This will be long, but that’s to be expected for a race that lasted more than 12 hours.
The KT82 was an awesome race and I ran it with a bunch of awesome people and today I am more sore than I’ve ever been from any of the races I’ve done in my life. I’d do it again.
My team, Woody’s Wonderkids, met in the parking lot of Kohl’s at 270 and Olive at 5:30am. My college friend Paul Woody was our captain and I’d met Gina before but I was meeting TJ, Kim, Donna and her husband Mike (recruited to drive the van) for the first time. We loaded into the van and drove to Parkway North High School for our 6:15am start.
Kim, TJ, Paul, Donna, Gina, me
Rain was in the forecast (it had already been raining in south city) and as we waited for Gina to start it began pouring. So we huddled under a tent with the organizers and random members of the other 15 or so teams with our start time.
Still, we preferred rain to hot sun so it was fine. At 6:15am sharp the first members of the teams to run were released and we cheered as Gina ran around the track, through a grassy area, and towards the Katy Trail.
The rest of us headed to the van and drove to exchange 1, the Lakehouse Bar & Grill.
We were using the Find Friends iPhone app to track Gina so we had an idea of when she’d arrive. However after many minutes of her appearing to be right there but us not seeing her, we realized she’d left her phone in the van so it wouldn’t get wet. LOL. So we just guessed at her arrival time, and soon she finished her 2.29 miles and handed off to Paul.
Paul was off to do his 3.93 miles and we all got in the van and drove to exchange 2, 364 Access. While waiting for him people used the port-a-potties and walked around. Of course it began pouring on us as we stood outside, so we ran back into the van and drove closer to the exchange spot. When his Find Friends dot was close to us (and he actually had his phone :)) we got out to cheer him and TJ, our next runner, on.
The timing chip was in the orange slap bracelet.
As TJ ran to Greens Bottom Road Trail Head, we drove there.
Paul changed and I began eating snacks. It was only about 7:45am but I’d gotten up at 4am so I was hungry again (I ate my normal bowl of honey nut cherrios at 4am). I figured I should just eat and drink all day, so that’s what I did.
TJ handed off to Donna after 3.20 miles.
Donna’s leg was 7.25 miles, so once we arrived at MO Research Park/Busch Greenway, we had some time to relax.
I used a disgusting port-a-potty (to be expected at an event with lots of runners) then waited with the team for Donna to come in. Kim was up next for her 4.72 mile leg off the Katy Trail and onto a trail through the woods.
We went back to the van and discovered one of the two sliding doors (that were both a challenge to shut) was no longer operable due to the handle breaking off in TJ’s hand. We had the Little Miss Sunsine van. It was pretty perfect for a team of sweaty runners, though, and with some finagling TJ got the door shut and we drove to the Lewis & Clark Trail Head, where I’d finally get to run!
I was very excited to be assigned this 5.73 mile leg. I’d looked into hiking at this very spot earlier this year but didn’t end up going.
While I waited for Kim to emerge from the woods I watched other people come out completely covered in mud (it had been raining the previous day and this morning). Lots of people had fallen in it; one girl was bloody. Then a volunteer informed the people waiting to run that there’s a staircase about two miles in so be extra careful. Huh. I’d previously wondered if a leg labeled “difficult” meant lots of uneven trail footing or changes in elevation. Turns out it meant that, plus the unexpected gift from Mother Nature of lots and lots of mud.
Leg 6 started out innocently enough.
Then I started seeing muddy spots.
This is fine, I thought, I’ll just do a little bit of weaving and stay on solid footing. And then…
Neat. Giant patches of mud and water covering the trail. I still made an attempt to gingerly step on the less wet parts (LOL) but the ground felt loose everywhere so my pace slowed dramatically.
Then the trail started going downhill. Thankfully the mud was sporadic but I did have to slow to find good footing and not roll down the hills. I feel like I’m underselling the elevation by using the word hills, because this is what I was dealing with.
When I reached the first dip in elevation I immediately had to go back up.
I mean, come on! As I told my team, this would have been a challenging hike, but running up a trail made of rocks and roots–what!? A girl passed me up this hill, running the whole time. I walked a good bit of this. It was like stairs.
Speaking of, stairs!
Despite the volunteer’s warnings, these stairs were the least of my problems. At least they were downhill and dry.
More people passed me on the downhill. Shirt off = very fast.
In the woods I was often alone, which was fine, I didn’t want any witnesses if I fell, but there were also plenty of volunteers. They pointed out the safest places to step and the correct direction to go. Two of the women told me when I was almost out of the woods, which was very motivating. (I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it was dry.)
At around the 3.1 mile mark I reached the point where the wooded trail meets the Katy Trail. It was so steep and slick I had to literally climb out of the woods using a rope the volunteers had tied to a tree. I wish I had a picture of that craziness but I was too focused on plowing through.
I popped out on even, dry, ground.
Roughly 296 people passed me on this section. I did pass one guy though! But the people who passed me were super fast–the later starting super fast teams had caught up.
I was so spent from the wooded section that it was extremely challenging to keep running. I did take some walk breaks. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw a crowd in the distance but my leg ended up shorter than advertised (no problem with that!) and I was relieved to slap the bracelet on TJ.
My pace was all over the place. My road pace does not translate to difficult trails.
I knew averaging over the 10:30/mile requirement could cause us problems later, especially since TJ was likely to face the same terrain I did.
I changed and found a live butterfly to wear as a broach.
Meanwhile, TJ suffered through his 5.73 mile run at the Weldon Spring Trail Head (although he said it was closer to 6 miles; he must have gotten my mileage).
Kim began her 4.43 mile run to Matson.
And just like that it was time for me to prepare to run again; I had leg 9 from Matson to Augusta. Between my legs I had a bunch of Gatorade, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a bunch of pretzel rods, a couple pickles, some coconut pieces, and a popsicle from the volunteers at Matson. Also during this time the sun decided to stay out for good, meaning it was a warm 73 degrees when I started at 1:18pm.
My route looked like some variation of this the whole time.
Pretty, yes, peaceful, yes, but oh my god was it monotonous. I’m thankful for the trees that made it mostly shady but it sure would have been nice to see something interesting. I did get a glimpse of the river at one point.
And there were volunteers at a water station and a crossing guard to stop traffic when the trail crossed the street but I saw no other runners, just bikers not involved with the KT82. This is one of the side effects of falling behind 10:30/mile team pace–everyone is ahead either by running or being asked to skip legs. I didn’t want that to happen to us so I pushed the pace, and even with some walk breaks I was so proud of my pacing for a mid day run.
I had been about to take another walk break when I saw Paul in the distance. That motivated me to run to the end.
We actually arrived just after the cut off time but the volunteer let Paul go anyway because he said he was going to make up some time.
Paul’s leg was 7.56 miles, so we had time to pause and enjoy the live band playing at the restaurant on the hill in Augusta.
I’ve been to Augusta years ago to a brewery and maybe also a winery but I forgot how quaint and adorable this area is. I’d like to come back when I’m not on an Amazing Race like timetable.
We drove through beautiful wine country on the way to the next exchange point and hoped Paul was able to enjoy the views of rolling green hills, grapes growing in vineyards, and endless skylines.
Apparently not. His route sounded like mine but longer and with sun the whole time. He was exhausted when he finished.
He did make up some time, though, and we were all very proud of our badass captain.
Donna took over at Dutzow (so many places I’ve never heard of) and we hoped she could make up some more time on her 3.78 mile leg. Unfortunately as we waited for her at Marthasville they began breaking down the signs and taking away the trash cans. We’d been experiencing this the past few legs but this time they also told us we had to skip two legs. We skipped two “easy” 3.50ish legs; one was TJ’s and one was mine. We were both spent and fine with the decision.
So we resumed on leg 14 at Treloar where Kim ran 4.17 miles to Gina at Bernheimer Road. Gina hadn’t run since 6:15am and was ready to go!
It was nice to be around other race participants again. Skipping legs was a good idea.
Kim, happy to be done for the day.
Gina headed off into what appeared to be a flat area.
But apparently that was a huge fake out because she said the whole 5.18 route to Lost Creek Winery felt uphill. It was a hilly area.
The winery was so cute. I’d like to come back here, and I’m indifferent to wine.
The end of Gina’s leg had her emerging from the depths of the earth.
There was a huge crowd behind us and they all cheered her up the hill. Paul was fortunate to get to run down the hill for his last leg, 3.42 miles.
He passed off to Donna at Case Road for leg 17.
And before we knew it, she was passing off to Gina at McKittrick for leg 18, the final 2.59miles to Hermann and the finish!
We drove past Gina; the last leg is on the shoulder of the road.
We parked and met up with Gina near the finish and then ran in together.
We couldn’t have done it without our awesome driver Mike and our 7th team member, the van.
Today I am sore in: my calves, my quads, my bum right hip flexor, my feet, and my entire back. I generally don’t have much soreness after races so this is pretty impressive! Even so I am looking back on the experience fondly. I love being part of a team and this one was so positive and hilarious that the sore muscles don’t even bother me. I hope we can do this race again next year!