Sunday, May 27, 2012

Free State Trail Marathon (KS) State #23

Lawrence, KS April 21, 2012
State #23

Trail Marathon

My original plan was to run the 100k race at this event but with both ileopsoas injuries and a calf strain, my running mileage was quite low after the New Orleans Marathon. One week before the race I emailed the race director to drop down to the marathon distance, he granted my request no problem.

I flew from Milwaukee into Kansas City, MO and rented a car for the hour drive West to Lawrence. This ended up being the same weekend as a big NASCAR race in the area, as well at the Garmin Marathon in nearby Olathe, KS (pronounce Olathie). I had no real travel issues and made good time to downtown Lawrence where race packet pick up was at the local running store. About 1 block away was an outfitter where I bought a fuel canister for my jetboil as I was camping at the state campground near the race start. Once I got my campsite setup I drove the few minutes back into town for dinner and some interwebs to check on some school work that was going through some final end of term editing. Dinner at a chain pasta place with desert and internet at Starbucks.

I headed to bed early in my tent in the quiet and relatively empty campground. Race morning always comes early.

And then the fun began. A group of campers showed up about midnight and set up 2 sites away from me, proceeding to start a campfire and drink for several hours. Of course I had left my ear plugs in my car, thinking I was in for a nice quiet night. But before going to my car I first had to listen for a bit to see if I was in any danger of harm from them if I were to get out of my tent and attract attention with my headlamp. After getting my earplugs with only minimal noise control, probably an hour later I finally got out of my tent to yell at them. “At least pretend that you are trying to be quiet” seemed to do the trick. But the damage was done, I was out 3 hours of sleep in the middle of the night. I accidentally bumped my car horn several times as I pulled out of my camp spot heading to the race at 5am.

What I found out later that the “right thing to do” was to call 911 to report the noise. Really?!? I work in an industry where 911 is overused, abused, and misused. It did not occur to me to take that action. I was thinking where is the camp host that is nearby? Where is park ranger? Why is the park open for new guests at midnight anyway?

I had also decided I wasn’t going to spend a second night there, and on my phone, as they partied next door, changed my flight for the afternoon after the race, one day early. Ugh.

The race ended up being amazing single track trail in the woods along the edge of the lake for most of the race. Due to the significant leaf coverage GPS watches were off quite a bit as well and this threw me a little. My effort was feeling like 9:30-10 min miles on the trails but Garmin read most of the time 12 min miles, making me feel like I was really struggling for some reason. Nope, turns out the GPS was 2 miles short by the end of the run and I ended up finishing as 3rd female overall. This NEVER happens.

Great race, great single track trail running. Turns out there are hills in Kansas!!!  If I need Kansas again for a state I would do this one again!!!!

All photos were provided to the participants from the race photographer

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