This has been on my mind for quite some time. A few friends and myself prjected this route in August to work out the aid stops and to gather the gpx info to submit for the route. Today I ran that route to submit as an FKT. I learned alot from this run.
My plans to have a pacer meet me at the Burr Oak Nature Center fell through due to an injury mid-week. I ran entirely alone. A bittersweet experience and one that yeilded many lessons of its own.
The day I had planned to run was yesterday. Lesson learned, always have a back up plan in case of bad weather. Saturday brought rain and moderate wind, whereas Sunday was dry and little wind. Although the temp Sunday was 40 degrees instead of 54, the lower temp was a welcome addition. I chose to run Sunday.
I started the run a few minutes after 6:00am and all was going extremely well. My first two stops, number one at the Wildcat Hollow trailhead and the second at the point Wildcat Hollow intersects Chapel Hill Rd. were great. I was ahead of my calculated time, felt good and was eating a drinking well. After that stop at Chapel Hill Rd., I was not able to eat at my regular intervals. For the next 18ish miles, I was only able to eat a bite of a waffle or take an extrememly small amount of a gel. The minute I tried to eat, I started to get an upset stomach. Closest I've come to actually getting sick on the trail. Running for that amount of time without sufficient nutrition was not a pleasant experience. At the Nature Center stop, I was able to get some applesauce down, and started to feel better. From then on out, I was filling my vest with snack size applesauce instead of gels or waffles.
I finally hit a another good stride during the last 3 miles from Tom Jenkins Dam to Dock 4 ,to the finish and was able to stop the watch at my goal time of 9:00:00. Ok, technically 9:00:01, but I'll take it.
You will see that I did not start the run at what you might think a typical start/stop point. When I projected this run, we started at the Burr Oak beach for one main reason. If someone were to travel from out of town and stay at the park, they would easily have a place to park. However, anyone traveling in for just the day (in regular times without COVID-19) may have trouble finding parking, except the beach. There is always ample parking there and the trail runs through the upper end of the beach parking lot making easy access. It's also easier to find than Wildcat Hollow. In December, the beach is closed, so in order to keep my projected plan as close as possible to the original, I started at Dock 4, still offering ample parking and only adding about .75 miles to the distance of the first stop.
My crew was my wife, daughter and her boyfriend. A true fmaily affair and I could not have accomplished this goal without thier support!