Well Levi and I ran together to Land's End (6.5mi) where he turned back to finish a 10 mile loop. He had to get back home for some reason...I think his mother in-law was visiting. I'm a good listener. Maybe.
We saw some interesting wildlife. First we ran into a possum carrying around its babies. If there's anything that can make a possum seem slightly less creepy, it's seeing one carry around her young. Awwww. Actually, it took a few moments to realize the bumps attached to the creature's back were babies. At first glance it looked sort of like something you'd see lurking around outside the nuclear power plant in the Simpson's.
I wouldn't have noticed the next little treasure but Levi caught my attention when he said something like "Whoa!" or "Ahhhh". I turned back and asked him what was up. He claimed I just ran over a snake but I hadn't noticed it. When I went back to see what there was to see, there was indeed a baby snake. Levi said it was a rattlesnake and I asked if we had rattlesnakes in Kansas. He said he thought so, and it WAS shaking its little tail at us. It looked pretty peeved. We usually see copperheads and black snakes on the trail. I'm not sure what the actual name for the black snakes is...maybe it actually is black snake. I have no idea. Long story short, we have lots of snakes and a good portion of them are poisonous.
I decided to stop for water at 9.5mi. I walked up the stairs to the campground and the place was crawling with folks. It wasn't much of a surprise with the half Iron Man going on the next day at the park. The folks walking around were fit and many were wearing bike shorts. Go figure. With my pack full, I headed back to the trail to get to my 10 mile turn around.
I wanted to do an out and back on the white trail to avoid the muddier blue trail. The blue trail is closer to the lake, hence lower on the slope to the shore. It's always wetter than the white. I also didn't want to find out by trial and error whether the shoulder deep water crossing on blue had gone all the way down over the past two weeks. I needed to be done with my run by 12:30 so I could get ready to volunteer for Iron Man packet pickup at 1.
I started getting clumsy on the trip back. A lot of things were happening. It was getting hotter, I was getting tired, but I was trying to keep my speed up to get done with my run in time. So I started kicking rocks. It was frustrating. I hit my toe HARD on a rock. My first reaction was "ouch, but not big deal". My second reaction, about a second later, was "Oh crap! That's the toe with the nail I messed up at the race!" I told myself to calm down and started walking. After a little walking and running I surmised that I didn't do any more damage to the toenail but I was pretty sure the end of my toe was bleeding. There really wasn't anything I could do about it 9 miles from the trailhead so I kept going. I had to change my running style a little. I usually run on the front of my feet (not my heels) but I couldn't do it with my left foot.
The pain faded a little over the next half hour or so, but the heat just kept increasing. I kept myself cool by splashing water on my bandana and wiping my face and neck with it. I did that until I felt like my water was getting low enough that I needed the rest of it for drinking. I was pretty worried about the time I was making but I didn't pull out my phone to check it until I crossed the marina road about 2 miles out from the trailhead. It was only 11:30. I had plenty of time. Knowing how much time I had, I slacked a bit on the last mile and did more walking than I should have.
I'd really like to get to the point where I can do my long runs (at least the 20 milers) at a 12 minute per mile pace at Clinton Lake, but I wasn't disappointed with 13. I cleaned myself up in the water spigot at the picnic shelter since I didn't have time to drive home and back before our volunteer gig. My toe looked pretty fabulous. The top was bloody and on the inside I had a giant blister. It's been a couple years since I've had a blister that big. I didn't get any blisters running the 50, so it was pretty comical that I got one running 20 miles.
Eventually folks started showing up to meet for volunteer duty. Nick brought me a sandwich since I didn't have time to go home and the 15ish of us drove into the park and headed to campground 3. I've never volunteered at a BIG race and soon realized that packet pickup was much more complicated than packet stuffing. Everybody has their unique little problems. It didn't help that I was working the team and pro packet pickup which was located right next to the "Solutions" table, i.e. where people with problems go. The cool thing was that I got to give packets to the pros. I had no idea who any of them were, but I'm not a triathlete. There was a lady from Australia wearing an awesome running skirt. It was white and covered in rainbow-colored skulls. I also handed a packet to bib number 1. I know in road races that usually means the person has won before. He asked me to trim the sharp edges off his wrist bracelet, which would have seemed pain-in-the-ass-y coming from a lot of people, but he asked nicely so I was happy to oblige.
I was definitely ready to get out of the sweltering heat by the end of our shift at 5. I was happy to help our group earn a much needed $500, but I won't say it was fun. I much prefer small, low-key events. But I would do it again next year to help out the group.