The trail head was about an hour away so we got there pretty early. Got checked in and then hit the head -- meaning woods. I'll take the woods over port-o-johns any day. The woods are WAY more sanitary and really, if somebody gets an eye full of my merchandise then good for them. (sidenote, my girlfriend in the pink waited in line and it took her ~15 minutes. My trip - less than 5. more sanitary and faster. no-brainer for me. everytime, even at road races I always manage to find a bush no pun intended.)
Anyways, the only downside to my 'woods are superior to port-o-johns' theory was that on my way to the woods I walked through a ditch that turned out to be about 6" deep of muck. One foot got it.
The course was a 5 mile loop. There were three options: 5 miles, 10 miles, 30 miles. I had two loops to complete. It was MUDDY. fun muddy. Supper muddy. fun muddy. The first loop was good. No problems. My calves and the general surrounding lower leg parts were tired from all the maneuvering and gradient changes. Hopping around trying to avoid roots and downhill mud slides that would love to do nothing but make you fall on your ass and slide down.
The second loop was a little more challenging. Up in the north our sun sets early in the winter. As in by 5 pm it's dark. Knowing this, I brought my headlamp, but because I'm a moron I didn't put it on. When I was coming through for my second loop I thought about putting it on and actually started heading for the parking lot but a few feet into it I changed my mind and decided I was going to keep going and get it over with. Idiot.
By mile 6 I was famished. I had 2 shot blocks with me (one of which I took at mile 5) and I was fading fast. I was trying to keep pluggin' along to beat the daylight but I was tired and hungry and bottom line - lazy. It was a training run and in all honesty, I wasn't taking it very seriously. By mile 7 it was getting dark very fast and every time somebody passed me with a headlamp I would try to hold their heels as long as possible but those ultra-freaks were fast. Too fast for me.
I was trying to run for a mile and then walk for a few seconds. Some parts I had to walk because they were too gnarly and it was too dark. Lots of roots and technical terrain to deal with. I was worried about injury. Plus, you couldn't tell if that was a pile of mud or a pile of steaming horse shit. (it's not called "bridle trails" for nothing - the trial is surrounded by beautiful horse stables). Anyways, since it was dark I couldn't a)see my garmin to tell me what mile I was on and b)see the trial to determine what part of the trail I was on. They started to put glowsticks up on the trail about every 50 feet to keep us on track but it wasn't really lighting the way. More like guiding me in the general direction.
I finally made it to the finish.