Ran the Hawk Marathon course yesterday so I could have one of our cool finisher mugs. As RD for the Hawk Marathon, May 22, I didn’t get to run the race, but I wanted one. So I figured it would be ok to have one — if I went the 26.8 mile distance.
I made the same offer to all our members, with the “Hawk Marathon Makeup Run” set for yesterday at 7:30 am. Only had one taker, Mike Mehrwin. Amy Hearting, and a friend of hers, Josh, who works at the Merc, came out to do 15 miles with us. We got started at 7:38.
Weather was sunny and nice. Even though we’d had rain recently, the trails were in good shape. Even the Muddy Mile was less of a morass, and more clay-like. We took off at a relaxed pace, but I could tell Mike was having a bad day. We got to Lands End, about 6 miles and change in, and he said he was feeling bad.
He had a hot spot on his right foot, so I put a band-aid on it for him. He stayed with us, but decided to head back just after the 8-mile marker on white, dropping down to the blue-blazed trail for the 4-and-change return trip.
Amy, Josh and I continued on. Got water at the 9.5 mile mark, after asking permission from the nice guy in the camper who was parked on that spot and had a hose hooked up to the hydrant.
Amy and Josh dropped down to the blue-blazed trail for the 5-and-change run back to the start after going 10 on white, and I was solo. Made it out of the jungle and up to Bunker Hill, about 12 miles, where I took some pics. It’s hard to tell from photos, because of the perspective, but there really is a nice view up there.
Continued on into Cactus Ridge, which seemed to be blanketed in spider webs. Trails were way way overgrown in many places. The lopping Laurie “Pixie Hawk” Euler did out there in May for race prep has worn off evidently. That whole section is definitely a candidate for our next trail maintenance day.
Happily said goodbye to Cactus Ridge, and was soon at Swim Beach, which was entirely under water from the recent rains. The water not only covered the sand beach, but was way up on the concrete stairs leading down. I saw some swimmers — a man, woman and dog, and went down to blab with them for awhile. Was very tempted to jump in for a swim myself, but decided it would take too long. Stuck with trying to recruit them for the Trail Hawks.
Continued on the blue-blazed trail to the junction with the red-blazed shoreline trail. During the race, I had to reroute this section because of reports of high water on the red trail. I never got to see it, but was hopeful conditions on my run would be similar. I wasn’t disappointed.
Waded about midway. At the deepest point, the water was about halfway between knees and waist. Spent way too much time trying to take a pic of myself that also showed how deep the water was, but failed. I think I was really just trying to spend as much time in the water as I could. But not to worry — more water waited ahead.
Got off the red trail and went through Lands End without stopping. Soon I came to Mud Creek. Tony “Marine Hawk” Clark and I strung a hand line across the rain swollen creek back in May. The water, normally just over ankle-deep, was over waist-high on me then.
Today, it was practically at my throat. I had to stand on tiptoe to hold my hydration pack high enough to keep it out of the water. I was glad I’d left the hand line up all this time. The creek bottom was soft and mucky — kind of gross after the rocky bottom of the flooded red trail section.
Came out cooled off, anyway. It was around noonish, temps were rising, and I was about 20 miles into the run. Next major feature — a climb up Sanders Mound at 22.5 miles into the course. Then into the start/finish at 23.2 miles for a short break, and back out to do the 3.6-mile “Little Loop.”
About a quarter-mile before the cut-off to Sanders, the blue-blazed trail hits the shoreline for a little ways. Right before the race in May, I noticed that the lake had eroded the bank and was on the verge of taking a section of the blue trail. So Mike Goodwin of the Kansas Trails Council and I put in a new section about 10 feet inboard of the one in jeopardy.
As I ran past today, though, I saw the lake had not only completely taken out the old section we bypassed — it was on the verge of taking the new section we’d just put in!
Sanders Mound is a hill overlooking the lake, a half-mile from the blue trail on a little out-and-back through a grassy meadow. At the top, I met Anna, relaxing on the bench, enjoying the view. We chatted a little, and a tried to recruit her for the Trail Hawks, natch, and the Gal Gallop in particular.
As I headed through the meadow to Sanders Mound, another runner zoomed by me. Turned out to be a gent named Brad, from KC, out here to discover our trails. He’d been out about an hour.
I saw him again in the parking lot and — surprise! — tried to recruit him for the Trail Hawks. Took a photo, but it turned out he had his eyes closed, so I’m not putting it in this post. Come out for one of our runs, Brad, and I’ll get a better pic.
Anyway, sitting on the tailgate of my truck, drinking a Coke and eating a Clif Bar, I realized why some of the runners in the Hawk Marathon DNFed — it’s hard to get back up and go out for that little loop, after finishing the big loop, which ain’t easy.
Although that IS the point, isn’t it?
Anyway, I got back out on the trail at 2 p.m. sharp, Almost 6-and-a-half hours after starting. Didn’t take the camera for the Little Loop, because I didn’t want to get distracted by taking photos. The Little Loop goes out on the white-blazed trail 2.1 miles to Marina Road. There, the blue blazed trail is just a step away. You hop over onto it, and run back into the start-finish, another 1.5 miles.
Managed to get the 3.6-mile Little Loop done in 48 minutes, giving me a 7:10 marathon — definitely a PR for time spent on a marathon course!
And that’s how I got my Hawk Marathon finisher’s mug.
Now if I can just get the 50-miler finisher’s mug. That one’s really cool. Anyone want to join me for that?