Monday, September 29, 2008

Pod Trod 08

Welcome to trail tails and mud more. This is where you can read about my trail running, especially in the mud, adventure racing and mud (much) more. My most recent event entailed an entire weekend at BOW (Becoming an Outdoor Woman) workshop. I will blog about that at a later time this week. First I would like to share a most adventurous race that I participated in on September 21, 2008 at Clinton Lake State Park. It was called a Pod Trod. It is believed to be the first ever race of its kind , anywhere. Correct me if I am wrong and please show your proof.

"What's a Pod Trod?" you ask. Well it is a trail race with a twist. The night before the race you are able to download the instructions of your choice to one of three courses. One is hard, one is moderate and one is easy. However, you do not know which is which. The choices are Mud Babes Revenge, Lumbering Luddite and Clinton Confusion. I chose Mud Babes Revenge, narrated by none other than local celebrity and original mudbabe, Sophia.

At the race; checked in, stretched and prepped for the 5K course, I began to size up the competition. Looks like a bunch of trail nerds hoping to find their way back to the watermelon.

With that said, here’s my experience in a nut shell, and I use the word nut because I am sure for anyone who may have witnessed this event with no knowledge of what was going on, probably thought we were nuts, or squirrels looking for nuts.

MUD BABE’S REVENGE: Ready, set, MP3 player on. Everyone stood there for a few seconds and then took off like a bat out of hell. Me, I was not quite in such a hurry, so by the time I made it to the first landmark, Lands End, most people were gone. There were just a few, standing, looking around, not talking and then taking off running, only to stop, come back, and then take off on a different trail. I did the same thing, took off down the wrong trail. You see, when I looked at the lake and turned around as I was told, I could only see three trails…Lake Henry to the right, one straight ahead and the one we came down. I was told to take the left trail in the V once I turned around. I was too far to the south to see the V in the one we just came down so I trodded off down the blue blaze trail, only to hear Sophia remark that I should be on a white blaze trail….ERRRR! Okay, so I ran awhile before I turned around. Once I finally turned around and made it back to Lands End, I took the other wrong trail. I did come back to Lands End again. Okay now I’m the only idiot here, everyone else figured this part out and I’m only ten minutes into the race. That’s ok, I’m really only here for the watermelon. Yeah right? Just then I looked up to see the V, ah ha!!!

I decided I better run a little faster and suddenly started meeting people coming back. I tried looking at their bibs to see which races they were running and all three were well represented, so that left me no where for the better. OK, just listen to Sophia, she’ll keep me on track. So I replayed it again to make sure I was going in the right direction. Yep, sounded good, keep going. I’m looking for the man made stairs with the red railing. Where can it be? Ahhhhh, I see it. I’m still the only idiot here doing my own thing. Everyone else must be doing well. OK. I’m stopped on the steps, waiting for Sophia to figure out if it is recording. Yes, Sophia, I can hear you, where to now? Down the steps and what do I see? People, yes, people. Crap, it’s my brother-in-law taking pictures, Gary, the RD and another volunteer. This is not reassuring. But hey, there’s a bucket with my first ticket. At least I am on the right path, just a little behind.

OK, so here is where my high school competitive spirit tells me I can’t be last. GO! RUN LIKE HELL!!! Let me remind you, it’s been awhile since high school and my GO doesn’t GO like it did back then. But I sure felt like I was hauling butt, running like a banshee through the woods. I was really beginning to feel like a nerd. So now I’m headed back to Lands End like the directions said. So, I’m still doing my own thing out there on the trail. Alright, Sophia, I’m going to turn you on (MP3 player, that is) before I get to back Lands End. Yea, I’m a rebel. So she tells me when I get to Lands End to turn around and go back down the trail I am on and go about 18 steps. Do I dare turn and go down the red blaze without going all the way up? No, they might have the 2nd bucket up there and besides there is a woman with the camera, she’ll know I didn’t go. So I went up looked for the bucket, made a face for the camera and came back down.

Still by myself, I blazed down red. Ouch! The trail has become a little rocky. No more blazing here so I toned it down a bit. What is that up ahead? Girls. Could it be? Yes, I caught them and then by golly I passed them. Up ahead were more runners. Ah, there is a girl with a very cute baby and a guy standing there looking like a volunteer. So I just I keep running on by them, admiring the baby. Oops, I was supposed to stop there and listen to Sophia. Back to the girl, the baby and the guy and get the next set of directions, which I cannot remember what they were but I went in the right direction, or did I? It was quite hilarious to come up on a group standing there, looking at each other, not talking, concentrating, looking around and then one would take off running.

So along the limestone and shale trail some more and up the hill and there is a group standing around another bucket. I went to get my ticket and WHAT IS THIS??? MBR #1, I have that one and so did another couple there. I turned on the directions again and via a different trail I ran back by the girl, the baby and the guy. OK, where is the stinking fallen down tree? Did I pass it? Yep sure did. Back by the girl, the…., you get the picture. Yep, there it is and time to turn on the directions again. Then Sophia has the gull to tell me to go back to Lands End on the same trail that brought me here. I sttill only have one ticket and as I pass the girl, the baby and the guy I feel like we have become good friends, “Just me again.” I tell them. Was everyone running by them as many times as I was? Will I see them again?

I ran all the way back to Lands End and up the trail we came down to begin the race and up into the clearing. I was really expecting to find another ticket by now. I caught up with a couple of girls and asked them if they were doing MBR and they said yes. They said they had two tickets and I asked them where they got their second ticket and when they told me, I said that was MBR #1 again. When they pulled out their tickets they realized they had 2 #1’s. Oh, here comes the couple I met on the race a few times and they too, only had ticket #1. Alright, I’m oughta here. I’m just want the watermelon. So off I went, running to the finish with one final hurdle. Yes, I said hurdle. I did run hurdles in high school but I was not ready for a droopy foot to catch the bar and slam my face to the ground with the photographer standing there, so I gracefully stepped over the sucker. When I turned in my one ticket, I found out the only person who found all three tickets so far was running without an iPod and returned to the finish line via a different direction. I then proceeded to the watermelon. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

It was a blast and I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope to see many more out there next year and that this may be the beginning of a new type of race. Until next time, have a day!!!

Links to race photos:

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