Monday, August 12, 2013

Race Recap: Nearly Sane Trail Half

For this week's adventures I decided to try something new - I ran not 1, but 2 races this weekend.  Not only that, I ran a half marathon and a 10K so I covered a decent amount of ground.  The first event was the Nearly Sane Trail Half put on by the great folks at Muddy Monk up in Vernon Hills.

I woke up bright and early and made the trek from the city up to the far north.  I had opted for race day packet pick up since I didn't want to zig zag across the city getting packets for both races if I didn't need to.  I got to the race site and the starting area was stationed behind a mini mall.  This was a typical Muddy Monk event which meant a low key affair.  Getting my packet was nice and easy and then I headed to get in line for the port-a-potties.  The line was long so I decided I wanted to get my race gear together first so I headed back to my car and switched shoes and got my hydration belt settled and put my bib on.  I headed back and got back in line for the bathroom.  I think they need more than 4 next time considering the line was long up until race time.  I chatted with a couple other runners in line who were doing this as their first ever trail run.  I gave them a bit of a heads up on what to expect.

Soon after we were lining up and away we went.  We had an initial bottleneck as everyone tried to get through a narrow path and onto the trail.  In a bit of a surprise, but a welcome one, the trail was pretty much crushed limestone and dirt the entire time.  It was feeling pretty warm in the sun so I was kind of ok not dealing with the single track mess of dodging roots and jumping creeks and all that.  The worst we had was getting out of the way of bikers, horses, and their droppings - the horses', not the bikers.  The course was set up to be a double loop which turned out to be very important for me since I totally forgot to bring my watch.  I didn't want to toy with the GPS on my phone either so I ran blind. I did the entire run by feel and estimated where I was based on water stations and turnaround spots.

I started off the run at a fairly modest pace.  This worked well for me back at Double Down so I figured I'd go with it again.  I wasn't running for time since I knew I had 2 races to get through.  About a mile or so in an older gentleman went flying past me in an arm flailing furry and legs going every which way while wheezing like crazy.  I knew there was no way he was keeping up that pace.  Later as I neared the first turnaround the lead runners came flying back the other way.  There was one guy who was hooting and hollering and giving high 5s to ever runner as he headed back.  You got to love the spirit in that guy.  I also saw the 2 guys I had talked to earlier doing pretty well.  After I made the turnaround I hit a spot around 3.5 miles(there was randomly a 3 and 4 mile marker, but no others) I hit a spot where I just felt completely drained.  My body was like meh, we're doing a lot of running this weekend, you can walk some.  I didn't walk though, I kept going and soon felt my energy come back.

I finally hit the turnaround to head back out again and this time I had a better idea of how far things were and what to expect so I kicked things into a higher gear.  Since I had no watch I had no idea what my pacing was.  It was just hard enough to where I could still talk and wasn't breathing too hard.  I started playing the roadkill game for the second half.  I know this is only supposed to be done during long relays, but hey it kept me mentally engaged while allowing me to push myself a little bit.  I wound up with 20 "kills" during the second loop of the course and was only passed by 2 other runners.  I definitely passed the guy who was wheezing, even before completing the first loop.  I also passed the 2 young guys who I had talked to before the race.  One was having issues with the heat.  Eventually I made it to the finish for my spastic finish line picture.

I still have some work to do on getting the posing down.  As I was gathering myself and grabbing water after the race I ran into a girl who live on the floor of my dorm in college and we caught up a bit.  It turns out she's been a big runner and did her first marathon earlier this year in Paris.  Now that would be quite the cool trip - mind you I spent 5 months living in France and many weekends of that 5 months in Paris so I learned the city quite well, but still!  She's doing a half in Salem, MA next month - too bad its not October since then you would obviously dress as a witch for the run.  The post race spread featured more goodies than you could ever want as well as food from Chubby Wiener and beer from Lucky Monk.  I settled on 2 bottles of water since I can never seem to get food down after a hot run.

I love the design of the shirt - nice, simple, clean.  The medal is fine too - although it does get outshined by the Chicago 10K meda.  Tune back in tomorrow to read the race recap for the Chicago 10K!


  1. Thanks for a great review Eric! And thanks for coming out this past weekend!

    I was the guy you saw with the Nearly Sane shirt on at the Chicago 10k. That medal was EPIC! We're going to have to step up our game next year!

    1. As long as you guys keep putting on great events I'll keep coming out *running schedule permitting.

      Don't sweat the medal - you guys had by far the better post race spread of food and beer.