Planet Adventure Eagle Creek Trail Marathon Race Report – Part 1

I spent yesterday at an event just outside of Indianapolis – the Planet Adventure Eagle Creek Trail Marathon!  Here is Part One of what turned out to be a fantastic day…

ECtrail2

About a month ago, I was looking for an organized race to run in the month of August to use for a tune-up race for my 50 miler next month.   Seeing as I knew I was going to being doing this race solo, I wanted something somewhat close, within the first two weeks of August, it had to be a trail race, and preferably full marathon or 50k.  Not too much to ask, right?

Well, lucky for me, right outside Indianapolis a fabulous race was being held on 3 August.  I had been looking at the race earlier in the year, and thought “Hmm…that sure looks nice!” and promptly filed that away for a “potential race.”  Turns out as I was now looking for a race, I revisited it, and it matched every criteria I needed, so I went ahead and signed up!

After a few sweltering (and muggy.  Ewww) weeks in early July, the last week or so has been unseasonably mild and very un-Mid West like. (read: very little humidity.  Praise the Lord!)  I had been watching the weather the previous week, but we all know that is about as reliable as letting a 4 year old predict the weather.  (Although I imagine they’d actually be *more* accurate.  You know, since park play time rides on the weather, I imagine they’d be pretty in tune with that sort of thing.)  I digress…  I was hoping the temps wouldn’t be too hot. There was a chance for rain, but I decided not to get too worked up over this.

The night before, I carefully planned my “driving to the race” playlist on my iPod.  Hits included Frightened Rabbit, Blue Oyster Cult, Pitbull, Sigur Ros, and One Direction (yup, I just put that out there for all the world to see) to name a few.  Race clothes (with backups!) and shoes (again, with backups!) were laid out, and I had an entire Tesco shopper bag full of gels, chews, bars, HEED, Perpetuem and salt tabs.  In the off chance my marathon turned into an expedition on Everest or I was stuck in Indiana when the zombie apocalypse started, I was set.

Before heading to bed early, I set my alarm for 0305, figuring I’d take a quick shower and be out the door by 0400. The race started at 0730, with packet pick-up from 0630-0710 (packet pick up was offered the night before, but alas, I didn’t want to make the 2 ½ hour drive and stay overnight to get my packet, so I decided to leave the morning of.  I mean, come on!  I’m an early bird, so leaving early would be no big deal.)  Long story short, I knew I was going to have a long day on my hands.

Cue to race morning.  I woke up at the fabulous time of 0220 am.  AWESOME!  So, rather than torture myself and lay there for another 45 minutes, I opted to rise and shine.  The first thing my morning brain registered was the sound of rain.  POURING rain.  Ok, I thought, I am probably in for a muddy run.  It would be good practice!  I went about my morning routine, a little excited because I had extra time to enjoy a chai tea and surf the web.  Bad idea.  I dinked around a little too long, and by the time I needed to leave (actually, already a little later than planned, as it was 0410) I HAD. TO. USE. THE. POTTY.  Oh dear.  I gave myself a quick turn in the WC here at home, but after no luck, I figured I’d just use the race facilities (or a rest stop) as I had to leave.  It was now 0420.  Two and a half hours would put me getting there at 0650.  Right.  Got it.

Has anyone else realized that the 70 to Indy in a perpetual state of construction?!?! I am bopping along to my playlist with a full playlist, a full bladder, a full bowel and I am running late. And this was before the 55 speed limit in the road works zones.  OY.

Well, thankfully Ms. GPS didn’t steer me wrong, and (thankyougod) I was able to pull up and get a parking spot not too far from the start area. And there was even a gorgeous rainbow!  This must be a good sign!

ECrainbow

I raced to the packet pick up area, and as I ran back to my car, I overheard someone saying that this event had run out of water in the past. (for the record, this DID NOT happen. The aid stations were well stocked and fluids were plentiful.) Not knowing what to expect, I switched from my handheld bottle to my Nathan hydration pack.  Just to be on the safe side.

There were port-a-johns near the start (6 of them, for 650 participants + spectators and volunteers) but, sneaky me had noticed a few on the other end of the event lot that I thought I would hit.  With 20 minutes until start time, and having witnessed the lines to the toilets when getting my bib, I thought I’d go the road less traveled. I was feeling quite smug – I mean, here I had found 2 EMPTY port-a-johns with NO LINES!!! – until I learned the hard lesson of “if it looks to good to be true…” when I noticed said toilets were empty with no line because they were locked.  Phooey.

So, off I go, running now toward the race start.  I got in line, doing that nervous little jumpy routine, because a) I had to GO and b) the race was going to start and I was probably #15 in line for the toilets.  Despite my fears of being stuck in line (or worse, mid-use!) when the gun went off, to my relief the line went faster than I expected and it was finally my turn. Just as I was settling myself in the loo, the first notes of the National Anthem started.  Go ahead and judge me. There was something irreverent about, well, dropping a bomb of my own as the “bombs bursting in air” line came up, but what could I do?

Business taken care of, I hot footed it over to the start, with about two minutes to spare.  *whew*

Part 2 is coming at you tomorrow.  Mud!  Deer!  Rocks and roots!  Oh my!

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