Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Race" Report: URINEO 2013

We've been below freezing with a consistent snow pack for the past month but two days ago, the temperature shot straight up and the rain began...and continued...and continued. When I awoke at 3:30am this morning, it was 54F out! On December 21st! Plus, it was pouring rain. Still, there was nothing that would keep me from heading out to Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, OH. NEO Trail Club puts on this annual trail fest called URINEO which stands for "Ultra runners in northeast Ohio" and is pronounced "ur-een-o". Alrighty? Alright. It comes at no cost and it's basically a run what you want..just be done between 1pm and 2pm-ish for a social gathering of food (potluck-style) and spirits. I heard of a 6:30am start so I planned on that and hoped for something in the 30-mile range for the day. No real reason but I did want a feel-good run for my 50K race in the mountains two weeks from today.

The rain fell all the way there and honestly, never really stopped for long all day. Sometimes a steady rain and sometimes sprinkling. We started out in the dark so headlamps were on. I went ahead and wore my screwed trail shoes because I heard ice was still on the trail...perfect. I headed out with Gombu, Kimba, The Professor, and Victor...eventually became myself, Victor and Gombu for most of the day. Before long, we were realizing what a mud run the day would be. So much snow and ice melt made the trail super slick and in the really steep areas, the trees surrounding us served as anchors to latch onto and pull ourselves along....up or down. One thing that was very cool (or warm) was these warm and frigid areas we'd pass through, often touching each other. We couldn't figure out what was causing it but in one moment, we'd feel warmth, like from a dryer and then meat locker air. So weird but pretty cool, nonetheless. Each loop was in the mid 7's and my trunk served as my aid station. Throughout the day, I never felt tired or beat down. It was surreal, honestly. I never know when I'm going to be dealt a good hand but today was one of them.

Mud...so much mud...yet I never fell once today. I racked up 30 miles for the day. That made the last 3 days total 50 miles and 61 miles for the week with two days of rest. Even MORE awesome was that I cracked 2000 miles for the year! WOOT! I actually sit at 2,009.4 miles right now with 10 days left in the year. Not too shabby!

Afterwards, some great food, desserts and spirits waited for us in the Old Log Cabin. It was a great day to see folks I hadn't seen in quite some time and just soak in the sights, sounds, and smells of the trails, waterfalls, and birds flying everywhere. I had a great time...couldn't ask for more.

I did snatch a few photos today...shocking, I know. Here are my favorites from the day:
Lake Glacier

A staple of NEO Trail events








One of my favorites







L-R (Me, Victor, Kimba, and Gombu)




Happy Trails!

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