Sunday, September 15, 2013

Run Woodstock Weekend!

Run Woodstock was amazing.  I had a great time and can't wait for next year.  I think it was probably my favorite race experience ever.  A big part of that was the camping and people and activities, more than the running itself, so I would definitely recommend camping if you do it, or at least hanging out as much as possible before heading home!

(Note: All pictures featured in this blog post are also available in their original form here)

My friend Michelle from Cleveland drove in for it, and we went out Friday evening and stayed through Sunday morning.  I almost don't want to recap it, because I don't want to overanalyze it or cheapen my experience with all my rambling!  But, I have a duty to my readership, so let's do this thing.


Michelle arrived from Cleveland at about 4pm.  We went to the grocery store to fill our cooler and then headed out to Pinckney to Hell Creek Ranch.  We were not very light packers!  Next time we camp, I'll work on bringing less shit!
The car actually got MORE full after we went to the grocery store! 
I especially regretted packing so much after we got to the campground at Hell Creek Ranch.  We had "walk-in camping" which meant that we had to park kinda far away and walk all our stuff in to the campground.  It took the two of us three trips!  (And holy cow, that cooler is heavy when filled!).

 We had prepaid for pizza at $2 a slice, but I wouldn't do that again in the future.  There's a Little Caesar's 5 minutes away in Pinckney.  Get yourself a Hot & Ready instead! We had our pizza at like 6:45pm and then got ready to run.  The 100 milers had already started in the afternoon, but our first "race", the Flower Power 5K, started at 7:30pm.
Pre-run with Rick and Michelle Friday evening. 
 I say "race" because it is more of a fun run, not timed or anything.  This race had a "natural option" which separated from the unnatural (??) runners about a mile in.  We didn't do it, but my friend Rick did and said it was fun!  (He did it last year too.)  I had planned on walking the whole thing, but I did quite a bit of running.  I did stop on the course and take pictures though.  I planned poorly with my running schedule, because I had run 3 miles Thursday evening, thinking the only day I would run at Woodstock would be Saturday, and hence I would stick to my "every other day" running trend.  I haven't run back-to-back days since like April.  Starting with this "Far Out 5K", that all went to crap.  Friday night made 2 days in a row, and my "real race" was Saturday morning which makes 3 days.  Spoiler alert: I also ran Saturday night and Sunday morning.  Eek!

Photos from the course.  These aren't all from Friday evening, it's kind-of mix & match.  :)
 Fire twirler and music.  I think this was from Friday night but I'm not 100% sure.  

Friday night we brought all of our goodies up to fire by the "main" area to buy friends with food.  It always works! :)  We brought stuff for s'mores and pizza mountain pies.  We adopted the nicknames "S'more Whore" (Michelle) and "Beer Bitch" (me).  Classy, I know.   We met some fun kids from Ball State who we ended up hanging out with a lot of the weekend.  The people from this fire made some good arguments trying to convince us to take the natural option at the next fun run, Saturday night.  I was still solidly in the "no" column.  Michelle was on the fence.
Friday night Festivities 
I was surprised at how quiet it got on the ranch, relatively early in the night.  We had actually decided to move our tent down to a more secluded area, away from the "main" zone, because we figured it would be really loud into the wee hours of the morning and that we wouldn't be able to sleep.  It was completely quiet though by like 11:30pm.  We headed back to the tent around midnight and it was very quiet.  Not the crazy party I had been afraid of!  I slept pretty well too.  I haven't been camping in years and assumed I wouldn't get any sleep, but it wasn't bad at all.  We set our phone alarms so we could be ready to run the Flower Power 5 mile at 7:30am!


Interestingly, despite sleeping on site, I was almost late for the Saturday morning race!  I left the tent to head up there with about 5 minutes before start time, and made it about half way before I realized I forgot my bib back in the tent!  I guess I was in "fun-run mode" after the untimed event the night before.  I was fairly sure Michelle had forgotten hers too, since we had taken photos back at the tent and I didn't remember her wearing one.  She had left before me though because she was actually racing and wanted to get in some warm up time.
Pre-race Saturday morning.  What's missing from these pictures????
Anyway, I ran back to the tent and grabbed my bib.  I dug around for Michelle's for a minute, but really didn't have any time to do a thorough search.  Plus I didn't know if she had already come back for it or would come for it after or what.  Either way, it was like 7:58 at that time, so I had to get moving!  I was about halfway to the start when I heard the announcer start the race.  Luckily, I was planning on being in the back of the pack anyway, and by the time I got there the slower people were still waiting to get across the line, so I didn't really miss anything.

My plan for this race was to take it easy and have fun!  I did run most of it, but I walked when the people in front of me were walking and there wasn't room to really get around them.  The only thing I didn't like was how the events merged into each other.  For example, the fast half marathoners had to pass us slow 5-milers multiple times.  That's tough on a narrow trail.  I wasn't in a hurry so I generally got off the trail and out of the way, but I imagine it was frustrating for a lot of the higher distance runners.  Then again, this is all about peace, love, & running, so hopefully they were pretty chill about it.  :)

I finished the race and saw Michelle waiting for me.  I don't even know what my time was.  I think like 36:xx??  It was over 11 min/mile, I know that much.  That's not what this was about though, so I didn't really pay attention.

Turns out the girl that WON the 5-mile had FORGOTTEN to put on her bib, and had to run back to her tent to get it after the race and hope and pray that the race organizers would give her credit for it.  Any ideas who that might be???

Stupid Bib!  Awesome Trophy!  Way to go Michelle! 
I knew multiple people running the half marathon, so we hung out on the side of the finish line to take some photos and stretch.  I got lots of good stretching in waiting for the half-marathoners!  My knee felt much better after Saturday's run than it did Friday evening after the Far Out 5k.

Saturday after the race we hung out for a bit by the tent, eating food and lamenting all of our chronic injuries.  Rick and David are from the A2Runners meetup group that I never attend any more.  :)  It rained a bit during this time, so our plans to cook over a fire were foiled, and we borrowed a grill from our tent neighbors.  I'm definitely getting one of those before I camp again!  (Note: do you see how good I was?!  I busted out a foam roller and mat!)

The announcer meandered down to our neck of the woods so I got a pic with him too.  He is only 21!  Apparently the Head Goat "discovered" him waiting tables or something, liked his voice and his "look" and asked him to be the emcee for the weekend!  He did have a really nice voice!

The next part of the day kind of all blurred together.  I don't remember the order of things exactly.  There was yoga, tie-dyeing, a wedding, and dinner. There was a "hippie hike to hell" that we didn't go on, but I would have if I had known we would get a pin for that!  I got almost all the pins from the weekend!  I'm pretty sure the yoga was first.  It was really fun!  The instructor was great, and it was really cool to see all the runners doing yoga by the stage.  The "rule" was that anytime a runner came in (the 50K to 100 milers were coming in) we had to clap and cheer, no matter what pose we were doing.  It was great.  I left my camera at the tent for this, so I wasn't able to take a photo, even though it was an awesome scene.  I've been scouring the interwebs looking for a good photo but haven't found one.  The best I came up with was one that came in an email from running fit after the event.

I left the brady bunch crew in on the left side for your viewing pleasure. 
There were white "Run Woodstock" shirts available to purchase that you could use for tie-dyeing, or people were dyeing their own white stuff as well.  Michelle and I wanted to do it, but the only shirts they had left were L and XL.  I decided to go ahead and do it anyway, since larges aren't *that* huge on me.  That was cool in theory, but sitting there soaking a shirt in dye got old quick.  I'm not the most patient person in the world. :)

I like the way it turned out in the picture, but as it dried it faded a lot, and I haven't even washed it yet!  (I'm afraid to because I don't want it to bleed all over the rest of my laundry, and I don't want it to fade any more.)  It was still fun, and I'll keep the shirt as memorabilia more than clothing.

Michelle and I did some obligatory selfies and posing with the woodstock van.  Looking at these pictures, I just realized that I should have worn my nose hoop instead of the stud.  D'oh.  I'll be a better hippie next year, I swear.

We had paid for Saturday lasagna for dinner with our registration, but as we were killing time waiting for that, we noticed a crowd forming around the stage.  Turns out there was a wedding happening!  What a cool idea.  Photo and video below.


After that it was time for lasagna.  At $12 for the meal, I definitely won't be doing this again.  Live and learn!

At this point it was like 6:45 pm and the Trippin' 5K/10K was to start at 7:30pm.  Michelle and I had been contemplating taking the natural option at this run (thanks, in large part, to peer pressure from other runners!), and decided some liquid courage might assist us.  We didn't bring any because neither of us are drinkers, but our tent neighbors had been offering up bourbon, so we walked back there to see if we could get some.  Figures, they weren't there, so we were on our own.  Michelle did have a Mike's mango punch but I doubt that was enough to do anything!  I'll leave Michelle's decision on the event out of this post, but I did end up following the natural crowd!  I can't believe I did it.  Overall, it was fine though, and pretty fun actually.  There were a couple of creepers (seriously guys, why do you have to ruin everything??), but most people were cool.  The ladies that did it got a blinking guitar necklace thing (I feel really gullible for wearing this.  Just think about where that lands...)  All of us (men and women) also got an extra pin to add to our collection!  (Also shown: my yoga pin!).  I'm not going to go into too much detail about this part of the event, but if you are thinking about doing it next year and have questions, feel free to contact me and ask!

After the 5K (which was actually 4 miles for me, since I did a 1 mile loop one extra time) we headed back to the campsite and pretty much directly into the swimming pool for a "hippie dip".  Lol.  I'm not sure if I actually crossed the finish line for the 5K.  It's possible that it was over by the time we came through anyway.  I only comment on this because I didn't get my button for the Trippin' 5K.  :(  I asked about it Sunday morning, but apparently somebody had stolen them all in the night.  Damnit.

After swimming, we (me, Michelle, and the Ball state kids) decided to make a run into Pinckney for alcohol and pizza.  I think it was like 10pm at this point.  (Already past my bedtime!)  We ended up staying up until about 3 am around a fire with a bunch of other people.  I wish they would've eaten more food and drank more beer though!   We still had a lot to carry Sunday morning in that stupid cooler!  We were the trouble makers that night.  Some people got really angry that we were being so noisy while they were trying to sleep.  I don't really blame them, but at the same time, I don't really plan on getting much sleep in an environment like that.  That's why we put our tent in a more remote location, and why I packed lots of ear plugs.  There was apparently a designated party spot out in corner somewhere, and I would have gladly gone, except for having to carry that stupid cooler!  It was really heavy!

smoky pic! 


After going to bed (sleeping bag?) at 3:10 am, waking up at 5:50 am was interesting.  I heard our tent neighbors talking so I woke up.  The Free Love 5 mile started at 8:30am, so we spent the morning cleaning up our trash from the night before, and packing up the tent and starting to load the car.  Michelle and I did this 5 mile together.  We ran a smidge at the beginning, but basically walked the last 3 miles completely.  (I had planned on walking a lot more than I did at the other races .... at least this one was a "success").  I had realized early on in the weekend that I was being pretty stupid with all the miles.  Since I ran on Thursday, my Thursday-Sunday mileage was like 20 miles (3+3+(5+4)+5).  That doesn't sound like much, but considering my mileage for the entire MONTH of August 35 miles, that's quite a bit more than I'm used to.  I was really concerned at first because my knee was really sore Friday evening, but Saturday it was fine.  Sunday it was sore again but not as bad as Friday.  I decided to take the week off after the event to be safe.

We left the campground at around 10am Sunday, shortly after finishing the 5 mile (it took as a while!).  We were both starving (and exhausted!) but we made it back to Ann Arbor, picked Jeff up, and went to Coney Island for brunch.  After that was the dreaded unpacking and saying farewell to Michelle for her drive back to Cleveland.  Poor girl had to nap for 15 minutes at a rest stop on the turnpike because she was too tired!

Back home, and really freakin' tired. 
 My goal was to stay awake all day and then go to bed early to get a good night's sleep before work Monday.  Mission accomplished. I stayed up until about 8pm, and slept til about 5:30 am.

Below is all my schwag from the race.  Overall, a nice haul, I think!  I like the shirt, and LOVE the medal, especially the lanyard.  The pins are nice, I am bummed that I skipped the hippie hike and missed the pin for the Trippin' 5K.  There was also hula-hooping at some point that we didn't do.  I don't know if they got a pin or not.  I only keep the unique race bibs, and I decided this one was a keeper.

I just realized you can't really see the medal very well in any of those pics, so here is one from their facebook page:

So this probably goes without saying, but I had an amazing time!  I definitely want to do it again next year (and ALL the years!)  Definitely the most fun I've had at a race.  I think this was my first "official" trail race.  I did Groundhog in February, which was my 2nd most fun race, which was sort of "trail-y" given the 8 inches of fresh powder, but technically not a trail race since the underlying terrain was paved.  At least I think it was.  Not like we ever got to see it!

Running Fit did a great job with the theme and all the events and everything over three whole days at Woodstock.  Next year, Michelle and I are planning on doing the 50K (at least).  I'm not worried about it.  We're going to go slow (lots of walking), and it's on trails so it shouldn't be too hard on the body I hope.  50K is only 5 more miles than a marathon, so considering the pace we're going to take I think we will be fine.  We met some girls who did the 50K and had never run further than 5 miles at a time!  They looked fine afterward, and they were at least my age or a little older.  We got this shit.  I almost want to do the 100K distance so we can go through the night!  (The 50K (31 miles) takes place completely on Saturday, vs the 100K (62 miles) and 100 miler which start on Friday and go through the night).  That's probably not going to happen though.  Maybe one day.

My only concern right now is of a potential conflict with Ironman Wisconsin.  This year, IM WI was the Sunday of Woodstock weekend.  I was planning to volunteer at IM WI in 2014, and then compete in the race in 2015.  I hope Woodstock and IM WI don't fall on the same weekend the next 2 years.  If they do, I guess I won't see Woodstock again until 2016.  :(  In that case though, maybe I'll be ready for the 100k!

Just do it.


  1. If I ever decide to go nuts and do an ultra, that will be the place. Looks like a great time.

  2. That sounds like SO much fun!!! Of course the Ball State kids were the partiers :) And that Trippin 5K and had to read it a few times to get what "natural" was, lol. Slow on the uptake sometimes!

    Looooved this recap - could totally tell how much you missed running. Plus the social aspect of Woodstock sounds amazing. That's a lot of bonding you don't get at races where you show up, run with strangers, then go home.


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