Dances with Dirt #26

Dances With Dirt Marathon


I’ve been looking forward to this race all year! I was so excited to come back to Devils Lake! I even dragged along a few of my family members and friends to come with me. Last year I stayed over one night but I felt like I missed the after party. This year I demanded we make it a two night stay! We drove up late Friday afternoon. I remember the starting line being in the middle of nowhere and my memory was correct. We checked into our hotel, Devil's Head Resort, which was close to the start and finish line. After getting poured on while getting the packets, we went to the Broadway Dinner. Such a cute little place, one of my favorite places to eat at in Baraboo. I ordered a chicken wrap something filling but not to heavy and not to greasy. Race started at 6:15 am so we were calling an early night. My aunt and I were the only ones from our group participating in the marathon. So we got up and drove to the start line separately. The starting line was breath taking! 


Starting line temperature feels nice some could even say a bit cool. My goal is just to enjoy every second of this scenic race. I had no time goal in place and no other exceptions. It feels nice to have a race like that every once in a while, one without any expectations. The race is similar to the course I remember running last year.  Although it was 5 miles shorter than last year. I did the 50k this year but this year chose to do the marathon distance because my goal is to do 30 marathons before I turn 30. 


Within the first mile and half of the race I missed a step and I felt my ankle make three loud pops. So loud that 5 or 6 people around me asked if I was ok. Not going to try and say it didn't feel uncomfortable for a few minutes but I went on. It felt better as the time passed on. From participating in the past I know there is not many portopotties available on the course. So I made sure to use the campground restroom when we went by it. It was pretty humid outside but overcast, had it been sunny I would have been miserable. I decided to take off my tank top, leaving my skin unprotected and vulnerable to chafing which of course occured. In long trail races you have to check in at the aid stations that way they know you are not lost. We check into aid station 1 and head up towards the bluffs, my favorite portion of the race! 


When we get up to the bluffs I’m once again amazed at their beauty and splendor. I take every opportunity to take as many photos as possible. I hang out at the bluffs for a good 10-15 minutes and then move on. We head into the first out and back. We end up moving over to let 50kers and 50 milers through because the trail turns into a bit more rocky and the path narrows. I see some fellow birds and instagrams who are making amazing time on their 50ks.  


We make it down to the prairie section of the out and back. Stoping at this second aid station which I think is the biggest one. We see a familiar face it’s my dad! I start to feel myself get choked up but fight back happy tears. My dad got really sick this year. I spent so much time with him in the hospital and sometimes the journey felt overwhelming. I can't describe what it was like to see him unable to walk around and think how much he has recovered in even this past month to be able to make the trip to Baraboo. My dad gives me some hugs and kisses and I go on. Much needed moral support boost. We get back to the normal path. I tell my aunt that this is the part of the race that intimidates me from signing up for the 50 miler. If I signed up for the 50 miler I would have to do this portion twice. I've never raced that distance and I seem to be a bit of a wimp in the heat and humidity. 


We move on the the other out and back and I’m happy because I remembered the second out and back being a bit worst. It was rocky but I remembered going to down to a low point and we didn't have to do it thankfully for the marathon. Either my memory isn't right or that’s part of the 5 miles that’s get cut off the course. Maybe I'm a bit stronger which might have helped me out.


We make it back near the starting line and head out on the last 6.2 miles, also know as the white loop. I feel pretty victorious at this point until I got back to the campsite aid station. Then I remember we have the uphill battle to get back to the bluffs. The second time on the bluffs was difficult at this point, I felt pretty exhausted and horrible. I make it to the top of the bluffs and soak in this view one more time knowing I won't make it back here until 2019. 


With a few miles left, I know it necessary to dig deep here. I resist just walking back to the finish line and hunker down and give this marathon what I have left. The next miles are beautiful and peaceful. I can tell I'm getting closer and closer to the beginning . I'm head to the finish line with mixed emotions- happy to be off the trails and done running but sad because Devil's lake is so beautiful.  The finish line party is amazing so much food. I check in for the last time and figure out that I've come in 2nd place!!! I feel victorious and accomplished! My aunt and I enjoy the post race party food and beer included they have a porter beer which I’m a fan of. We finish our food and meet back up with our family!


Back at the hotel we exchange stories with my mother and sister glad to hear about their adventure. They also loved the bluffs. I'm just so excited that everyone who came had an enjoyable experience and plans to attend next year. Some of the highlights of this race was besides the scenic view, is Detailed the race staff is with this event. The trail is very well marked. All the aid stations had an ample amount of food. However I think this might be according to your distance your race, my mother and sister both told me there was no food on the 10k course. Also, the volunteers and staff are very passionate about this race and are dedicated to making it an amazing experience. Every trail I run I feel myself becoming more of a trail runner, I Can't wait until I'm back in 2019. Who know maybe I'll even sign up for the 50 miler!

Which do you prefer trail or road races?