Saturday, July 8, 2017

2017 Cry Me a River Trail Half

2017 Cry Me a River 13.1
1st Place Overall
1:44:59 (7:25 pace) CR

Some of the steps on the course!
With an open weekend on the schedule and only 3 weeks out from the Speedgoat 50k I knew I had to return to the Illinois River Bluff trails for the third running of the Cry Me a River Trail Event . This event offers you a half marathon, 50k, 100k and if you're brave enough a 100 miler. I picked my poison of running the half. This distance on this course would do me just right 3 weeks out of Speedgoat. A nice hilly race to knockout any remaining cobwebs. The 100 milers started at 5am with the remaining races starting in a 5 minute stagger at 7am. The half went off first. The course first takes you through a 2 mile loop through Camp Waconda around a nice lake. This particular 2 mile loop has some challenges in itself, boasting multiple sets of steps and a few challenging short but steep climbs. I feel like I got off to a good start in the opening loop. I settled into a nice comfortable pace running quick but under control. I came out of the woods and went past the starting area feeling light and fast. Once you're done with the opening loop you're sent back in the woods on a different trail that takes you on an out and back. The course turns even uglier when you're quickly introduced to more challenging longer climbs. Around mile 3-4 there are some nice flat quicker trails that you can stretch out on but after that you're thrown back into the roller coaster of hills that never really let up. On the way out I was feeling great. Staying relaxed but uptempo on the ups, surging at the top and cautious on the down hills I continued my way out to the turn around. In 2015 the tunnel was the turn around point but this year they sent us out a bit further. 'A bit further' felt like forever and the different course had much more climbing in it than in 2015. After the turn around you head on back home. I could start to feel the early pace settling in my legs on the climbs. It felt like a crawl on the ups on the way back. Favorite part of the course would probably have to be the tunnel and the "mud/rock slide" ravine where you traverse a series of wooden bridges that transitions into a narrow dirt path on the spine of this ravine. Heading back you run into other racers which is nice and refreshing. Once you cross the river on the cement blocks you are almost home but not until you climb one more hill. Once you climb that theres a nice downhill into a flat section back to the finish.

Course Map
This event is only in its third year and it continues to slowly grow. Its a hidden gem of sorts. It starts and finishes in a small quaint boy scout camp and the atmosphere is fun and laid back. Its an awesome network of people who just love being out on the trails. And the trail...the trail is unreal. In just 14 miles of running I climbed 2,738 vert ft. The 100 mile race has 23,500 vert ft of climbing, which is unreal for the midwest. The trail itself is well maintained and always in good condition. And the event is directed by Jenna Bahaj who does a great job organizing everything. The event is also timed by Shazam Timing Company who does a great job as well. If you havent done this event, clear your calendars for next year and pick your poison of distance and get prepared for hills and fun. See you next year.

Race Link:


Strava Link: