Well, that was fun! This Sunday was the annual Dirt Du & Dash, hosted by the awesome and low-key Xdog Events. A duathlon (running + mountain biking) was an option, but since I didn't want to break bones that day, I stuck with the Dash. These guys always put together a fun course---usually through brambles and up steep inclines that require the use of my hands to climb---but they start the season off a bit easy with the Dirt Dash's hilly-but-not-crazy 8k course.
The day started with the usual scarfing of potatoes at home before leaving the house around 8:30am to head out to Hagg Lake. I love that Xdog Events don't start until 10am! That can feel a bit late if I'm going by myself and want to get back home for family time, but it's great when bringing the kiddos along for the event. We all left the house without incident and on time, shockingly, and took the time to stop at Dutch Bros once I realized that the duathlon was to start at 10, but I actually wouldn't start running until 10:30. Nice to not be in a rush for a change!
After two wrong turns (despite having been there last year), we finally arrived at the site around 9:45 to see our friends Elliot (racing) and Carrie (cheering section/kid wrangler) waiting for us. They helped corral the kids while I checked in and hit the very nice bathrooms, then we watched the duathlon participants start their run.
20 minutes later it was our turn! Elliot runs like the wind---he won his age group and came in 6th overall, I think---so we saw each other off at the start and I lost sight of him within half a mile. The first half mile was on pavement, but the rest---except for maybe a quarter mile in the middle---was on fairly dry trails that ranged from wide and flat to knotty and narrow. The course makes a sort of figure-8, and I felt pretty good for the first couple of miles until I had passed through the start area (and gotten an awesome hug from my toddler).
By mile 3 or so my legs felt like lead. Too many hill workouts the week before! Still, I was able to enjoy the scenery, including some nice lakeside running, some adorable kids with balloons, and a beautiful open meadow that tried its best (and failed) to twist my ankle. The course was much drier than last year---which was basically a 5-mile mudslide---and I think that's why I managed to beat last year's time by 4 minutes. I got 3rd place in my age group, though there may have been only 3 people in my age group; I really don't know. It's always weird when a race feels tough but turns out well!
We topped it off with free beers during the awards and raffle and grabbed lunch in the sunshine. I definitely ate and drank more calories than I burned, but it felt well deserved anyway. Fun day!