But last night's event was unique to local racing and pretty damn cool.
I bring to you: Eagle Endurance's "The Revenge of Stede Bonnet".
I stole this image from Eagle Endurance.
Always give at least a little backstory, ya?
"The #30dollarclub made me do it."
You'll hear this phrase more and more, not only from Heather and me, but many of our local running bud's too.
We race (or at least attend) enough Eagles Endurance events that the $30 per month more than pays for itself over the course of the year. We pay $30 a month and race any and all Eagle races. HUGE savings, and it also has the nice side effect of creating a pretty tight community of like minded idiots.
You should join. We have fun.
Camping and Running. Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter.
This race was held Octobeer 13th, 2018 at Biggin Creek in Monks Corner, SC. I spelled Octobeer like that on purpose.
Three different options were offered to racers. A 5M, which was one loop, a 15m of 3 loops and a 10hr of as many complete loops as you could finish in the allotted time.
Pretty cut and dry sounding ya?
Start time for all races was at 19:00. Which is 7pm in normal people speak. So it was dark. Not wicked dahk, but quickly getting there.
I had run this venue last Feb for The Almost 9 Miler. (I could have sworn I wrote a review on that, but I can't find any sign. Quick re-cap of that race-I got owned by some 14yr old, and basically everyone else on course.) But back to this race, I knew the course was pretty damn similar terrain to my Hulk with the same kind of twists, turns and short climbs, so I wasn't expecting a stellar performance, but did hope for at least 50k over my 10hrs.
Well, sometimes you gotta take one for the team. The details on why aren't mine to give, but I instead ended up setting out on the first lap with Heather's 10yr old kid, Kain, (Did I spell that right?) while Heather did her own race.
The new general plan was for me to run with the little spaz then kick it at camp with both the boys and crew for her as best I could.
We'll start with the first part of the plan: Running a race, at night, with a 10yr old.
Ever done it?
You should. Or at least you should with this kid. He didn't give a flying f*ck that it was dark as a pocket. I'm not even sure why he bothered with a lamp. He never seemed to use it. Any root or branch was just another fun feature to jump or duck. Every other person on course was a friend and a competitor. A constant monologue about nothing in particular with the occasional "For Grampa" streamed from him for five miles.
Kain and I spent the first ten to fifteen minutes picking people off. He'd come flying up on them, give them a friendly "On your left" than blow right by while offering some cheerful encouragement or talking about Minecraft or some random shiny thing.
Then, of course, the inevitable happened, he slowed down. Not to a crawl, but enough that everyone we had passed now passed us. We made a team decision to do a Run/Walk for the rest of the way based on how he was feeling.
He must have been feeling pretty good. Biggin Creek is windy and rooty. There are a few short little climbs that get your quads wondering what you're doing, and some of it is pretty technical.
He always seemed to walk the easy stuff though.
We finished the five miler in about 1:14:00. Not too shabby for a 10yr olds first Night Trail Five Miler. He actually ended up placing second in the Men's cat!
(We fully encourage the kids to skip the work-a-day races and go right for the good stuff.)
After celebrating a bit with the kid, it was time to concentrate on wifey.
She seemed to averaging about 1:05/1:10 a loop. Her second loop through (my first as Crew as I'd just run with Kain) all she needed was a Tailwind re-up, then she was gone. Next loop all she needed was a Stroopwaffle and a Tailwind re-up then she was gone.
It's now about maybe 11:30 and it feels like thirty damn degrees. I start freezing in my running gear so, like a sensible human being, I finally change into my sweats and my super awesome Camp Slippers! I'm finally a little warm, its actually only about 60 out, and I sit around at the Out of Bounds compound we seem to have at every race we go to chatting with our friends.
But duty calls so I head back up to the transition area (Start/Lap/Finish/Aid Station) to wait for my girly, this time with a bottle of Tailwind at the ready.
When she comes in from her fourth lap (20miles), I know she's going to need a little more than the Tailwind I'd brought. To my surprise, she asked me to pace her!
I used to love running with Heather, but she's gotten too strong of late and I cant hang.
I tell her this! "Hun, I'll run with you, but I'll slow you down". After confirming with me she was ok with this I had to go get out of my wonderfully warm sweats and back into my funky running shorts.
A few minutes into the course I see why she wants company. There's an obvious homeless camp set up just off trail. A Walmart mountain bike, tent, beat up chair and back-pack all set up nicey-nice.
I never got the feeling of being watched, but I certainly didn't want Heather running alone near this.
At this point we're doing a 3/2 Run/Walk. Thank god...my legs are shot from a bike ride early that morning and I'm not in running shape.
This kind sums up how I feel about running right now.
We have a reasonably uneventful lap this go-around. We might have seen an aardvark, or maybe it was an opossum. Basically we enjoyed being out running a 1am.
Lap 2 has bit of a backstory in itself.
After finishing my lap with the kid, most of us spent some time kicking around between the Start Line and our camp. On one of my walks back to the aforementioned camp I was triple Sea-Dog dared to run a lap naked. (To protect the not so innocent I won't say who dared me, lets just call him Mr. H)
I've been friends with Mr. H for a few years now, but I've been friends with some of you for a whole lot longer. Most of you know I'm happiest naked.
Reflective body paint. I need to lose weight.
I really enjoy running naked. I've done my share of UGHs and even a couple of Naked 5Ks. Wifey's been there for most of them, so I don't think she was least bit surprised when I warned the volunteers at the Start/Finish line, dropped trow and headed into the woods.
We ultimately only ended up passing one other runner this loop and Heather went first to give the poor fella plenty of warning. Coming into the Start/Finish Line I think my lamps blinded anyone that may have been (for some ungodly reason) offended by me being naked.
You may recognize this picture from one of my other awesome blogs.
Heathers' 7th, my 4th total lap: it's feeling a little chillier and we're going to be moving much slower now, which means clothes are now a smart option. Shorts on, shirt on, get some Tailwind in my bottle, food down my throat and off we go. It's about 2/2:30AM.
As nothing of real significance happened on this lap, I'm going to just express how awesome it was to be outside in the early morning running in the woods. Sorry Roadies, keep your marathons. I want to see the stars when I run. I want to hold my wife's hand while we're on a Walk. I want to take in the air and smell rotting trees, growing flowers and even the fetid mud.
Night Trail Running is awesome and this event captured all of that, as well as providing us with ultra food, great company, fun camping and a chance to hang with the #30dollarclub and many of our Out of Bounds friends.
We finished up our last lap around 4am, Heather ultimately winning overall!
All and all a great event. Step outside your normal running and give this kind of race a try. Better yet, come to South Carolina and race with us next year.
Thanks to Eagle Endurance and all of our usual suspects for an unforgettable weekend.