Holy Rocks & Tree Roots!

My First Experience With a Technical Trail Race

This will be a play by play of my first true (dirt, wild, rocks, tree roots, mud, things that go bump in the night or day) trail race. Sander’s Saunter, Clinton Lake, Lawrence, KS

0400: Wake up, coffee, let dogs out, brrrr it’s cold. More coffee. Dress in layers, 28 or so degrees with a ferocious wind. Do I really want to do this? Yes, yes-friend is expecting me-facebook message last night remember? Dammit, why do I have to be such a dependable person?!

0630: Jump in vehicle. All systems are go. Full tank of gas-yay! Drive to meeting spot. Periscope live broadcast as I go with rant about superficial people.

0715: Arrive at destination-Target parking lot. I sit. I wait. I rant. Life is peculiar. I am warm in my warmly heated vehicle. I wait.

0730: Friend shows up. We chat. We pull out of parking lot. I follow. LONG drive. Toll booths & such. An hour or so. I need to pee. I need to pee bad.

0830ish: Arrive at destination. Clinton State Park, Lawrence, KS. The need to pee intensifies. I spot his/hers johnny rooms. Door locked to hers-dammit! I must pee bad. Pee behind facilities? No-too many cars, not enough coverage. Men’s potty empty. Yes, I use men’s potty. Nasty. Men’s potty stinks. Someone crapped in urinal and stool overflowing with poop & tissue. Dammit-I pee anyway or bladder will rupture. I pee for many minutes…or so it seems.

0845: What a relief. I walk normal now and not like pregnant woman. Now I must wait. Pick up bib/shirt. Stand by fire. Brrrrrr…cold. Chat with friend & pet dogs. Drink hot chocolate.

0900: 25k racers take off. I stand by fire & drink more hot chocolate. Take shirt to vehicle & take selfie with friend. 12243044_10208130134317241_764882618536762374_n

Great guy, encouraged this trail race. He is trail race beast. Runs with dog Athena. Stand around fire some more.

0930: 10k racers take off-me included. Limbs still cold. I am cold. Nose is running. Trying to pace myself and not fall down. Rocky downhill, steep uphill to Sander’s mound. Run around bench & head back down.


Mile 1: Where is it? Seems to take forever. Rocks, tree roots. I pass a few runners. A few pass me. Mile one…finally. A 9:something minute mile. I run-mostly alone. Mile 2 comes & goes. Three guys pass me. Many, many uphills/downhills & roots/tree limbs/rocks to hurdle over.


Mile 2.78: First fall. Right toe catches tree root. Down I go -starboard. I get up. No one saw it-yay! I forge on. I get tired. SO many rocky hills! I reach halfway point & slurp down Gatorade. I keep moving.

Mile 4.68: I fall again, hard this time-starboard side again. Girl behind me helped me up. Right hip & left knee hurt. I forge on.

Mile 5 something: I trip & fall again. Starboard side…again. Face plant right side. Right quad hits tree root…ouch. No one around. Third times the charm. I lay on back a minute. I get up. I forge on. SandersSaunter-2015-5917-M

I feel like Rocky-I get knocked down, but I get back up. I pass volunteers telling me where to go. Must hit Sander’s mound again. The worst is behind me. Or so I think. More up hills. More rocks. I walk some. Six miles…really? Seems like 20.

Finish Line: I see finish line-yay! So glad to be done. I finish in 1:10:something. 11:something pace. That messed with my head. Oh yeah, this was a trail race. I wait for my friend to come through with dog.


Dog is beast and so is friend. They finished four minutes after me. I thought I was way ahead. I guess not. Oh yeah-technical trail race.

Takeaway: Technical trails are not for wimps or sissies. Hardest race of my life. Wearing Hoka street shoes was not the smartest thing to do. I fell a lot. Over dressing was not the smartest thing to do. I got hot. Going in with the mindset to race is unrealistic. I wore out.  Just enjoy the journey. Very well organized. Very nice people. Will I do it again? Not any time soon, but yes, I will do one again-with proper shoes, proper outer wear, and a proper mindset.


Until We Meet Again,


2 Thoughts

  1. Kudo’s for trying something new, now that you did that don’t you want to try and obstacle race with me? Lol. Same type of terrain. I suggest looking into some good trail shoes with good lugs if you are going to continue these types of races. Also nice time for a trail race.

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