Last weekend, Mike and I raced the Muddy Sneaker 20K for the second time. The last time we raced it was in 2014 and we had a great time so we wanted to do it again. Some years it is the same weekend as Seneca7, but this year it worked out so that the races were on different weekends.
I do have to admit, that since my 50 miler I haven't been running much. The beginning of Ironman Mont Tremblant training hasn't been going well (though in the last few weeks it has improved) and my running confidence (in addition to speed and distance) has really decreased.
So, I did sit in the car until about 20 minutes before the race start not wanting to race.
Mike went and got his bib and they gave him mine too, and so then I decided to just run it. I knew I wasn't ever planning on "racing" anyway and I guess running would be better than sitting in the car while Mike ran.
We went to the start and chatted with some friends before we were off. The beginning starts on an immediate hill, though compared to 2014 it felt a lot worse than I remembered! The beginning of the race is pretty congested, but after a few miles people start to spread out.
I was going a lot slower than normal because the trails were pretty muddy in spots and I didn't feel like hurting myself. Once I got through the first and second water crossings I was able to spread out a bit from other runners.
I had debated on whether or not I needed my hydration vest, and I'm glad I wore it! It was pretty warm once the race got going and I was happy to have some water available. I also dressed incorrectly and wore a long sleeve shirt (thankfully, I had on shorts) so I was pretty warm!
In some ways I'm happy that my brain allowed me to forget just how much "up" this race has, it really felt like there was a lot more uphill this year! I would alternate between walking and running up the long stretches of uphill and made sure to take advantage of the downhill (and very few flat portions).
I went through the deepest water crossing, and it felt good to cool down a bit! I knew that soon I would be heading downhill for awhile, and right around the beginning of the downhill I saw someone dressed in a Tigger costume up ahead.
I thought I heard them yell my name, but I didn't think I knew anyone who would be dressed as Tigger. But, as I ran by, I saw that it was our friend Jen and another friend Steven walking with her.
I kept going downhill and finally made it to one of the next aid stations. At this point, I was about halfway done and about to start another uphill section.
At the top of this section, I was greeted by someone dressed in a chicken costume (who had been at a different part of the race earlier).
After continuing uphill for a bit, we started to run downhill again toward an aid station we had already run by. The race continues on some single-track, that we had already run on in the opposite direction earlier, before heading down toward the final water crossing.
I made sure to take it easy on the downhill and the water crossing. I didn't feel like falling at all (Mike fell pretty hard during the water crossing).
I made it to the final aid station and grabbed some water and Tailwind before going up the steepest climb of the day. I was able to hike up it pretty quickly, and pass quite a few people in the process, and finally made it to the "top". Or at least I thought it was the top. It flattened out for a bit, and I ran, and then it went uphill for a little bit longer. Finally, I was able to run for a bit, and saw our friends Katie and Danielle run by me in the opposite direction (they were getting in some more miles).
I ran down the final downhill before starting the long, gradual climb to the finish.
This section took for.ev.er.
Mike contemplating life, photo courtesy of Gustavo
I didn't think it was going to end, and honestly, I barely ran any of this section. I knew my mental attitude toward the race and the heat wasn't helping and I just wanted to be done.
I ran as much as I could and then I could finally see the clearing, and I ran to the end.
Just picture me giving thumbs down right before or after this, photo courtesy of Gustavo
I saw Mike and our friends cheering me on, and as I ran by I gave the thumbs down. I was just really defeated with how much fitness I have lost (which is completely on me) and how much slower I was this year compared to two years ago.
With our friend, Heather, after the race, photo courtesy of Gustavo
Regardless of my time (2:53:48), I'm glad that I did end up running the race. I would have been disappointed in myself if I had given in and just DNS'd. Mike did well and finished in 2:28:41 (also a bit slower compared to two years ago).
And the best part, we finally stopped at Monica's Pies and bought a pie after the race. A delicious Dutch Apple pie!