Race Review – Pleasant Creek Trail Run 30k – 2017
This was the 3rd year of the event. It was held on Saturday, September 16th. There were 3 race distances – 15k (one loop), 30k (2 loops) or 45k (3 loops.) The 45k started at 8:30 and the other 2 started together at 9. It was a cool, cloudy morning, but would eventually reach to about 90 degrees and sun.
I ran the inaugural event, and at the time the longest distance offered was the 30k, so I ran that as a training run for a 50k. The race is always during Hawkeye football season, that first year the game was later in the day, last year the game was at 11 am…. and this year the game started at 2:30….
I thought this was perfect, I would be able to run a loop and get to the game…. well, I went through the registration process, and thought I started by clicking on 15k… after going through the registration process, and never seeing the distance confirmation until I had paid…. I was now in for the 30k.
See, more people would panic…. not me, while I know the race directors of the event and knew I could drop down to the 15k, I welcomed the challenge…. and now my biggest problem was making it to my seat in Kinnick Stadium by kickoff.
Thankfully, they let me start my race with the longer 45k distance, this gave me an additional half hour. I needed that time, I have almost an hour drive home and had to walk the dogs. I could have also started even earlier – as I showed up very early, but I wouldn’t have been timed.
I’ll write my famous to the point, fact based bibrave review too.
Alright, so after some chatter with the locals, I was lined up with the 45k runners, ready to get the show on the road.
Gear: Sparkle Athletic Skirt, 2Xu tank, Orange Mud Endurance Pack, BibRave Boco Gear Visor, AfterShokz Trekz Air, XX2i France 2 sunglasses, Zensah compression socks, Road Runner Sports shorts, Brooks Ghost 9, Garmin Fenix, Road ID
Oh…. trail running, I love it and hate it…this course is a mixture of everything – rock, sand, grass, ruts, dirt, road crossings, very few spots with even footing.
I took off very slowly… I think I overheard a spectator say “this is the slowest race start ever!” Not long, we were off in the woods, and I was in the back of the pack… all I could think was, dang I am slow… and I am with the people that are running an extra loop. So, the mental part of the race was off to a rough start.
There were also some hills, and I started off walking up all of those too. The sun was coming out too and it was heating up.
I did have my music, so I just kept moving forward. I passed through the first aid station around mile 2, and since I was running with my pack, I didn’t stop.
When I came to the second aid station, I was looking for some gummi bears, as I was too lazy to dig out the fruit snacks I had with me. The stop did not have any…but there was a lot of other choices – cookies, pretzels, M & M’s, Gatorade, water, Cola and Mt. Dew. I took some pretzels and chatted with the volunteers, and took off back into the woods.
Really nothing exciting or out of the norm happened at the race.
I looked at my watch when someone speedy passed me, mile 5.6… this must have been a 15k runner… and shortly after there were others that started passing me. Oh well, I just kept moving forward.
I came up on the third aid station to a cheerful group of volunteers, I knew them, so it was nice to say hi! I didn’t spend too much time and moved along. It was now really starting to feel warm. There were parts of the course in the woods and parts with no shade.
I finally came in to finish my first loop, and I looked at my watch 1:51. I still thought I could PR this course. My time from 2 years ago was a 4:04, so I was well ahead of that, it was also the reason why I didn’t stop any longer than to grab a banana at the start/finish aid station.
I was now out on my second loop, it was definitely hot! Even though I was moving forward, it was a lot slower … and it just kept getting worse…. I was also in my head, was I going to make kick off? Keep moving, it’s hot, get to the football game, it’s hot, keep moving…. yeah running is fun!
Welp, I made it to the first aid station on the loop and made sure to drink more liquids…. all the drinking…..OH – what I didn’t tell you… I was running a half marathon the next day… so when does hydrating for that take place?
Back on course. At this time, there really weren’t too many other people out there, once in a while someone would pass me, which just made me feel slow…but I just kept moving.
I stopped at the 2nd aid station of the loop, drank some more and dug out my fruit snacks to eat them.
It really wasn’t that bad… but I had given up on getting to Kinnick before the game… I could still make kickoff.
I rolled into the third aid station, and there was a volunteer shift change. However, I knew the new volunteers, she even took my picture. I was hot, but nothing out of the ordinary, I didn’t have the chills, nothing…however a radio/medic guy that was at this aid station kept insisting I sit down in the shade of the tent. I was like, do I look that bad? Luckily, Nikki, who took my photo, knew I was fine, and said so…. and I grabbed a cup of ice to finish the last 2 miles.
Those last 2 miles, were the longest 2 miles ever! I think I felt every uneven footfall, I just wanted a straight, flat section to run…but such is trail running.
I saw the last turn out of the woods, and I trotted into the finish. There were people cheering for me, so I was making sure not to fall. It was nice to have the area set up so that finishers were enjoying their post run fair along the route.
I finished in a time near 4:09…dang that second loop ate me up… I am sure it was a combination of the heat and maybe being under trained? Oh well, 18 miles banked – which keeps me inline for Detroit Marathon training. At the finish I was handed a cool, hand made medal and a bottle of water.
The plan was to grab some food to go, and get on the road. Instead, I milled around, talked to the race director, took a photo…. I finally grabbed a plate – threw in a burger, chips and slice of cake…and took my food to go. I was still close to making the game by kick off, but I would have to hustle.
UGH – the new neighbor wanted to talk…. talk about removing a tree… there is nothing wrong with this tree… I was like I need to get moving, and just said “it’s your tree, if you want to take it down, I can’t stop you.” Why is it when you need to be somewhere, you just can’t get there?
I got the dogs walked, and through the shower…. but the time was close to kick off…. now it was time to find parking. Which I did, over a mile away…which was just awesome after running 18 miles in 90 degree heat.
I made it to the game with 6 minutes to go in the first quarter. It was a rough start for the Hawks, so I guess that’s ok. Then of course, it clouded up, even sprinkled a little, and finally I was sitting in the shade…. I enjoyed the rest of the game, and cheered the Hawks on to a victory.
Overall thoughts: While I did not have a great race…. it is a well organized race, a great price, awesome medals, and it’s actual trail with some hills. Also, I have mentioned this before… where I live – Iowa City – there are 2 half marathons… I am 25 minutes from a 50k… and this is 45 minutes for a 45k… I love having longer distance race options closer to home.