Yesterday, I completed the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic, better known as YUT-C. There are two distance choices, 50K and 25K. For two years I have chosen the 25k. Last year it was a training run for Oil Creek, this year it was because I don’t like the course enough to do more than 1 loop. Tomorrow I will be put under to have my baby teeth removed. To honor this grand day I am going to do something a little…odd…I am going to write this recap from the viewpoint of my two baby teeth.
Our day started with the sound of the alarm, well it wasn’t so much an alarm as the music from the radio. After she put on her race clothes, which luckily were laid out the night before, we found ourselves being washed before a fresh coat of Powerade and water flowed over us as she ran out the door.
At the race site she joked around with her friend Gale, as the descended and climbed the rocky hill to and from the log cabin to gather race packets. Last year the shirts were awesome. Tech fabric and gender specific…this year they were unisex and cotton. It was a little disappointing, because of color, and texture, but also because a size large was ordered (thinking it was tech) so it looks like there is another sleeping shirt in the mix. We heard the race director talking about swag in the bags, but the bag our girl received only had her shirt and an ad for Hammer Nutrition.
It wasn’t long before everyone was lined up, ready for the official “GO”. For some reason we were much further ahead in the crowd than normal. In anticipation and nerves we were grinded into our neighbors while she gripped her fists and hoped for the best.
Enter the woods and a series of steep, rocky and/or sandy hills. Approximately four miles of this terrain. At one point she stopped and wouldn’t go down the hill. It was the same as last year where she teared up and almost dropped. This year, thanks for being in better shape, we were with a huge crowd of people. So going down wasn’t as scary. It still was a little though, so when someone offered her hand on the way down…it was graciously taken. This section also has the wooden steps/bridge with informational signs along the path. Was this hole a distillery? Did you know there is clay or copper in the soil? Since the wood was a bit damp and slippery it was slow moving in this area.
At the end of this area everyone is greeted by the aid station. Minimal attendance, but it’s a small race, but plenty of cheers and clapping. HEED wasn’t mixed yet (why not?) so some water and a bite of an orange and off again onto the 4.2 mile loop. Lucky us, we spent most of it covered in orange membrane. Music filled our surroundings, but that was soon stopped since faster runners doing their second loop needed to pass and it wasn’t safe. Along the way a giant woodpecker broke the rhythm of the woods and waterfall. Despite not wanting to be there, our girl was keeping within 5 minutes of her goal!
First loop done, time for the second. Loops always suck. A trip to the bathroom, two cups of HEED (we like HEED it doesn’t leave a film all over us like most sports drinks) some chips and some generic Oreos and we were set! The second loop seemed to go faster, and was very peaceful with fewer people trying to get around. She ran into an old friend along the way. We didn’t run the flat road section in favor of playing catch up socially. After all, is 5-10 minutes off her time really worth not talking to a friend you haven’t seen in a year?
Back at the aid station it was obvious time goals were shot. 3 miles remained and it was already 4 hours into it (her original finish goal) Oh well. She didn’t run much on the second loop, if at all. At this point she caught her tongue on one of the braces pieces and noted “Tomorrow is the last day I’ll have these teeth. How strange”. It was also at this point the realization this race was going to be like the Oreos covering us. Hard at the start and finish, but squishy and easy in between.
The last 3 miles were fun. Lots of people to talk with and plenty of places to run. Hills were minimal, roots and rocks were abundant. It was weird to remember what a struggle it was only a year prior. In a way it was a chance for her to kick herself…what was she saving energy for? She recalled the last section being hard last year, but this was nothing! She could have run a lot more in the looped section! Grrrr.
Dashing to the finish line she saw and heard Gale. Sub 5 hours, 4:54:xx actually, better than last year’s 5:29:XX but with room for improvement next year. IF she can get over her hatred for steps and ledges! We were rewarded with cool refreshing water and spent the next few hours talking to new and old friends, learning of everyone’s adventures.
It’s been a good time being her baby teeth; we will miss all the great adventures she has brought us along to. We wish everyone the best in all endeavors, running or otherwise.