Skunk Hollow Sneaker Chase Race Recap
Really? Is August really starting tomorrow??
How have I done 8 races this year already?
phew…lets get to the race recap!
Last Saturday I was closer to home in Casper racing a trail race on the mountain.
This race and I have a history. Last year I got to run the inaugural race, and I was going back for seconds this year.
You can kind of read about my cool little experience that I had with this race right here!
I was headed up to Casper on Friday evening; and was sufficiently tucked into bed nice and early.
I was up nice and early to give us plenty of time to get up the mountain and get some food in my belly.
Sadly I have miss placed my pink socks…must find those before my next race.
We met my dad and sister at the start of the race. Mom couldn’t make this race, some excuse about fires. Weird. 😉
They had a runners meeting before the race and before this meeting the race director saw us and came and asked us what it was all about. Immediately I felt tears well up in my eyes. She asked if I would like to say something and I knew I couldn’t do it. She had taken down some information and then mentioned it and introduced me during this meeting.
As mentioned. I ran this race last year. The course was the exact same. 2 loops of 8 miles. It becomes more of a mental battle than anything to get through the two loops. That whole first loop the only thing you can think of is I have to go back up this hill again?! There is a aid station halfway through the loop at mile 4. I knew that after making it to mile 4 it was more of rolling hills rather than long 1 mile climbs like first few miles are.
The 16 mile group started at 8 and the 8 mile group started at 830.
There were 18 of us in the 16 mile and like 90 some in the 8 mile. We spread out pretty quickly with the 16 mile group. I ran with a girl for the first mile and then once we hit the downhill I took advantage and let my legs go, because I knew that mile 2-3 was a nice and steady uphill climb. But once I crested the hill I knew that I could fly down into the aid station.
I pulled into the aid station grabbed a water and gatorade. The oranges were HUGE! I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed an orange slice and took of to finish the second half of the trail.
After about mile 2 I started to see the really pretty and gorgeous orange and black butterflies, Monarch Butterflies, flying around with me. They would zip back and forth along the trail and when one would fly off another would appear right in front of it.
I have always thought of butterflies as proof that somebody was with me. I had 14 strong people helping me through this race every step of the way.
I was still feeling pretty good for the second half of that first lap. I caught some 8 milers that must have started earlier than everyone else and they let me know I was the first girl. I felt pretty good about that, but knew that I was being hunted. I got to see Aron at mile 6.5 ish and I knew that I was oh so close to the start of the second loop and another aid station.
I cruised into the aid station grabbed a water and gatorade and headed back out on the trail. I did have my fuel belt with me the entire time and was drinking water pretty regularly from it. It was hot out, not a cloud in the sky. We also had shade from the trees on the mountain.
I got to see my sister and Dad right after the aid station and my sister had made the comment that I was first girl and to not lose my lead, but I knew there was a girl hot on my heals behind me.
The hill climbs were my big killer. I’ll be the first to admit. I didn’t train as hard as I should have. Heck, I didn’t run at all between Bighorn and this race. A whole month. Something called fire season had gotten in the way. So I knew that this race was going to be a battle.
The other girl caught me about mile 10 and slowly jogged past me. We started winding back up through the single track and I lost sight of her. I quickly then became the hunter.
I kept getting butterflies left and right with me. When I started to doubt what I was doing I was blessed to see another butterfly. At one point I looked down at a particular rock and it was heart shaped. Then my mind began to wander if I make this stuff up in my head or if these people who I am honoring are really with me. As soon as I had the thought 2 butterflies appeared right in front of me. I thought to myself “ok, ok, you are here. All 14 of you.”
I started to slightly cramp in my legs but nothing too crippling.
As I pulled into the aid station the nice lady refilled one of my water bottles on my belt. I had been dying for grapes since I left the 8 mile aid station and grabbed a handful of them. Also more gatorade and water. The volunteers then told me that the lady was less than a minute ahead of me. Time to get my hunt on.
About mile 13 I really started to struggle with the cramping. My feet all the way up to my quads would seize up and just kill. I would have to walk a few steps to get the cramping under control. I knew I was in the final home stretch I just had to keep strong and push through the pain.
The second half of this course is my favorite! The rolling hills, the single track, the nice shaded spots.
When I hit the 1.5 mile mark to go I knew I was home free I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
My dad met me with like .25 mile to go. I was a hurting unit at this time, but I of course couldn’t let me dad outrun me (but somehow he did). As I neared the finish line he pulled off and told me “Finish strong for them.” I gave the best little sprint my cramping calf muscles would give. With every step they seized up and would relax between strides.
I crossed the finish like 10 minutes slower than last years time.
But for not training or running. I’ll take it. I knew I was second overall female and I was pretty pleased with that. I was mad at myself that I had the lead for more than half the race, but I was pretty happy with my finish.
As I crossed the finish line I bent over in pain. My legs were shot. I almost even fell flat on my face. The race director made a comment about “it hurts so good, doesn’t it Ashley?” No, no it doesn’t.
I hobbled up to the aid station to get some grapes, water and gatorade. Then proceeded to hobble to the food spot. I wasn’t hungry at all. I took my shoes and socks off almost immediately and my feet did start cramping hard core. I just had to sit through the pain until it finally went away.
They were doing awards shortly after and to my surprise I won my age group…again! I surprised the heck out of myself and won last year also. So now I have 2 really super cool giant cow bells! 🙂
I know, though, that I couldn’t have done it without those strong and courageous 14 men and women pushing me the entire way. They were the reason I was out there on that trail. They were most definitely the reason I had finished this race. They were part of the bigger picture of Two Little Feet.
Thank you for your continued support!
Tomorrow starts a new month. A new race to look forward to. More fallen heroes to honor.