Saturday, October 22, 2011

Styx and Stones 30K

Stopped and took a picture in the early morning.
Wish there was more room for camping.

The Styx and Stones 30K Trail Run was at beautiful Devil's Den State Park in Northwest Arkansas.  This is a beautiful location and the leaves are just beginning to turn.  I really enjoyed the 30K distance.  Unlike a 50K, I was not completely spent and felt like I had a lot left in the tank.  Furthermore, just as the day was really warming up, I could stop and relax.

The race was a real informal affair which I always like best but certainly the comptetition was not informal as the frontrunners took off at a good clip and began the first climb at a pace fast enough to get my heart pumping and fast enough to begin to warm up in the cool autumn air.

There were about a dozen horses that we passed on the way up the first climb so we stopped and walked cautiously around them.  They must have started early and many of the riders were as young as six.  It looked like fun and the scenery was beautiful.

Borrowed from the internet.  Pictures never do it justice.

Near the top of our first climb we came out over a cliff that overlooked the valley and other mountains.  It was spectacular.

This was my first trail race this fall and so I was really soaking it up.  After such a hot terrible summer, it had been since Bighorn and Grand Canyon that I had a really enjoyable trail running experience.  That was nearly four months ago and that is far too long.

Our front pack continued to move along at a good clip.  At times some younger runners would assume lead duties and push the pace.  I was more than happy to settle in behind them and let them lead the way though at times I did secretly wish for the pace to slow down a bit.

As we came out of mile 6 aid station, one of the younger runners fell off the pace and so it was just me and Stephen from Rogers, Arkansas.  He really pushed me the next four or so miles.  Around mile 10 I began to feel pretty good and so I continued to push the pace.  It just felt really good to run without pain and effortlessly over the very rugged and technical trail.

About two miles from the finish came "Hell's Half Mile".  This was a really fun section that was straight down over very large and sharp rocks.  It was fun and very challenging.  It also came at a nice point because by having to slow my pace to negotiate the treacherous terrain, it also enabled me to slow my heart rate down and finish the last two miles at a good clip.

This gives some indication of how technical the trail was.  Though
the Hell's Half Mile made this look like a paved sidewalk.

I finished first with plenty of energy which was good because as it turns out, Stephen was only five minutes behind me.

I'm ready for another big trail race but the next one is not until December.  Between now and then, I have the Tulsa Run, some smaller races, and then the Tulsa Route 66 Marathon.  I will have to wait until the Lovit Trail Marathon in December.  Certainly these beautiful fall and winter days of running are the best of all.

After the race, ready to enjoy a brew.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a gorgeous course. Congratulations on the first place finish!