2009 Summer Intro 5k Trail Run

June 20 – (was it really just this past weekend?) I ran my first 5k TRAIL run. I had no idea how much fun this was going to be!

Ok… for starters… I went out with my neighbors the night before to a Jazz/BBQ/Wine event at the local winery. This was a pretty enjoyable evening as you can probably imagine. During conversation with my neighbors we’re talking about races and I mention that why yes in fact there is one tomorrow! I had kinda sorta maybe thought about showing up to it, but hadn’t really committed one way or the other. I believe the registration was that morning only… so you didn’t have to plan ahead anyway. Well my friend indicated he’d like to go run it too! He’s been interested in the running and – lo and behold – I had my new iphone… so… we checked out the website right then and there. He was immediately hooked, as he’s an outdoorsey sort of fellow anyway and on the front page of the race website there’s a bunch of folks running through the woods and a nice dead raccoon… cool!

So… we managed to not drink too much wine and we both set out in the morning to Wyandotte County Lake Park. With a starting time of 9am and an entry fee of $8 – this race was impossible to pass up. Not to mention the web site for the race – really touted it well:

This is not your typical “Psycho” course. (Slightly neurotic, maybe).

This is truly a good “intro” to the Summer season and the perfect intro to Trail Running.

No major hills, no major mud if it rains, and a fast and completely new and runnable course that you haven’t run on before.

This would be the perfect course for a trail running beginner or children, too. It’s a fun family event, but also a very fast and competitive race, right up to the finish.

That description / appeal effectively nullifies any remaining complaint or excuse to not go!

But of course I was glad to… ran into a friend of mine that I also saw last weekend at the “On The Run 5k” in Lansing (more on that later maybe?). It was a little busy but we got registered in no time.

They annoucned shortly before the race that there were 106 registrants, compared to last year’s 62. They seemed quite pleased with the turnout and it was quite apparent the crowd was in excellent spirits… everyone excited for the run and I imagine quite a few that were there for their first trail race (me) or their first ever race (my neighbor).

As the ready set go was called we made a short loop in the parking lot – presumably to add a little mileage and to thin out the field a little bit. As we came back around and entered the woods the race became a trail run! It was a little slow at first, basically a mass of people single filing into the woods on a path — but as we neared about the .4 mile mark or so it thinned out enjoyably and the trail became pretty diverse. There were sections of mud, fallen trees to vault, limbs to duck, hills to climb, roots to avoid, downhills to slalom, spiderwebs to dodge, gravel fire roads to marvel. Thanks to my neighbor coming – I was quite able to enjoy it all very nicely as I was running with him at a very relaxed pace. Oh, we did get a workout I’m sure and there were some fairly serious up hills – but nothing too daunting. I enjoyed the trail and all of the pleasant people quite thoroughly.

As for the rest of the race there was a turn-around spot with a water spot that wasn’t quite half-way and then back into the woods for the rest of the trail race. The finish was in the open back at the start. I believe I finished about 30:17. The slowest 5k I’ve ever run, but also quite possibly the most enjoyable! Also at the end my friend and I ran into another inidivual who was videoing the run. He runs a blog, smartly named “Kansas Isn’t Flat“, and posted the video to another site new to me, runcast.tv.

One thing’s for certain… that won’t be my last trail run… the KC Trail Nerds have quite a website and quite a number of upcoming events. Not sure if I can make the Psychopathic 5k this weekend, or the 15 miler (and 50k) coming up — which I would love to do that one (the 15 miler!). But sooner or later I think I’ll be able to fit a few of these into my schedule.

Now to get some trail shoes!

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