Run Woodstock 2012, Day One – Far Out, Man

I LOVE RECOVERY DAYS. No agenda, no distance requirement, no target pace, just a 16 mile easy cruise on the bike after work, squeezing every drop out of another beautiful warm evening. I won’t run until the weekend, but there will be some Aikido classes and a session at Body Specs to keep me going.

But back to last weekend and some stories and pictures from Run Woodstock as promised.

Friday – Far Out

One of the more inspired campers. Little did I know our paths would cross later on…

I arrived at Hell Creek Ranch in Pinckney about an hour before my first event, the “Far Out 5K” trail run. Camping there was an option (as the photo shows), but decided to commute from home, a 25 minute drive. These “fun runs” on Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday morning were not timed or tracked, but were required if I wanted to complete the “Righteous Woodstock Weekend Challenge“. That, and the small matter of a 50K ultramarathon Saturday morning.

You see, kids, back in the day there was this thing called “tie dye” and it was really hip, and – yeah, I know you don’t believe people actually wore it.

Woohoo! Only 83 miles to go!

The biggest, baddest events of the weekend, the 100-mile and 100K races, had started at 4:00 and some runners were already completing their first 16.6 mile loop, to the applause and encouraging shouts of the campers and other spectators. They would continue running/walking all night and into Saturday, the 100K taking four loops total, the 100-milers six, with a cutoff of 8:00 p.m. Saturday (30 hours).  A total of 46 men and 21 women finished the 100 miles (some with less than 10 minutes to spare) and 24 runners finished the 100K. I don’t know how many dropped out, but I’m sure some did. Angela, one of the race organizers, told me during a July training run that when she ran the 100 mile event, at the end of each loop she’d seen more and more bibs hung on the aid tent wall, signifying a DNF (Did Not Finish). She said it gave her determination to keep going. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

At 7:30 the 5K runners were summoned to the stage area, where Lemon James, a local Hendrix-style guitarist, performed the Star Spangled Banner ala Hendrix at the 1969 original Woodstock. It was interesting, but it felt strange standing with my hand over my heart while she went into wild improv riffs toward the end. Did those count as part of the national anthem? Was this really being respectful to our country? I decided to stop worrying and just go with the flow, an attitude that, as it turned out, would serve me well during the weekend.

“…Gave proof through the night that…that….that…” (We will return to our regularly scheduled melody after a brief detour to WTF-land.)

Then, after some explanation of the course to follow, including the “natural option” (more on this later), we gathered in the starting chute and off we went. The run itself was pretty uneventful, but I got to test my new headlamp (great) and check my shoe strategy. Since rain was forecast and I figured my shoes would be destroyed on the muddy trails, I chose to use an old pair of running shoes into which I’d put some foam inserts. They worked like a charm. All was set for Saturday morning. All I had to do was get myself out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to get there by the 6:00 starting gun.

And the excitement builds for the start of the Far Out 5K.

To Be Continued (including the teaser answers and more interesting stuff) . . .

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