A few weeks ago, I decided to do the Run Toto Run 10 Mile/20 Mile/50K race that the Kansas City Trail Nerds organize each year in Wyandotte County Park in Kansas City, KS. Frankly, I've been finding it quite hard to stay motivated in my running. Especially on the weekends. Now that I don't have a marathon to train for (I have a half to prep for that's in May, but that's another entirely different story...), I'm just "whatever" when it comes to long runs. So I signed up for the 10 miler since it would keep me accountable. And besides, trail running is fun! It's all about the experience, the camaraderie, and accepting the fact that you'll inevitably fall at some point. But you just gotta "go with the flow."
All the (slightly) nutty folks gearing up for the race:
Weather conditions were incredibly gorgeous on this Saturday morning. Temps started in the 20F range, and quickly warmed up to around 40F. Hardly any wind chill was present, either. That presented a mixed bag, however, because while it was easy to warm up, the sun started melting the snow. Kansas and most of the midwest got quite a bit of snowfall in the last few weeks, and it hasn't gone away yet. So while the snow was packed down, it quickly turned into a skating rink under these conditions.
We're shuffling off to Buffalo...
Around the 3 mile mark, I found fellow runners I could keep easy pace with. Most of us were in the "let's walk this" category, mostly because the paths were slippery, and at some points, were either steep vertical climbs or downhills (and I mean REALLY steep - there was rope tied to a tree somewhere in the last half of the 10 miler). There were parts where I actually hoofed it, and quickly, though.
I don't want to sound callous, but I like passing people in races. Even on a "fun run" like this where time wasn't the goal, I feel good when I do this. And I did this a few times at this race. But there were lots of folks who passed me as well, so it all evens out.
Are we in Narnia? Photo courtesy of Dick Ross, SeeKCRun.
Strangely enough, I found this to be one of the easiest races I've done yet. I don't know if it's because I've become more comfortable with snow running, or because it's liberating NOT to run for a PR or a certain goal time. And I'm not going to minimize the challenges that this race posed. They were significant enough that one of the runners I was with slipped pretty hard, (I helped her get up, and while she may be black and blue later, she was able to run it OK the rest of the way). We had to tread very carefully at certain segments, too. But at the same time, it was so pleasurable to walk in the snow, and take comfort in knowing that crossing the finish line was going to feel like a million bucks.
As for my time, I clocked in at 2:46. In typical fashion, I forgot to turn on my Garmin at the race's start, so I'd covered nearly a mile before I'd realized the goof. Oh well. But I crossed the finish feeling like I'd barely done anything, LOL. Seriously, it's good to end a race not feeling all banged-up and tweaked. And as a matter of fact, I had enough of an appetite to enjoy hot coffee, Nutella sandwiches, lentil and chicken soup, and pretzels. I don't know about you guys, but after a race, I'm all about the salty snacks!
This was my first and last Run Toto Run race, since I won't be staying in Kansas. Who knows, though, maybe one day I'll be nuts enough to do its 50K some time. It was a well-planned and executed trail race, and if you're a Midwesterner endurance-weenie who wants a fun, challenging and friendly running experience, I totally recommend this. I loved every moment of it, even when I was slipping downhill.