Event: Night Hawk 50K and 10 Miler
Date: Saturday, June 25th
Location: Clinton Lake, Lawrence, KS
Oh, Clinton Trails… My nemesis. I know so many love you so dearly, but after Free State Trail Marathon, I hated you. I hated you for a long time and I avoided you like the plague. I eased my way back in with a couple Lake Henry Loops and Sanders Mound repeats… But I still hated you.
I signed up the Night Hawk because, surprise, it was at night. And with all my thyroid and adrenal stuff, what little energy I have for running comes at night.
For preparation of the race, I treated my shoes and socks with permethrin spray. (This seems to have worked well because I didn’t have any ticks after the race!) I managed to get my hydration vest filled with ice water, but didn’t have a chance to eat dinner. I had not eaten since lunch, so I was running the event on an empty tummy. Not ideal.
Before the race, I handed out glow bracelets to some of my friends. I thought my light-up tutu would have been neat to wear, but I really didn’t need a bulky layer over my outfit. It was going to be hot enough the way it was.
We started off and I mixed in toward the back of the pack, not realizing they were hikers and walking right off the start line. Oops. So I expended come energy weaving around a bit to get to an easy running pace. I thought everything was fine the first couple miles, but then I noticed I was sweating a lot already. Yuck. I slowed down a bit and threw some walking breaks in. And I just felt something was not right.
An important note to make here relates to my shoe selection. I hadn’t ran white trail in ages… Apparently the recently rain caused erosion and the trail which was already rocky was now super rocky. I hadn’t thought to wear my trail shoes. I was wearing my regular shoes, which seem to do just fine on regular trail… but with the technical trail, my feet were hurting. (Even days later, my arches felt bruised and sore). So maybe my overall enjoyment would have been increased by wearing trail shoes and actually eating properly.
I was mistaken in thinking that the aid station would be at the half-way point (5 miles). I kept checking my Garmin and cursing that I had to keep going out on white trail. I wasn’t doing well and even went off-course, mistaking a big rock wall for the trail and started climbing up. The runners behind me snapped me out of it and I realized my mistake. It was like I was on some sort of auto-pilot. I looked down and noticed I could not bend my fingers. My hands had swollen up into Hamburger Helper hands. My skin was covered in sweat that felt like boogers. (Yes. Gross). After a bit, I had stopped sweating and I felt cold and shivery. My hands were ice cubes, which I am used to from my Raynaud’s, but my entire body felt cold.
Finally at 6 or 6.5, we hit Land’s End aid station. I stumbled in and decided I wanted to quit. I asked if there was a road nearby that someone could get me. They said there was, I mean, obviously they got all the aid station stuff there without going far. But one of the volunteers offered me a jelly sandwich and salted potatoes. I sat down and ate those, then found some Coke and perked up just a bit. I was given a cold wet towel and was talked into finishing. (I have to say, Trail Hawks put on the best aid stations ever. Tailwind, soda, food, snacks, all that. They got it. The volunteers are very knowledgeable and if anyone is going to set you back straight, these are the guys.)
I jogged out on the blue trail… and half mile later, I regretted that decision. I was hot. I was tired. The bugs were swarming me. I just wasn’t happy.
Soon another runner stumbled out of the brush and asked if he was going the right way. Apparently he got turned around a bit, so I pointed him in the right direction and I kept running.
Finally, I totally bonked. I felt like I was just done. I fished my phone out of my hydration vest and called my husband to get me. I had my location tracking on, so he could see I was near the road. When I made it to the road, the volunteers offered me a chair while I waited for my ride. I ended up vomiting on the side of the trail a few times. (Apologies to the course monitors for that). Finally, I was picked up and we drove back to the start / finish to let them know I was dropping. I felt ok doing 8 of the 10 considering I stopped having fun at 2.
Steven got me home, I took a shower (how amazing that felt!) and he made me a sandwich. Nothing like eating dinner at 1:00 in the morning, but it was like the best sammich ever!
So, things to take away. Wear trail shoes. Fuel properly. Aid stations are awesome. Try not to puke on the trail if at all possible. Bug spray doesn’t keep gnats away.
Starts at what Trail Hawks called the “Corp of Engineers” lot. (The parking lot by the playground and white/blue trailhead sign).
Course went out on white, with an aid station at Land’s End, then back on blue. This is 10 miles. (50K repeats this loop two more times). The course is flat but very rocky with lots of tree roots. Race start was 8:00 and headlamp was needed later on.