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PIKE RIVER TRAIL CANICROSS, Brian T. does like his hills!!!

As you all know, the quest for a ½ Marathon in every State continues. 2017 ended badly with the loss of my husband’s horse, Darby and 2018 started out with some curve balls thrown our way, so after the February race in Arizona, my husband, and I decided that we had to put ½ marathon racing and traveling on hold for a while and regroup. The good news is that he did get a new horse the beginning of this week and he looks like a winner. Many of you may know that we ride every weekend for 5 – 6 hours in Bong Recreation Area in Southern Wisconsin. Our time on the horses is some of our favorite moments as we are alone with each other in God’s creation and it just doesn’t get much better than that. Though Brian has been walking with me as I ride my horse, a Clydesdale mare named, Ursula, it is not that same as galloping up a hill side by side or splashing each other as we run through ponds. We will get back to racing, but for now, my dog, Trixie and I are doing as much racing as we can in our Canicross events. Brian T, the race director has been talking to me about the Pike River Event. He keeps telling me it was the toughest one because the trail is in shade and there are a lot of trip hazards to avoid. He wasn’t kidding!!! We arrived early to the race to find that it was being filmed by the film crew from PBS Milwaukee. Apparently the event will be featured next year in a feature story; you can view it here... Many of the runners were being interviewed; Trixie and I were just hanging around and staying warm for the race. We always have fun meeting new dogs and talking to new people, though there are some we recognize from other events, it has been since April that we had seen any of them so there were lots of things (good smells) to catch up on. This was run at Petrifying Springs Park just North of Parkside College Campus in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It was about a 20 minute ride for us. I had decided to use this as a training run so I opted to run 2 laps at just about 3.5 miles a piece. Finally we started. I noticed and Brian (husband) noticed that Trixie is the ONLY, and I’m using the word ONLY, dog that runs straight out in front of its runner (me!) at the start. The other dogs are back and forth like windshield wipers or round and round (that’s a hot mess). I haven’t seen a bowling ball start yet (runner dragging reluctant dog) but Brian T. says those do happen! We were off and it was a beautiful run through the woods, up and down hills, over roots, ruts, on a river bluff, over the river in several places up a couple of mean hills and one truly obscene hill (Brian T is famous for throwing at least one of those in every race) and that was lap one. At the end of lap one I had tripped 3 times, but not fallen and lost my chapstick almost wiping out. I downed a gel at about 3 miles, splashed through the water at 3.5 miles and stopped briefly to say Hi to my husband and we were off for lap 2. I have really been working picking my feet up while running on the trail but I was still struggling to see the ground and the hazards that were many: rocks, roots, sticker bushes, ruts, downed trees, muddy washed out trails, rickety bridges and the full on water crossing which was tricky because the sun was reflect off of the water surface and you couldn’t see what you were running on. Trixie was the only dog who ran through the water, all the others stopped, hesitated, tied their owners up in knots and one wouldn’t go in at all and had to be carried through (dog owners are awesome aren’t they). This is all according to Brian, who was watching at the water crossing with his camera, waiting for us to come through. The second lap I tripped a couple more times and twisted my left ankle a couple times, but for the most part, I picked my feet up better. Trixie and I run together a lot so I usually pick the path that she runs because she runs a good line! She has me trained for water time, she just looks over her R shoulder at me and that is the signal that she could use a slurp. This dog is so great, she makes running these challenges so easy, she just leads the way and I (the weak link) follow her lead! Lap 2 was easier than the first because we just relaxed and worked on technique and then we were done. There were 13 men and women (and 9 dogs) that ran the 7 mile race and Trixie and I were number 6 to cross the finish line, we were the 2nd among females. Hey, I wasn’t the oldest one there!!! There was a 72 year old woman that I met named Susan. How cool is that!!! I hope I am still running with my dog at 72. My time 1:18, hahaha, lots of stopping to water my dog and tripping but it was fun and it was a beautiful day to be in the woods getting some exercise. On theway home I realized the problem with seeing the trail, I had my eyes dilated Friday afternoon and my vision was still blurry, well that explains all the tripping and twisting doesn’t it! Silly runner!!!

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