When is an ultra run like a prize fight?

13 Oct
A face plant on the second lap of the course gave Barb a black eye and a swollen lip, plus several other bruises.

A face plant on the second lap of the course gave Barb a black eye and a swollen lip, plus several other bruises. This photo was taken the day after the race.

If the weather is nearly perfect, and the trails are dry, the light is good and there are no obstacles per se, how does a trail runner come out of a race looking like she’s gone through a 10-round prize fight?

It’s those pesky tree roots on a narrow single-track trail. At least that’s the story my wife, Barb, is offering.

Barb was looking for an extra challenge as her 50th birthday approaches in early 2014. After I did a 50-mile trail run earlier this year, I suggested she try an ultra — and she bit.

She thought 50 kilometers (31 miles) was crazy enough, so she decided to run the Farmdale Trail Run, which includes a 30-miler. To make it a 50K, she added a 1-mile jog before the race even began.

Due to the federal government shutdown, the race was moved in the last week to Jubilee College State Park, which is located just north of Peoria, Ill. The original site was supposed to be just south of town, but Farmdale is operated by the Corps of Engineers.

There were a few showers in Peoria before the race started, but when we arrived at the park, the trails were dry, and the conditions were really perfect for a run.

The course was mostly under tree cover, single-track and — although there were some steep sections — along rolling hills.

Barb wanted to complete the run in under 8 hours, and she kept up a very steady pace and met that goal, finishing in about 7 hours, 43 minutes.

The biggest challenge was staying on her feet, but she wasn’t alone. Despite the nearly perfect conditions, there were a number of tree roots on the single track, and if you weren’t careful, it was easy to snag a foot. I noticed an inordinate number of runners who came across the finish line with their shirts covered in dirt or their arms and legs covered with trail rash.

But I think Barb got the prize for the day. She fell at least once on every lap, and she did an epic face plant on her second lap and rolled into a log. That resulted in several bruises, plus a swollen, black eye and a fat lip. Trying to take a drink from her water bottle on the next lap, she just laughed. Every time she tried to squirt in water, it dribbled out the side of her mouth due to the fat lip.

One more example of women being tougher than men.

The day after the race, Barb is sore and tired, and her shiner has made for a hell of a conversation piece. She said she looks like she’s been fighting for Team Miesha, referencing the UFC television show.

But after a few extra ibuprofen, she’s doing some chores and made a great seafood chowder for lunch.

I think she’ll forget all about her sore muscles by the time the Belize marathon rolls around in early December. At least I hope so.

♦ ♦ ♦

If you’re interested in doing a trail run or an ultra, there’s an active group in central Illinois. Check out these links:

♦ ♦ ♦

And if you haven’t read my post about the 50-miler I did earlier this year in nearby Pekin, Ill., here’s a link to that article. It’s a great race, and it also includes 100- and 150-mile options.

6 Responses to “When is an ultra run like a prize fight?”

  1. fullmoonrunner October 13, 2013 at 5:19 pm #

    Oh gosh that looks really sore! Amazing achievement to keep going though regardless, extremely well done!

    Like

    • msmidt October 13, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      Yes, I was very proud — but not at all surprised — by Barb’s resilience.

      Like

  2. Jim Brennan October 14, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    What an awesome way to celebrate 50 years. Go girl! Great post, keep em coming.

    Like

    • msmidt October 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

      Thanks for the kind comments, Jim. I was very impressed by the guts Barb displayed. She doesn’t let much slow her down.

      Like

  3. Ethel Isaacson Gentes October 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    Great Article Mark.

    Like

    • msmidt October 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

      Thanks, Ethel. I was a bit concerned about rain that day, as you had worried, too. It poured on us when we left Peoria, but by the time we got to the race site, the ground was dry. I think we dodged a bullet.

      Like

I'd love to read your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Racing Through My Life

My Race Reports

wonderjess

running, and running, and running

Beaverhead 100K and 55K Endurance Runs

Run the remote and rugged Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in the Beaverhead Mountains dividing Idaho's Lemhi River Valley and Montana's Big Hole Valley.

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

One and a Half Runners

If you can blog a wrench, you can blog a ball.

amy c writes

words from a writer, runner and mama of twins

andrealinares

A topnotch WordPress.com site

Tim Tollefson

Trail junkie for Nike Trail; 2014 U.S. 50k Trail Champion; Physical Therapist and Exercise Physiologist; Coffee addict; My wife and I have an open relationship with running... Photo Cred: @davidity

Tasharama_A_Go_Go

Musings of a musician turned ultramarathon runner trying to pursue my dreams whilst juggling a professional career and bipolar

Iowa Girl on the Run

Running down a dream.

Ultra Runner Girl

Running (tripping and falling) my way through life!

Dan's Marathon

Running long distances across the country

Chasing 42

Life, the Universe, & Running

Ultrarunner Joe

My experiences and insights from out on the trail

fromroad2trail

Road and Trail Running adventures in South East Asia

Jack & Viv

Running, reading and raising a family

Larisa Elaine Dannis

Endurance runner

Psuche Running

Concerning the Spiritual Practice of Running

Run Be Run

A blog for runners who want to BE inspired, BE unstoppable and BE the best version of who they are!

Jane Likes to Run

Dedicated to the struggles, joys and successes of running.

AshRuns100s

...and other adventurous tales...

Must Love Jogs

Believe In The Power Of The Run.

Life Adventures

Somewhat lucid thoughts about a fast paced life.

Wholistic Running

Coaching for ALL levels of runners

DINNER BANK

cooking with love from all over the world

I Run in the Rain

Journey from Obese to Normal

ULTRA168

The ultra and trail running community

Running to Greatness

the quest to a 253.4km running week ......100m at a time

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 448 other followers

%d bloggers like this: