In order to do this race, I had to plead with my stats professor to take my exam on Friday, and show up late for class. So, unfortunately, I had to miss the Friday night festivities. Hated that, but loved the opportunity to do my favorite race. The weather was perfect! I was better prepared this year than the previous two years, so I had aspirations of bettering my time, and my top secret aspiration was to place in the top three. Well, my first aspiration died quickly when I started hitting the mud. My shoe was sucked off, and it took me forever to recover it, then get it back on. I quickly realized, the course was a little more challenging than the last two years. I still started off too fast, Eric let me go and said he would catch me later, (and yes, he did catch me and passed me for good around mile 10). I twisted my ankle once, (not anything too bad, I recovered after about a mile), slipped but managed to somehow stay upright, and did lose my shoe once more. The water at one spot was mid thigh, and I don't know how that can be, because no one else seems to have stepped in water past their ankles. I can't tell all of you how much I enjoy the challenge of this race! The concentration and focus that is required to keep your footing, and the up and down of the terrain just makes it the perfect run for me. I always have difficulty understanding when runners say "just enjoy the run". Most of the time I push so hard, I feel like someone beat the life out of me when I finish a race. This type race is a physical and mental challenge. I can say, I pushed just as hard, but I truly "enjoyed the run". I am still jazzed. The cherry on the top of the pie, was that in this race I was the "official" first female. The fast people either stayed home, or they were the real studs and ran the 50K or 50mile. There was actually a lady that did finish this race ahead of me, but she dropped back from the 50K. It's all good though, because well, did I say how much I love this run? There were some Pacers at the race, and I will be interested in their responses to this race. Charles jumped in at the last minute, and this was the first time he has done this one. I don't think he was quite as excited about the whole trail thing. I finished in front of him, (which always makes me happy :) ) but he is coming off a marathon. (I will take it anyway). So, thanks to Elmer, Dennis, and everyone who volunteered. It was a great experience, as always. I look forward to next year, and who knows, I may someday bump up to the next level.

Catch all of you on the Run! Audrey