Muddy Sneaker 20K

Two weeks, 20ish miles, and one DNS after my accidental 50k; I'm checking in for a race that had me more terrified than any since my first triathlon.  This is Goose Adventure Racing's legendary Muddy Sneaker 20k. Gobs of friends see the terror in my eyes and try to buoy me up with encouraging words like "mile for mile, this is is harder than Sehgahunda".  It isn't working. Why am I terrified? Lower leg trouble (to paraphrase an erstwhile candidate for NY governor, my calves are too darn tight) has kept me off of hill work for months, and heights give me the screaming heebie-jeebies.  In fact, I know for a fact that if you look at my performance, you can see my pace drop and heart rate spike each time we got near the edge. Where was I, oh yes, terrified. Was I going to fall to my death? Was my calf going to explode climbing out of Conklin?

The quick answer is no to both. Slightly longer answer, the terror of the gorge was overwhelmed with thankfulness that I was on single track, and while I felt every muscle, tendon, and ligament from my knee on down through my foot; nothing exploded, and except for running out of energy after the steeps but before the finish, life was beautiful.

Even longer answer.  The single track parts of the course are beautiful, and if it weren't for the impending doom to the right, it would deserve 13 thumbs up. Side note, I've put some 2000 miles of trail running in since I started running, and yet Medved's beginning course they are giving right now was immensely helpful those first two miles. The jeep trails are long and ugly and a relief to be off of. The volunteers and workers are beyond cool. I don't know what I've done to deserve to be known by sight by them, but there is something reassuringly Cheers theme song-y about that. The after party was delightful, and I really appreciated how as each finisher came in, all business stopped and attention switched to that person and cheering them in. That is how you create a community.

So, Muddy Sneaker is not as terrifying as I'd built up in my head. At no moment was it egregiously sadistic like some course designs. At all moments, the community strive to make it an enjoyable experience. Injinji socks are so the bomb dot com.  My beloved Peregrine 6s that I got just 2.5 weeks ago have already toe popped on both sides, and that makes me sad.  My pocket book is not ready for a $1.50 a mile running habit.