Muddy Paws is a race I’ve heard about every year since I started running.
Yesterday was the first time I made it out to the event. In the past I either
1) Didn’t feel like running 5 or 10 miles on the trails in the heat
2) Felt unsure of my abilities as a runner and Vertical Runner seemed like they only did events for elite (I was SO wrong) or
3) Didn’t have the time (another race or working at Blossom). For my first time it was a great event!
I set my alarm to give me 30 minutes to get ready in the morning. 40 minutes before the alarm went off I was rudely awaken by thunder and lightening. I lay there, in and out of dreams. We’re talking MESSED up dreams. The sky was full of dark clouds, but they didn’t look like clouds they looked like plant cells. Seriously. Grey with a dark grey outline and a single dot in the middle. They were moving around as if in liquid and the tops of the trees were swirling around too, I honestly got motion sickness from my dream. In the dream I had to go inside and take cover, but I was too nauseated to move very quickly.
When the alarm finally went off Emme and I looked at each other and she showed no signs of wanting to budge. I checked the weather (thank god for smart phones) and saw it was cutting back to just rain within the hour. Well, Em and I have been rained on before. Since I wasn’t preregistered I thought about ditching…then Gale started texting me and I got out of bed.
Once there, Emme was SO EXCITED. She wanted to talk and play with every dog there. They were not always so willing to join in the reindeer games. Is it unreasonable to think if you have a dog that is angry or anti-social, then maybe it shouldn’t be brought on a “fun run”? Just saying…
The race started at the bottom of a hill. Not too steep, but not too easy to climb either, especially in the rain, with a lot of loose tall grasses and stuff. A few of the dogs were freaking out trying to herd everyone (haha) others went into attack mode (WTF) eventually we all sorted out. Em wanted to be a speedster, but my legs were still sore from Buckeye. Yes, I’ve been working out each day and I don’t feel any pain, but c’mon it was 31 miles 7 days ago, let a girl milk it.
I didn’t have my Garmin so it really was a “fun run” although it was officially timed. On this run I opted to try my New Balance minimus shoes. I already love them in general, but what about on trails? With all the rain, I thought less fabric would feel a little better. I can say it made me more aware of where and how I stepped, which is probably great for form, balance and safety, but I can also say I FELT EVERYTHING. Every root I stepped on, every stone. I could feel it. After about half a mile to a mile it didn’t bother me as much, because I was expecting it and honestly, I could get used to it, perhaps to the point of not noticing at all.
I was pleased we were well spaced most of the run and could pace at a comfortable rate (for me). Obviously Emme wanted to go faster…sorry dude! She tried to speed up if we caught a glimpse of someone up ahead. Near the end it’s a lot of what I would call cross country course more than a trail course, and I was not prepared. Running on grass is taxing for my legs. We only walked one or two of the hills though. One because it was so muddy I was literally sliding back down with every step. The other, I needed to catch my breath.
As we ran along the fields toward the end, next to the parking lots, people saw us and cheered us in. I love hearing people say “Oh look at the little one” “Go little one go!” My overall goal was to come in under 30 minutes. My exciting goal was to break 25. As we entered the shoot it read 26:30-ish and I was pleased. Perhaps a drier course and a little less caution could have done it? Who knows?
Afterward we lined up and cheered as all our friends ran by starting the 5 or 10 mile journey. We saw Niall, Gale, Pati, Sheila, and Shelby. S&S were completing their first trail runs, and did an awesome job! Then it was time to dry/heat up the little black and white mud puddle and for me to take a nap! Ha! We curled up together for another hour or so before starting our day again.
Great race, wonderful people and I look forward to doing it again in the future.
PS. All proceeds went to benefit the Humane Society of Greater Akron.