I did the Wagathon two years ago, and had such a blast at this fatass that I decided to return. This year, Iliana, Grace and I ran together.
The race started and we kept at an easy pace. I'm not training for anything in particular, except trying to maintain my fitness. My next big race is Dances with Dirt Green Swamp Fifty Miler, and my next 100 Miler is Umstead, so I'm just chilling right now. I'm headed to Central America for seven weeks, and I know my training will suffer - so I need to make sure I have a solid base now.
We started off at Sam's Point, and there were some rather rocky portions early on. We ran past a waterfall, had a couple stream crossings but no wet feet, luckily. Eventually, the trail dumped us out in my beloved park, Minnewaska State Park where I did a ton of training runs in college (and also for the Jay Challenge and Vermont 100 Miler and other races). I had lovely memories of running with my teammates...and ironically enough, later ran into Greg, one of my teammates who lives and trains up there.
When I got to the black trail around Awosting, I put my arms in the arm, and began running faster. "These are my trails, I own these trails! This is my favourite place to run in the entire world."
And then I faceplanted.
Sigh. Iliana and Grace picked me up. I was a little shaken up, some scrapes and bruises but nothing too damaged. Something was telling me to put my confidence and ego under control.
I enjoyed the rest of the time around the lake without opening my big mouth.
I knew the trails well, so it was nice to say, "Let's wait to gel until we get to the hill; we can walk there" and "Amazing view ahead!"
Around Lake Minnewaska, we couldn't find one of the trails; I knew a different way to get down, so we opted for that - and it added an extra four miles or so. Oh well, bonus miles!
We all felt in very good shape; no major pain from everyone, just pleasant running. I was especially hungry and chowing down on all my food.
At Mohonk, we ran into Felix and Harry. I told them I would not do The Lemon Squeeze again. I had a miserable time last time in it. When we got to The Giant's Trail, they told me it wasn't a rock scramble, more like a dirt scramble.
They were wrong. Oh-so-wrong.
Harry was in front, then Iliana, then me, then Grace, then Felix, who ended up disappearing. In the middle of the rock scramble, I began freaking out. I'm not claustrophobic or afraid of heights; it's those giant holes in between rocks where you have to precariously get yourself from rock to rock. I got a little hysterical. At one point, when Harry was investigating below and Iliana was investigating above, and I was told to not move from a very scary rock, Grace calmed me down by asking me about sex. Great technique.
Finally we were able to get out of the area. I felt bad but I just couldn't deal. It was way too scary. We ended up getting lost around trails, stopping cyclists to view their maps and ask for advice. Somehow, we got to the exit.
"We're almost there!"
But somehow we made a four mile loop and ended up exactly where we started. Argh.
We found our way out of the park after seven hours of running. It was fun, it was insane, but it was ultrarunning, the heart of who I truly am.