Sunday, September 26, 2010

2010 Run Woodstock Race Report

This weekend, I drove up to Pinckney, Michigan to spend a fun-filled weekend with my old college buddy, Farley and his equally awesome wife, Jessica. This was going to be Farley's first 1/2 Marathon, and I was so excited for him. Jess was there to support Farley and she was also volunteering to work the registration booth on Saturday morning. They've ran a handful of 5k's this summer, and Farley was ready to try the longer distances; his longest run before this weekend was 7.5 miles! He was almost doubling it this weekend and I was going to help him. :) I told him that if he signed up for a 1/2 marathon, I'd come run it with him. He did, so I kept my word and drove up to join him. I'm so happy that I did too because it was a blast and we had some really good times this weekend!

Jessica, Me, & Jamie (ie. Farley)

Farley is an old-school cross country runner in high school. He just recently picked running back up, and was about ready to give up on it because he got nasty shin splits. He found that running barefoot fixes his problem. He's a true minimalist and he has really had some great success with barefoot running. It goes without saying that we both wore our VFF's for this run.

What is RunWoodstock?
He couldn't have picked a better 1/2 Marathon for his first! This was one of the hippest... OK, it IS the hippest running event I've ever been to. The entire theme was "Peace, Love, & Running". The race coordinators did awesome to try and mimic the groovy vibes felt at the actual 1969 Woodstock Festival in Woodstock, NY. When live music wasn't being played on the main stage, there were old recordings from the original Woodstock event blasting through the amplifiers (Hendrix, Joplin, etc..). "Can you dig it, man?"

Tie-dye could be seen everywhere, fresh hotdogs could be purchased for $1.50 (we had a few), and people were just sitting around chilling all night long. The entire campground was filled with campers, tents, and runners everywhere. At times it was hard to believe that we were here for a running event. Music (literally) filled the campground at all times. I can dig it, man!

What made this event even more special is that there are distances for every type of runner:
  • Far Out 5k
  • Trip'n 10k
  • Flower Power 5 mile
  • Hippie 1/2 Marathon,
  • Mellow Marathon
  • Freak 50K
  • Peace, Love, and 50 miles
  • Long Slow Distance (LSD) 100K
  • Hallucination 100 miles
If you enjoy running (no matter what distance), I highly recommend this event. Before and after the race, it feels more like a music festival; there was live music at all times. The music was split between various artists and they were all very entertaining. The Hell Creek Campground was great as well. The bath house was nicely kept, and the there was a huge stage right in the middle of campground for live entertainment. The campground is privately owned by a very nice family. Since it was privately owned, we were able to bring out own drinks and walk around the campground with open containers like a real music event. :) It was great to walk around the campgrounds with our bottles of beer, meeting other runners while enjoying the live music after the sun went down.

Live music at the campground

Here we are enjoying the music Friday night

As for the actual race, it was also top notch. The volunteers were great, the aid stations were stocked with munchies, and the course markings were spot on. Apparently, some of the runners complained about the course markings, but I thought they were stellar! At no time did I feel lost or question where I was supposed to go. The course was flat at parts, and hilly at other spots. It was a nice mix and quite challenging at times.

Friday Night
I worked a 1/2 a day on Friday and was in my car, Michigan-bound, by 3pm. The drive up was very uneventful. I arrived at Hell Creek Ranch and met up with Farley and Jess. They helped me set up my tent, and then we walked around the campgrounds drinking beer and listening to music. It was kind of eerie seeing the 100 milers come through the campground.

Tents all setup

They started their race at 4:30pm and would be running all night. I can't imagine how hard it would have been to come through a full-blown party spot like this and then have to go back into the woods at night for another 3 hour loop. Each time a 100 miler came through, everybody would cheer them on, and then it was back to the music and good times. Me, Jess, and Farley sat around and drank beers and ate some munchies til about 11pm before calling it a night.

Finish line at night

Saturday Morning
The alarm went off around 6:30am and we woke up and got ready for the race. Jess wasn't running the race, but she was volunteering at the registration. Therefore, she was up and at 'em by 5am this morning! Phew!? Farley and I got to sleep in for an extra hour and a half. We were ready to go and we hit the starting line without 5 minutes to spare for our 7:30am start.

Starting Line of the 1/2 Marathon

As we started the race, the runners all came to a screeching halt as we entered the woods. Apparently there were more registrants for the 1/2 marathon than any other race, and it was obvious once we got to the single track and we were all standing around for about a full minute until we the runners were able to spread out on the single track.

There were lots of up and down sections through the horse trail, then it opened up onto a nice flat service road for about 2-3 miles. At the end of this section there was a turn around and then we jolted off the path back into the woods. From there, it was mostly single track wooded trail sections til the end. There were a few sections of sandy terrain, and a few muddy areas.

Here is a little video interview that I did with Farley. I was playing with my camera and decided to post it here on the blog. Check out Farley's stride, he is built for this stuff:

Towards the end of our run we came into this huge pine area that had everybody talking. It consisted of a nice pine-needle bedded trail nestled in these enormous pines that stretch way up into the sky. It was very peaceful in here and made running very easy.

Peaceful trail section...

Action shot in the pines

Farley running through the pines

After the pine section, we did a quick "bow-tie" loop through more beautiful pines that went down a nice steep decline. The ascent wasn't as bad, as it was less of a grade than the descent. Once we came of the little loop, we only had about another mile or two until the finish.

The finish was great, the trail opened back up into the campground, and the campers were all cheering as we came down the lighted tunnel to the finish line. Of course, Jess was still working her volunteer shift, and she snapped a few pictures of us coming across the finish line.

Farley kicked butt today for his first 1/2 Marathon! He looked like he could have easily run more miles if he had too. Our times were:
  • Luc - 2:38:50
  • Farley - 2:38:52
After the race, Farley and Jess and I all headed into Hell, Michigan and ate at Hell in a Handbasket. We got pizza and pop. There was a "Hike to Hell" that left the campground a while before and they were arriving right after we ordered. Runners were taking over Hell!!

Hell in a Handbasket

After we ate, we headed back to the campground, where Jess and Farley decided to lay down and take a nap in their tent. I decided to hop in my car and drive around the Pinckney area. I went looking for some public parks to maybe sit on a bench by a lake and chill out for a while. I came across two parks, but both were asking me to pay money before entering. If I had more time to kill, I would have paid, but I was only looking to kill about 30 minutes to an hour. I didn't feel that $8 was a good price to pay to spend 30 minutes in a public park... I decided to just drive around some more with my windows down and look at all the beautiful houses by the lakes. The Pinckney area is a beautiful area!

When I got back, we hung out for a while, and then Jess decided she was going to head back home and leave us boys to hang out for the rest of the day. We did just that. We drank beer, ate some lasagna, drank more beer, listened to music, and talked with lots of other runners. Farley actually recognized a guy that he knew on the Huaraches Google Group, named "last place Jason". He's a big minimalist activist and Farley went up to introduce himself. We stood around and talked to him for about 10-15 minutes and he seemed like a really cool guy. He hosts all kinds of barefoot clinics in the Grand Rapids area and it was real nice talking with him. The rest of the day was pretty lazy. I recognized a few people from previous races, and we met quite a few others as we stood around killing time.

Night Run
Around 7:30pm, the Trip'n 10k started. This was a night run through the woods, with a twist... Some runners would be able to turn off the course into a heated tent, where they would then be able to "get free" with other runners and run through the woods "au naturelle". Surprisingly, a lot of people did this!?

Trippin 10K Starting Line

Farley and I decided to walk the 10K course. However, once we got about 2 miles into it, Farley's knee was acting up, so we called it quits after 3 1/2 miles and came back to the campground. When we got back, we stood around the fire pit and talked with various other runners. We drank a few more beers and munched on some hot dogs. It got pretty rowdy after a while, but it was all in good fun. :)

Sunday Morning
After an "interesting" night on the campgrounds, we woke up around 8am and got packed up. We said our "later bro"'s then headed our separate ways. I had a 4+ hour drive ahead of me, and Farley had about an hour drive ahead of him.

Brother Farley & Brother Luc

Congrats on an awesome (and technical) first 1/2 marathon, Farley! Heal up fast and "keep on keepin' on". :) I already can't wait for next years event...


Unknown said...

Sounds like an awesome event! I can't wait to hear more about what the "interesting" evening consisted of! HA!

Clara said...

I think I saw you out there post-race while I was freezing and trying to eat some food. Glad you guys had a fun weekend!

Jamie Farley said...

Well done sir! We had a great time and thanks again for coming up to run this thing with me. Can't wait until we have some more running adventures!

Luc said...

Dan - It's a good story...

Clara - Thanks for the comment and congrats on the 100 mile finish! It appears that you know many of the same people I know. :) Maybe we'll cross paths soon.

Farley - You rocked it! Let's do it again soon. :)

Randy said...

Thanks for a freakin stellar race report! As the race director for this love and sweat fest I can only think ... thank you man!

Peace Out,

Head Shop, Head Goat

Luc said...

Randy - For sure man. :) Thanks for a great race. I hope to be back up there in the near future. I may even do the hallucination hundred next year (we'll see how my 1st attempt at the Mohican 100 goes this year). Peace out. See you soon.

RunJunkee said...

I'm looking at doing 50 mile, as my first, next year. Thanks for taking the time to put this report together.