Psycho Psummer Trail Run Race Report

By , July 14, 2014 11:31 am

Gosh, I love trail running. Even with my slower pace, falling, and squeaky shorts… I can’t NOT enjoy myself on the trails. Especially when I have my trail buddy, Rachel, with me. This weekend we ran 10 miles at the Psycho Psummer Trail Run (put on by Trail Nerds) in Wyandotte Country Park in Kansas and had an amazing time! I’ve already got it in my head that we need to do this race next year (and go for the 20 miles we originally signed up for, ha!).

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Why a race in Kansas? Ha, why not? Really though, we were casually talking about how neither of us have ever been to a game at Kauffman stadium (where the Royals play). We discussed dates, one miraculously worked, and when I found this trail race, I knew it was meant to be! And with a course description like this, how could we NOT drive over 500 miles to do it?!

A beautiful but challenging run on hilly single-track trails. This course is very different in many ways from the February “Run Toto Run” Race. 50K Run, 10-Mile Run, and 20-miler. All on bridle trails and single-track trails. This is a rocky and hilly UNPAVED loop course. 9-hour time limit.

The course was a 10 mile loop you did one, two or three times, and we signed up for the 20-mile option. We’re of the mindset “the more time on the trails, the better”… but we also had a baseball game to get to and we wanted to spend some time with my family before, so we hoped to be done with the 20 miles around 1:00 pm. With the race starting at 8:00 am (for 50k and 20-mile, 10-mile was at 9:00) that gave us five hours – a 15:00 minute mile pace. No big deal, right…? Hee hee…

It was nice to “sleep in” a bit the morning of the race, especially after the long (but so fun) drive the day before. We were out the door around 6:30 and made the short drive from my father-in-law’s to a church parking lot, where we were being bused from to race start. I wasn’t sure about the buses – would we have to wait long to get a ride? But we didn’t have to wait to get there or get back! Awesome! Logistics for the whole race were this easy – everything was really well organized, the course was marked great, there were plenty of port-a-potties, food, and so on. Trail Nerds puts on a great race!

We did same-day packet pickup, and I was really excited that we got a mug*, pin, and shirt, and with such a cool design!

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I put the pin on my vest (queue ominous foreshadowing) right away. We body glided, put our bags in gear check, and it wasn’t too long until the race started!

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Everyone had been warning us about the heat (really, telling us we’d be miserable, except Trail Nerds, who just said to prepare). It’s hot in Kansas in July. It was 84°F with 51% humidity when we started and 89°F with 45% humidity when we ended. That is probably the hottest I have ever started a race. Rachel and I laughed when we were researching the race and saw how many people do the race shirtless! But we weren’t worried. We had our water vest (you were required to carry water in something) and were going to take it easy. We weren’t out there to RACE.

And guess what? The heat didn’t bother us at all. The course was almost completely shaded. And for the most open portion that wasn’t shaded, there was a breeze. I didn’t have any chafing despite being completely drenched in sweat. So, yay! for the heat not being an issue. 

Alright! About this course!

One thing that intrigued us in the race photos we saw before (which were FREE by the way! how awesome is that?!) is how rocky the course was! And it started out that way!

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The first few miles were up and down (it was ALL up and down) with some single-back dirt trail (always with roots) but a lot of rocky crossings, too. We always walk the uphills in trail races, but we had to carefully walk a lot of the downhills that were so rocky! Can you imagine falling down that?

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Don’t worry, we both made sure to have our falls just be in the dirt. Ha ha. Rachel won for first fall of the day, shortly after our first manned aid station (there were also unmanned water jugs out there for us). We got to the switchback portion, which was where we were able to do most of the running – it seemed to have the least roots and rocks. But Rachel tripped over a little root sticking up in the trail, and got right back up… covered in dirt. We laughed – falling when running trails is expected for us!

I really liked the switchback part of the trails. We quickly ended up in the back of the pack (as we expected) but we could see more people on the lower parts of the switchback, which was fun! And, obviously, it made the hills easier, since they were gradual!

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The course went around a lake, and every once in awhile, we’d get a peek at it! I kept hoping we’d get to run along it at some point!

But first we had to run by a snake (can you see it?):

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Then get our photographs taken as we slowed down to climb over a log, ha ha:

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Then we made it to the second manned aid station, and it was AMAZING! All of the aid stations were. You got there and you were treated like VIP. They asked you what you needed when you got there, and got it for you.It was like having your own personal race assistant. I was really impressed this aid station had grilled cheese sandwiches and bacon! I didn’t go for that (ha ha) but I ate a ton of chips and pickles. 

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Then we kept running and got our view of the lake!

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At that point we were a little over half way done but I could tell we were not on pace. I had switched my watch over just to show overall time (not mileage), and when they told us the mileage at the aid station I realized our pace was not where we thought it would be. The course was much more technical that we expected! Nothing bad about that… it just slowed us down. 

We kept trucking along, back to more single-track, roots, hills and rocks. The 10-milers, who started an hour later than us, started catching up and passing us. They almost always called they were coming, so we’d just get over and let them pass (and admire the shirtless males). We could NOT believe how fast they were running, and their agility up and down the hills! They were amazing! The 10-mile and 50K winner had an overall pace in the mid 7:00s!!!

At one point I noticed the new pin that I put on was clinking with another pin on my vest. The noise was bugging me so I went to adjust it… and wasn’t looking at the trail and had my crash. Ha. I did not get up as fast as Rachel, but I was quickly laughing about it. 

When we got to the next aid station, they came up with towels to wipe us off, and we were all “NO! Get our picture first!” (then wipe us off)

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We took some other goofy pictures there, too:

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The volunteers at the aid stations were so great. The mile 7 aid station (above) put all these fun signs up before and after their stop. We hung out there for quite awhile… oops (not really!)?

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After we left that aid station I heard this weird whistling noise every time I moved. I thought something was going on with my vest… then I realized my shorts were so soaked in sweat they were making a squeaky whistling noise. Ha ha ha. Again, I am AMAZED I had no chafing, and felt so good – all that water, salt and the electrolyte tabs really helped (my hands and toes did swell though, and my toes were still swollen the next day).

The last part of the course had the steepest, rockiest hills. The three hills are named “the three sisters” (see elevation map here). We were struggling just to WALK up them. Fasties would pass us and start to run up, but even they had to stop to power-hike their way to the top. 

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As we got closer to the end (and more and more people passed us) we started discussing if we wanted to stop at 10 or do another loop for 20. We had talked about this before the race as an option if we didn’t feel good because of the heat. And we actually felt great, heat-wise. But we were a bit sore from our falls (my ankle must have twisted), and since the first loop took us three hours – much longer than expected – we had no idea how long the second loop would take. Maybe four? Which would get us back in a rush to get to the baseball game, and then we might be too fried to enjoy the game**. 

So we got to the finish and decided to drop to 10 instead of keep going. 

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We felt completely fine with this decision, until the volunteer at the finish made a really sad face when we told her we were dropping. Rachel and I reassured her we had a blast… just that we had too much going on that evening and didn’t want to feel like crap. Ha. That is probably not a thought that ever enters a true trail runners mind. TRAILS FIRST! TRAILS BEFORE BASEBALL! TRAILS BEFORE FAMILY! I asked the volunteer if we were the only ones to drop and she said no… I wonder if everyone got that sad face when they delivered the news. 

Ha. I was just happy that we got a medal, for doing the 10 miler, too. And it’s really neat!

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I felt so happy the whole time I was doing this race. I never had that “ugh, when is this going to be over?!” feeling, like I sometimes do at road races. And since I had never run this course, every turn was interesting and beautiful (as I bet it is for people who run it over and over!). It’s actually kind of nice we had to go so slow, and take so much in. 

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And I love running trails with Rachel. Our approach to trail running aligns perfectly. And we have fun whether we are chatting, simply saying what a beautiful view/fun course it is, or just running in silence (plus squeaky shorts) together. It’s kind of selfish, but I am hoping Rachel and I can do another trail race together this year! Local is fine, ha ha – trail communities everywhere seem to rock, as this one did. Everyone was so friendly (runners and volunteers) and nice. We had fun chatting with a few different people, and just admiring the different types of runners that were there. It’s true that the trail community is very inclusive!

*I got the coffee mug and Rachel got the beer mug
**It’s really good we stopped when we did at the race, because the game was SO hot for the first 5-6 innings. It was in the 90s, and despite being in the shade, we were all really feeling the heat. I think if we had done two loops that day we might not have enjoyed the game, which was the starting reason for the trip!

41 Responses to “Psycho Psummer Trail Run Race Report”

  1. Heather says:

    That looks like SO much fun! Very challenging but so much fun!

  2. I never would have spotted the snake. Looks like a really cool race. Glad I’m not the only one who drives ages for a race 🙂

    • kilax says:

      This race so worth the drive! And it was nice to have company in the car, too. It would be fun to do another road trip like this!

  3. Sounds fun! I”ve never done a trail race. I’ve considered doing the North Face Endurance challenge (the half) in Kettle Moraine but haven’t ever committed. Smart to drop to 10 in that heat. Sounds brutal!

    • kilax says:

      I highly recommend NFEC! I’ve done the 50K and HM there (both with Rachel) and we had so much fun at both. They put on a great race and the schwag is fantastic!

  4. Ian says:

    Great report Kim. Sounds like you made it fun and had fun. So happy you are enjoying your trail running and races (think a little was my doing hehehe). That is a awesome T and coffee mug. See a few of the TrailNerds shirt around here at times but not many. I need to earn on of them one day. Sounds like a tough course. You would like running at Veteran Acres in Crystal Lake, Palos (have you ran there?) or Rock Cut State Park (HOBO races. You know the Kettle trails. People think Chicagoland has no trails besides paved and limestone but we have dirt and single track if one looks plus the Muddy Monk series (sometime muddy sometimes not).

    • kilax says:

      Hee hee, yes, you have definitely influenced my trail running! I need to get out to the HOBO races! I bet Rachel would meet me there. Ha! And I have walked a race at Veteran Acres, but haven’t run one.

      I hope you get to try one of these races one day!!!

  5. Jen2 says:

    Looks like you had a great time! I love your nature photos! I’ve never done a trail race but you made it look appealing. I think I could keep the pace you guys did for this one 😉

    One questions, why were you both wearing gaiters over your shoes? Is that in case you come across puddles? I’ve never used those before either.

    • kilax says:

      You should try a trail race! 🙂 The terrain and hills make them so much more challenging… and usually more fun!

      Yeah, we wore gaiters to keep rocks/debris out of our shoes/socks.

  6. Erin says:

    That looks amazing!! You can totally tell by the smiles on your faces that you are having a great time.

    Did anyone end up running with their dog?

  7. Rachel says:

    Ummm you are not selfish at all! I want to do alllll the trails with you too! We should probably decide the next one soon. Like now. Or yesterday. haha.

    I want to practice running up and down the rocks so maybe one day someone can be impressed with my skills like we were of everyone else’s! I want to be a billy goat!

    The mile 7 aid station was the bomb. No coincidence that the next mile ended up being so slow. We hung out for a while! haha. But it was worth it. How else would we have learned about ghetto gatorade and homemade misters?

    You know how we tried to go slow at the NFEC half last year and were surprised that we still finished the 13.1 in 2:43??? Yeahhhh we made up for that here. hahahah!

    • kilax says:

      Let’s do it! Shall we look more local or… no? 🙂

      I think you could do it with practice! Can you think of any rocky area like that around where we live?

      Ahh! I forgot to mention the misters! Hee hee. Those people were so fun.

      Ha! I was thinking about that too – that would have been a new 13.1 PW! LOL!

  8. Tiina says:

    I’m dying to do a trail race. This looks like so much fun 🙂

  9. You guys look like you’re having an absolute blast! How fun!

  10. Amy says:

    Yay yay yay! What a fun day! I did trails in the dark all weekend and it was fun, but I was lacking a good friend to e on the trails with me! They were all waiting at the end, though 🙂

  11. Eric says:

    Looks like you two had fun out there. I had my own trail adventures that were quite hilly (and oh so scenic) as well while running Dances with Dirt Devil’s Lake. Mine was a half marathon and featured a 700 foot climb over 2 miles. I still need to do my recap, but I’m loving the trails and want to head back as well. Might be something to consider for next year given that it’s in Rachel’s state.

    • kilax says:

      I saw some photos on Facebook from my friends doing that race! It sound amazing! I’ve always wanted to visit Devil’s Lake 🙂

  12. Scott says:

    Awesome!!! Looks like y’all had a blast! I loooove trails. Yesterday when I set out on a trail run, I was not feeling up to it…until about .5 miles in, and then it was bliss!!! Way to go!

    • kilax says:

      Do you ever run at Erwin park? What are good places to run technical there? I ran a “trail” half there in April, but it was all paved trail 🙂

  13. You, Rachel, and that race look super hard-core!!! I have so much more respect for trail running now, after experiencing the difficulty of doing a single, very mildly technical trail race. The scenery looks gorgeous and I love the picture of the deer. Way to go!!!

  14. jan says:

    I had fun just reading this! You two could make any race fun, I bet. I think that course looks crazy hard!! I can’t imagine running 20 miles on that. Sounds like a smart call to cut it to 10!

  15. This race looks amazing, and you can see that you are having fun in the photos.

  16. Kristina says:

    Sounds like a GREAT run/race! Although the heat – whoa! I’m such a fan of running on trails – they are tough but it’s nice to not focus so much on pace but on the experience.

  17. Maggie says:

    I need to do more trail races. This is so pretty.

  18. JoAnne says:

    Looks like a lot of fun! Love running on trails 🙂

  19. bobbi says:

    I so want to do another trail race with you and Rachel. Trail races are so HARD but so much fun (and more fun with FRIENDS)! It looks like a stunning trail there…so glad you both held up in the heat, but also that you realized you had sh*t to do for the rest of the day and handled things accordingly. Smart!!

  20. Xaarlin says:

    I love how happy you both looked in this race. I’m surprised it was such a technical race- didn’t know that kind of trail existed in the Midwest 🙂 squeaky shorts lol. The swag for this race looked amazing too! (I would have been trails first, trails before everything too with those views 🙂

    I’m sold. I need to run a trail race. It looks like so much fun!!!

    • kilax says:

      Yeah, the KC area is really hilly. The ascends are obviously not as high as on the coasts and in the mountain ranges, but they are still challenging!

      I think you would really like a trail race. A technical one like this – not like the Muddy Monk one (that one was pretty mild! (but still fun)).

  21. I need to do a trail run with YOU. It sounds more fun running with you. 🙂

    • kilax says:

      Aww, thanks! Are you doing any trail runs this year? 🙂

      • No. I have done a few races here and there but my main focus is the Chicago Marathon. Next year I’ll be back to running in the other 50 states and would like to include at least one trail one. I’ll just have to follow you.

  22. Mica says:

    That sounds really fun! I’ve never done a real trail race, and reading this made me want to give it a try (minus the heat and humidity. Nope. Can’t. Do. It.). I really like your approach to trail running (which I feel like is your approach to most running) — do it for fun and enjoy the company!

  23. Joyce Tontegode says:

    Hey girls! I ran with you for the last couple of miles on your loop. I was the one from Nebraska. Enjoyed chatting with you that day. Also enjoyed reading your race report. Yep, your trail vision aligns with mine. Get out, enjoy the beauty, and have fun, whatever your pace. Hope you two get are able to find more trail events you can get away to.

    • kilax says:

      Hi Joyce! Thanks so much for commenting! We looked up later in the day to see if you finished the 20 miler! Congrats!!!! It was so nice to run and chat with you. We are already scheming our next getaway race! I hope you are, too!

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