Trail Challenge (Universal Sole 4MC) (5/11/23)

Over the last 10 years since doing my first 5K, I’ve continually looked for interesting and challenging events to add in for ‘fun’ as I work towards the main goals. The most recent addition was trail racing.

A few years ago, I found Universal Sole in the Chicago area. While I had intended to do a race with them prior to now, there were other commitments that conflicted. This race fell into line with the schedule, so I was excited to do it.

It had been about 5 years since I did my last trail race, and that one was a huge bear. It was in a wooded area with lots of hills. I’ll just leave it as my white singlet was grey by race end from all the sweat…

While there were challenges along the lakefront, the first 3 miles were OK. There were some decent divots and a couple of minor ‘potholes’ along the sand portions of the out and back that we had to do quick walks over/around.

And then we got to the last mile… which was about 90% grass in the setting sun. Not being able to see any potential pitfalls, and twisting an ankle was a real concern. Especially with three specific (including 1 very special) athletic events in the next few weeks. I’m glad that we didn’t try to push it in the grass, as there was an off-center, really bad rut at about 3.6 – 3.8 that I know would have caused an injury if I was trying to push it. Even with having to walk almost all of the last mile for safety reasons, I did still sprint through the chute as normal.

Thanks so much to Ian for guiding me and keeping me safe throughout the race!

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