Fourteen of us trail running weekend warriors drove 1-1/2 hours to run the Chilly Cheeks 7.2 mile Trail Race.
Now while I have run 7 miles+ numerous times, I have NEVER, and I mean NEVER ran a harder 7.2 mile course in my life! This course was insane!
First, let me tell ya, this race director has had a few too many German Ginger Ales in his life! He has some wit and it was evident from the pre-race emails, to his pre-race speech, and his markings all over this course.
When the race started, it started much like any other race. After about a 1/4 mile, you realized, this wasn't your normal race. Check out the picture below, and you'll see what I mean!We hung a right, and climbed up a hill, that there wasn't any clear cut trail! I was thinking"Oh brother, what have I got myself into??!!".
There were times in this race, that you had to walk. The incline and foot traffic was soo much, you had no choice but to walk. Again, this was a first, hundreds of "runners" walking, because you had too! Most of this course, was next to impossible to pass other runners. It seemed as soon as you got your legs & wind back, and started to get into a running flow, a nasty hill forced you to almost a stop, and you were walking again. This sure wasn't a course you would set a PR at, that's for sure.
Around the 4-1/2 mile mark, in the middle of nowhere, there was the 2nd and final water stop, and it wasn't just water... you had cups of Yuenling beer available! I passed on the beer, but did grab a water, and a picture.There were times that I wanted to rip the camera out and take some pictures, but you needed you hands to grab onto trees, branches, rocks, whatever would help you climb up an icy, snow covered trail. I think they were trails!
Well, when we passed a big orange #6 spray painted on the snow, it was a welcome site. I knew it wouldn't be long, but I tell ya, it felt like forever, kinda like the last few miles of the Philly Marathon. OH did I mention there were more hills to climb?
Check out this picture of the last hill.
I hope that picture does this hill justice. It was steep, and you had a crowd cheering you on, from above. I swear it sounded more like they were laughing at us, bunch of loons running, or more like climbing!
When I got to the top of this hill, I was wiped out. I thought it was the end, but quickly realized I had about another 100 yards to go, to the finish.
It was a great experience. I will probably do one again, but I found it hard to get a rhythm going. Congrats to all who ran and finished!
Here is my time, according to the garmin. Again, this really wasn't about a time, it was more about the experience, and finishing.
1:20:20 (11:55 min/mile)
Best I could figure, I finished around 160th out of about 400+ runners.
** The results were up on the Pretzel City website, and they had 495 people register, 470 start, and 462 finish. I was 161st.**