First race of 2016, It was a F.A. event, for those that don’t know FA events are short for Fat Ass, they are free events, that help get people outside and running together. These are typically in cold conditions to help keep people motivated. This event is on a trail (Go figure based on the name), but it’s on a 2.5 mile loop, that is used for High School Cross Country. They have 4 groups; 1 hr, 2 hr, 3 hr, and 4 hr. Winner based on as many loops you can do during that time.
Two guys put the whole thing together, and let me tell you how awesome they are. The Facebook page has 100+ people interested in going, and from the looks of the Tracking Board, there was at least 75 people there. These guys, start planning months in advance, GPS running map, with Elevation posted online way in advance, so nothing surprises you. Also they are out early marking and clearing trail. I think this year, they even cut through a downed tree that was blocking part of the trail. Orange flags on trees, and posts, also orange spray painted arrows on the snow for all the turns.
This was my second year running it. I was hurt last year, but still ended up doing 5 loops. This year was a little warmer and less snow on the ground. I think we started at about 30 degrees, last year it was around 20 degrees. Started off the first loop with calf tightness and foot soreness. I still hadn’t decided if I was going to do that 1 or 2 hour group. Figured I would decide after 1 loop. Well, like a lot of runs, I felt like I should quit about a mile in. However, about mile 2, my legs started to loosen up. So at end of Loop 1, I signed up on the 2 hour group.
The Aid station, aka the Start/Finish line. Was well stocked, 2 picnic tables, 1 covered in food, everything from Tim-bits (non Tim Horton customers, Small Doughnut holes) to oranges and bananas. The other table had 2 big 5-Gallon Powerade and Hot Chocolate containers. With such a short looped course all you need is 1 Aid station. Remember this is also a Free Event. It’s a Potluck style event, everyone brings something, and before you know it, BOOM a ton of food and drinks. Also, big tarp on the ground, for bag drop. Keeps the bags from getting wet on the snow and icy ground. These guys think of everything, and do an outstanding job.
So how did I do? I was able to get 5 loops, took me 2:19, You can get a bonus loop, if you finish a loop before the cutoff time, my 4th loop finished at 1:53. I felt so good after the first and second loops, I was really interested in my times. Being a 2.5 mile loop, you can’t really compare miles to miles for time, because it’s only every 5th mile that match up. Lots of uphills and downhills, makes for ever changing mile times. I love Strava, I was able to create a segment (surprised one didn’t already exist) But created a segment for 1 loop. This is a great way to compare your runs over time to see the improvement. Also, they have CR’s and PR’s to compare to others. But I know that us Runners NEVER do that. Back to the research, I was really impressed that after 2 slower 29 min-ish loops, I was able to do the last 3 in the 26 min range, with each one being 20 seconds faster than the prior.
Overall, this is a great race/event to do, if you are in Michigan next January, you should look it up. Also glad that I was feeling so much better on the back half. I’m typically the exact opposite of that, which means if I suck in the first half, the second half of the race is horrible. It’s going to be a great 2016. Stick around and follow me, I have some great races scheduled.