Posted by: thehungryrunner | July 15, 2008

Mud, Water, and Muddy Water: My report of the XTERRA Renegade Trail 10K Race

XTERRA Renegade Trail 10K
July 12, 2008, Deer Grove Forest Preserve, Palatine, Illinois

Smush, smush, smush…..Crunch, crunch, crunch…..Plesh, plesh, plesh…….

Evamarie and other runners just after the start of the race

Evamarie and other runners just after the start of the race

If I had to sum up my XTERRA Renegade (me??? a renegade???? COOL!) 10K, it was the sounds of runners’ feet as we plotted back and forth between crushed gravel trails and the seemingly endless supply of mud and water puddles, fortified by a LOOOONG and soaking thunderstorm that only finally stopped about 10 minutes before race time.

I have to admit, there is something awfully satisfying in surrendering to the muck; becoming wet and dirty wasn’t an “if” but a “how soon.” Still, not even the mischievous bliss of sloshing and splashing could completely distract one from the demands of the hilly terrain on still-groggy hamstrings.  Note to self: need more hill repeats.  And more than a half a cup of coffee beforehand.

Caffeine-deprived though I was, I must admit, the Goody Bag for this event proved a prominent “carrot stick” to get me through the rough patches:  on top of the usual freebies with such events, the bag itself is a recycled tote/shopping bag from Whole Foods, and the t-shirt is organic cotton.  Can’t top that!

Some random observations:

— Despite our all having completely wet feet right off the bat – the very first stretch was in deeply puddled grass before we entered the trail, you still found yourself negotiating each puddle and mud swamp for the “highest/driest” ground.

— Based on the above, I quickly determined that my only real goal was to a) not slip and fall on my back in the mud (I had this picture of an epic pileup, football-style, with me on the bottom!), and b) not to sprain an ankle on the uneven terrain, protruding roots, etc. Mercifully, both goals were met, but the cost was a much slower pace, to accommodate the prancy-dance I found myself performing through much of the course.

— At some point while in the thick of the woods, I convinced myself that I was the caboose. I wasn’t by a long shot, but it seemed there wasn’t a slow-moving RENEGADE (still milking that word!) in the bunch — definitely a hard-core sampling of runners.  Which is good for me; a reality check that I’m far from at my peak, plenty of hard work left for me to do here.

— In the initial pack, the serpentine trail felt much like a roller coaster: we would run down hill and then around a corner, and because we were clustered in a long line, I felt the same “Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!” welling up that you do on a roller coaster, right down to leaning “into” the turn. I’m just glad I managed to refrain from actually yelling aloud, or even throwing my arms up into the air!

In summary, THIS was fun! I definitely want to do more of these trail races.  Bonus: A long, hot shower feels even better when it’s rinsing off caked mud!



  1. Great report! Aren’t trail runs awesome?! (~simonssez from rwbf)

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