“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” – Christopher Lloyd
Prior to this past week, every race that I had done was on a paved surface. Even if we were going through the forest or along a lake, it was still on some sort of paved surface. The Run for a Vet 5K was my first trail race, and it was an entirely different animal to say the least.
During the past two years, I’ve found an event prior to our week in WI. That way I don’t feel as bad about a week of R&R filled with beer. But since I couldn’t find anything before we left, I found this 5K on July 4th. So R&R turned into ‘active R&R’ that included AM hill runs and afternoon swims.
While those AM hill runs were not fun, I’m glad that I did them. If I hadn’t, Thursday’s race would have been even more of a challenge. The course was a combination of a snowmobile path and a cross-country ski path, so LOTS of hills. I mean, LOTS and LOTS of hills. (Followed by hills…)
Prior to the race, I met up with my guide Paul and his family. After we had a few minutes to talk, Mazie Vincent from the local NBC affiliate interviewed us. You can watch Mazie’s piece here.
As we started off, things seemed really good. The first mile on the path wasn’t that bad. There were some hills, but they were minor or gradual ones. And then we made the turn onto the second half of the trail…
The second half was full of ‘fun’, steep hills. Some of these came in rapid succession; some were long, hard climbs. I did have to walk a couple of these because of length or after doing them because of the difficulty. Regardless, Paul was there to help steer me around the obstacles and help talk me through the hills. I was able to catch my breath during the rare flats and aid station as well.
At about 2.8, someone from the race was giving you your time. They also mentioned ‘only 525 steps to the finish’. Oh, but they didn’t mention that about 490 were in hills. LOL We crossed the finish line to a cheering crowd, and Carrie captured our finish. You can view the video of it here.
Even though it was an extreme challenge, it was a tremendous amount of fun. I am extremely grateful to Paul for being my eyes for the race. THere’s absolutely, positively no way I could have run this race without his help. Also, huge thanks to Rebecca and Dave for all their help and Mazie for interviewing us! I hope to do the race again in the future!