To Hell and Back!

Well, this past weekend I took part in a 100K trail relay race called Dances With Dirt (www.danceswithdirt.com) in a place appropriately called Hell, Michigan. The race takes place in the area around the Washtenaw and Livingston county border in Michigan, including Hell, Pinckney and Dexter. Each team has 5 runners and there are 15 legs total ranging from 1.5 miles – 6.1 miles. Depending on what leg you run, you encounter pretty much everything imaginable. Hard dirt, lots of rocks, tall grass, river crossings, mud/quicksand, etc. The course is marked pretty well with flags tied to trees and other landmarks and you really have to trust your instincts. A lot of times the flags will take you off a ‘proper’ trail and into the woods or something and you just have to follow them or else you’ll get screwed. Your team needs to travel from site to site too. Each site will have 1-2 legs and when your runner takes off you have to pile into your van and drive as quickly as possible to the next handoff site. My team, The Damned Unpleasants, finished 8th out of 350 teams though we’re 34th after various handicap formulas were applied (having a woman on your team gives you a 12% handicap, so next year we’re going to get a good woman on our team so we can really kick ass). I’m definitely more of a road race guy but I did have a lot of fun. I don’t think I would do an individual trail race, but I really enjoyed the team aspect of DWD.

Other than DWD, I did a 5 mile race on September 1 called Celebrate Westlake. This is always a really good race as top Kenyans show up to get the prize money. I ran a solid 29:21, which I was happy with as I ran 58 miles that week and didn’t taper at all for the race. After going out in a conservative 17:57, I cranked out the last 2 miles in 11:24 with a 5:34 final mile.

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