well. I regularly see him at the local Half-Marathons and 5ks, etc, and I knew he had run this one before. Well on Monday I told him about the race and he told me Saturday he had been painting. As he was up on the ladder his wife asked him, “Hey, you know your legs are really scarred up down here from all the running you do.” To which he replied “Those are just from one race… the Psycho Psummer last year.”
I think he was right; I could have some scars next year too. But if all goes well, I plan on going back!
Finished in 3:23:12…
Here’s the Garmin: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/39912001