The start of the Monkey Hills Marathon was cold. I grabbed my hydration vest, since that's where the car key was, and my gloves and ran across the field to find the trail.
Which was a bit hard to do, as I don't approach it from this angle, but Scooby and Erin's lights were coming back at me, so I began my long journey of the day, the first downhill on Pinball Ridge.
The Monkey Hills Marathon is a very simple premise. Run the 0.9 mile section of trail that has been christened the Monkey Hills, for a total of 29 laps, to make a marathon.
3 Hills on the course, 6 climbs per lap. 6 x 29= 173 climbs.
452 feet of gain per lap, so 452 X 29 = 13,108 feet of gain.
Mike Dobies, the genius who dreamed up this idea, was also smart enough to not attend the MHM for the second year in a row.
It was dark at 6 am, so I had the light on my head. I climb the last hill at the north end of the loop, and begin to run, and then WHAMMMO! I hit the tree branch and fall on my ass.
Yes, I ran head on into this branch. It hurt quite badly, and for a brief moment I was scared my day of running was over. And all this in the first loop! The pain subsided, and I gingerly got up, and continued down the trail. At least I didn't damage my light.
With this very short loop it was easy to see the other runners-the early starters were Jim, Bob, Jonathan, and Erin. The trail at first was slick and greasy, and I thought for sure it would deteriorate as the day went on, with the myriad of runners on the trail.
It began to snow after the sun came up
and the wind increased. This actually seemed to help the footing on the trail; the mud dried out a bit.
Running-if you could call it that-this was more like climbing a marathon was simple. It was easy to step into the zen and be a little startled to see Scooby passing me yet again. (He passed me alot!)
Dan Kuzma showed up, and the time passed more quickly with him. Erin, Dan and I stayed together for quite a few loops, chatting the entire time.
Todd "Cheesburglar" Hanks showed up at 1pm with the promised fast food, and the cheeseburger tasted pretty good!
But around this time, I hit my low spot of the day. I was slowing way down. I was also wet on the top, and starting to get a good chill. I made a trip over to my car and changed my entire top, which did help.
I did not eat and drink properly for this effort, despite passing the aid station twice on the loop. The short distance made it deceptively easy to think, yeah, I will grab a cookie next time through... I should have actually been eating more and drinking more.
We were keeping track of our splits on the clipboard at the Happy Hill Aid Station
Bob and Slim joined me for their last few loops, and then Todd accompanied me for my last two loops, so the end of the Monkey Hills Marathon did not suck as bad as I thought it would. I cheerfully said goodbye to the tree that tried to take me out, way back in the beginning of the day.
I finished first female-or first broad, whatever, and also DFL. 10 plus hours for a marathon? Believe it. I was just beat. I have not been that tired from a run in a long time!
There were four finishers from the December 28 MHM, which brings the entire MHM finishers to five. Slim is the only runner