At least that is what my DWD metal calls me.  Yesterday I was uninjured lucky enough to participate in the 55 mile relay in Gnaw Bone Indiana. And boy was it brutal. Most people consider trail running to be conducted on hiking trails that can be found at a local park. Well this was not nearly the same. Bushwhacking would be a more apt description. The one thing to remember during the race is to follow a specific ribbon color, regardless of where it may take you. Most legs set you upon a forest and you must traverse your way through untamed terrain. So much pain, so much fun.

To make the day more entertaining, many teams dressed up.  Our theme was Columbus Hillbillies. One of my teammates dressed as a pregnant woman, complete with slippers that fit over her running shoes. Although we put in some effort into our costumes, many of the other teams showed up in more impressive gear (and ran in it the entire day). I must admit that many of the teams were politically incorrect, but everyone was a great sport. My favorite was a group of Hashers from Michigan.  The hash, a drinking club with a running problem, was well represented this year. These folk dressed as biblical characters, each leg the runner carried baby Jesus and at the exchange they sang songs.  Quite a lively, lovely group. Last year’s costume winners were in attendance as the Border Patrol. There were women in prom dresses and others in hula skirts with coconut bras (yes, one girl ran in just a coconut bra, it looked darn uncomfortable).

Somehow I was designated as the first runner, this meant tackling a terrifying hill in my first half mile. The photo does not do it justice. First I was required to climb up the side of this slope before running two miles and plummeting down. I’m proud to say I didn’t fall or roll down the hill (although rolling might have been faster).

Climbing was a constant theme throughout my legs; over downed trees, up sides of mountains, and finally up a few hundred stairs in the pouring rain. Nothing I’ve trained on in Ohio can be compared to the terrain I encountered yesterday. I suppose that was part of the appeal?

Since we were down a runner, each of our team members was required to complete four legs. It was brutal at times, enjoyable at others, and overall a great experience. Sad I won’t be able to run this again next year, but I’ll always have the memories of those damn hills. (I’m sure there will be some grand hills in my new home that can provide comparable training, can’t wait…)

I’ll post more details of race day when I can muster the energy to chronicle the days events. As for now, I’m going to put my feet up, relax, and get some of the dirt out from beneath my nails.

About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on May 15, 2011, in Running and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow! Looks like a great day…I’m glad you made it through uninjured! Hope you have a nice relaxing evening. :)

  2. dude that’s awesome! i have always wanted to do a relay, something crazy. at the very least, it’s a good story later :) and it sounds like fun! minus the hill of death part…

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