Let’s Get MUDDY!!

>> Monday, April 20, 2009

Or, “OK, It Wasn’t THAT Muddy.”

Or, “MDRA Mudball 4 Mile Trail Run Race Report.”

We prepared for the race the CORRECT WAY the night before the race: with lots of FOOD!

Matt brought over MORE meat, so once the grill was loaded, I had a platter of veggies, 4 chicken breasts, 4 bacon cheeseburgers, 3 regular burgers, 2 turkey burgers (one with cheese), and a small steak:

And, I capped it off with 50 shrimp (half Cajun, half herb):

Great pre-race fuel!

Then, after watching a movie, we all went for ice cream. Here’s the 4 of us that would be racing the next day:

Pharmie, Steph, and I were going to do the 4 mile Mudball,
and their brother Matt was doing a different 5K

So we all hit the hay, and got up the next morning relatively late - the race wasn’t until 10:15, so we didn’t leave until nearly 9 am! The 5 of us got to the race site: Steph, Pharmie, and I were running it, and Borsch and the girls’ brother Mike were there to cheer. (Big thanks to Borsch for all the photos!!)

I scoped out the “mud puddle” that we were going to have to run through 4 times:

We hiked up to the starting line, and Steph practiced her starting stance:

Yeah, good luck with that Steph!

It was going to be a chilly, HILLY, misty run! We had to do 4 loops on a 1-mile course. Everything was well marked with flour (note the starting line and the arrow in the above shot). Overall, there were about 70 runners.

We started stripping a few minutes before the start:

Bro-in-law Mike, me, Steph, and Pharmie

They told us this was of the older races in MN (first one in 1961), and THEE oldest Cross Country race in MN! Here’s everyone lined up on the trail getting ready for the start:

They rang a cowbell, and we were off! You can see me just left of the tree in all black, about 7 people back:

And here’s the sisters’ butts as they started the race:

As we started, I passed Kirt Goetzke (a well-known local racer), and I said hi. We wished each other luck. He said, “Watch out for the ‘Elevator Shaft!’” “Uh-oh, what’s that?” I asked. Kirt said “Oh, YOU’LL see!!” Crap. Stupid hills.

I quickly found my spot, running in 5th place.

There were some big hills on the course - big rollers. There were 2 or 3 steep downhills that were hard to navigate. And about 2/3s of the way through the loop, there was a short, steep hill labeled “HILL” with flour. I laughed to myself. The race director told everyone before the race “There’s only ONE hill out there, and it’s labeled. If it’s NOT labeled, it’s NOT a hill!” Funny man.

I finished the first mile in 5th place, close behind 4th. Here I am giving chase, with Mike looking up at us:

Mile 1: 6:07. “Good pace - better than expected. Can you hold this?”

Pharmie came up a little hill to finish her first loop:

She was getting too hot, so she stripped a layer and threw it to Mike and Borsch:

Shortly after, Steph led a pack through:

Running the second mile, I was closing in on 4th place in front of me. I ran on his heels, TRYING not to pass him. “It’s too early - don’t push it too hard yet...” I finished mile 2 still running in 5th place. I pointed to (but avoided) the mud puddle:

I was telling Mike I’d run through it next time

Mile 2: 6:24. “Slower, but still not bad. Let’s keep that one as the slowest, and we’ll be OK.”

Racing buddy Danielle came running through the puddle a few minutes later:

Pharmie chose to go around:

Steph went right through:

About half way though mile 2, I came up on Steph. She actually heard me coming and turned around (she heard me encouraging everyone else behind her). We wished each other luck, and I left her a lap down. Just after that (but just before THEE HILL), I made my move on 4th place, and I held him off. I was running strong (with legs burning) in 4th, with 3rd place 200 feet in front of me.

Finishing the 3rd loop, I hit the mud:

Mile 3: 6:15. “Good. Go for 3rd in front of you...”

I was picking up the pace. After climbing the hill to start the final mile, I came up on Pharmie. She recognized my hard breathing **wink wink** and turned to tell me I was in 4th place. We kept running.

I had my eyes set on 3rd place in front of me. I was SLOWLY closing the gap. We dropped down the steep hill along I-394 to the flat section (the ONLY flat section), and I gave chase. I was working hard, and not gaining as much as I’d hope.

We hit THEE HILL with a lot of “lapped traffic” around us. We got through them, and it was just small rollers to the finish. I was WORKING! I closed the gap until about 1/4 mile from the finish. Then he started pulling away. Dang. I had 4th with no chance of 3rd.

Here I am giving chase to 3rd place as he’s about to hit the finish:

He was just a few seconds ahead, but I couldn’t catch him. I hit the line beat up and tired:

Mile 4: 5:59. “Good chase. Can’t complain...”

Unofficial Total: 24:48
Pace: 6:12/mile
Place: 4 out of 70 overall

Well, I really didn’t get that muddy, but my legs were a little scratched up. On some of those steep downhills, I got a little out of control, and my feet were flailing around and hitting my legs. The sorest spot was just inside my knee in the upper-right of this picture:

Mike, Borsch, and I chatted while waiting for the girls. Danielle hit the line with a strong finish (as always):

Soon, Pharmie came running in with a GREAT time! She went charging past 2 women in the last 200 meters! Here she is coming up the final little hill:

And here she is hitting the line, with me cheering in the background:

And a few minutes later, Steph came running in:

We grabbed one last shot before we all got dressed up to head home:

We were starving (it was a later race and it was nearly lunch time already), so we made tacos when we got home. Here’s the mess once we all ate:

So, it was a good day all around! I was hoping for a Top 10 finish in under 26:00. So I can't complain about 4th place in 24:48. Steph did about what she thought she could. And Pharmie did better than she thought! Nice way to spend a Sunday morning!!

First duathlon of the year is next weekend!! Have a good week, everyone!!


Maria 6:54 AM, April 20, 2009  

congrats on the awesome race!

Mike 6:59 AM, April 20, 2009  

All the food made my stomach growl!

Unknown 7:29 AM, April 20, 2009  

all those food pics look yummy!

good job to all!!

Casey 7:38 AM, April 20, 2009  

Nice pics! Did they make that mud pile especially for the race? Great job on your finish!

RunningLaur 7:51 AM, April 20, 2009  

Great report and good running!

331 Miles 8:47 AM, April 20, 2009  

Looks like fun! Does the Muddy Buddy Ride & Run make it up your way? Similar good times...

X-Country2 8:59 AM, April 20, 2009  

Great race! (And the whole Pharmie clan looks EXACTLY alike. :o)

t-odd 9:33 AM, April 20, 2009  

All that food on the grill looked like heaven - I love spring in MN. And yet another picture of you stopping your watch. At least you are consistent. Great race.

GoBigGreen 9:36 AM, April 20, 2009  

Nice morning ..and good job to all of you. Are any of you doing the GIG 10k? I will be there ( amongst the other thousands..) let me know if you are so i can chase you ( for the first 100 m)!

jen 10:18 AM, April 20, 2009  

Great race report and pictures. You ran very strong, I'm impressed (but not surprised). Good job to everyone!! :)

Audrey 10:57 AM, April 20, 2009  

dude, you're a beast! wicked fast.

tfh 11:20 AM, April 20, 2009  

Great race! And I appreciated the bit about Pharmie recognizing your breathing. It's great seeing how supportive you are of each other. :)

T Z 11:38 AM, April 20, 2009  

Good race....looks like you all had a blast. Trail Running rocks. But mud?? You call that mud?? I was expecting a little more ooozey goozey slish slosh shoe sucking leg plastering mud. Watse deep water crossings with knee deep sediment. Now that's mud.

ShirleyPerly 11:51 AM, April 20, 2009  

You Minnesotans sure do have fun. Great race!!

Michelle 11:54 AM, April 20, 2009  

Awesome dude!

That looks like a really fun run! I like to get muddy once in a while!!!

Jess 12:13 PM, April 20, 2009  

Congrats to everyone for a great race!

The Boring Runner 12:26 PM, April 20, 2009  

Great run! Too bad the mud wasn't TOO muddy.

Gotta Run..... 1:35 PM, April 20, 2009  

You guys did nto get muddy enough!!! Go run it again... we need pictures covered mud bodies :)

Carolina John 2:31 PM, April 20, 2009  

great race steve! glad you guys all had a good time.

Unknown 2:32 PM, April 20, 2009  

Looks like a good time. TO bad it wasn't warmer in order for the mud to be softer.

Unknown 5:59 PM, April 20, 2009  

I wouldn't even run if I had to eat all of those pre-race foods! Wow !!! Looks like it was a GREAT race.

JT 6:22 PM, April 20, 2009  

Sounds like a great time! I ate dinner, but all the food pictures are making me hungry again :-)

Unknown 8:00 PM, April 20, 2009  

That race looks like a ton of run. Great job on the speedy 4th place!

Kim 8:26 PM, April 20, 2009  

mmmmmm grilll food...mmmm!!

awesome job to you, pharmie and steph! looks like a fun albiet difficult race!

chia 12:56 AM, April 21, 2009  

Great job everyone! Looked like a fantastic time!

B. Kramer 12:15 PM, April 21, 2009  

Mmmm ... all that grub looks gooood.

Oh, and nice racing too.

Irish Cream 1:20 PM, April 21, 2009  

MMMM . . . all that food looks delicious! It's making me hungry!

Awesome race and congrats on the 4th place finish! Your speediness never ceases to amaze me! :)

CoachLiz 8:50 AM, April 22, 2009  

Ha, I saw you ate asparagus and made your pee stink. You looked way to happy stooping down by that mud pit. I would be afraid to run through it due to the slipping and sliding.

Too bad Mr. 3rd place wanted to hang on to his spot while you were giving it your all.

Kelly 2:26 PM, April 22, 2009  

Nice race, looked fun. Good job!

Marlene 7:22 AM, April 23, 2009  

That looks like such a fun event! Congrats on a strong race and great time!

sRod 6:45 AM, April 26, 2009  

Congrats on the great race!

JP Severin 10:27 AM, April 29, 2009  

really kick ass last mile.

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