Ran a trail race this past weekend. Similar to the Ugly Mudder I ran last year. But on different trails and without the sheet of ice. Funnily enough, there were times during this race – during the really rocky sections – I was almost wishing for that ice again.

Caught a ride to the Chilly Cheeks race with Erin (member of the running group) and a friend of hers (Katie) since my car is acting funky. This would be the longest Katie had ever run and the first time on a trail. What a way to initiate her.

When we were pulling in to the parking area of the race we saw this old(er) guy running down the hill, stiff-legged and with his head leaning to his right. Erin made the comment, “Well if he can run this race, I certainly can do it.” We all agreed.

At the start of the race I got behind a guy I recognized from last year. I ran behind him for a little while in the Mt. Penn Mudfest. How did I recognize him from behind? Let’s just say he had a unique running gait. When I saw him last year, it was at the end of the 9-mile race so I figured he was just tired. Not so. I was behind him at the beginning of this race and he ran exactly the same way….legs flailing every which way, no control over where he placed his feet, ankles turning. Holy cow…this guy was going to hurt himself! I passed him as soon as possible before he did a face plant.

The race was a real hoot. Most of the trail was lightly snow covered. Some was just leaf covered. There were two sections of the trail that were so steep we had to crawl up on all fours. And then there was Mt. Whadafug. That’s as in Whadafug was I thinking when I signed up for this race! Part of the time during the run I was imagining Ron Horn (race director) sitting at the bar with a few beers in him, talking with his cronies, saying, “Hey man, let’s create a race that people have to be really stupid or on a lot of drugs to run. Remember that bank that Joe tried to sled down and broke both his legs? Let’s have them run up that. Oh yeah, and you know that three quarters of a mile long area with the rock slides? That’ll be great at about mile 6 when they’re really tired. Yeah. And let’s have the race go uphill the entire time. Ya think anyone will be dumb enough to run it?”

Apparently, there were. 400 of us. I had a comedian following me for a little while. Heading up Mt. Whadafug, he said something about the Sherpas that were supposed to have stashed some oxygen at the top for us. Later he asked us if we saw the “March of the Penquins” and then reminded us that half the penguins die in the movie.

At about mile 6 the old stiff-legged guy with his head leaning to one side passed me. So much for appearances. But I managed to pass him before the end on a rocky downhill section.

So there were rocks, steep hills, a mountain, snow, tree roots, tripping, falling, sliding, etc., but the biggest obstacle was the cold. It was 16 degrees out with a realfeel temp of 1. The cold itself wasn’t bad. It was the effects of the cold, namely a nose running faster than I was. If I was in danger of dehydration it was from the all the snot and the watering eyes, not from the sweating underneath the 3 layers of clothes. Thankfully I had absorbent gloves on. Gross, I know. But what were we to do? Politely step off the trail, dig out a tissue, blow our nose, and then get back in line? Not. And taking your eyes of the ground for even a second to fish out a tissue while running meant filling your gloves with grit and and getting bloody knees.

So, we finished the race with only slight trail rash on our butts and knees, gobbled down some eggs, pancakes, and bagels at the finisher’s breakfast, and headed back to Annville. We compared snot stories in the car and then sang to the radio the rest of the way home.