I remember a song, maybe from an old musical, I think the name was "They call the wind Mariah" I have no idea what made me think of that song or who they are, but at last Saturday's Rockin' K 50 Mile Trail run I was coming up with a few names of my own for the 40-50 mph winds that blew throughout the race. Now Rockin' K (like the Heartland races) is almost always going to have wind, but this year it reached "epic" proportions with gusts clocked at over 50 mph by the NWS out of Salina. I know sometimes we here in the Heartland can feel our trail running venues lack the romance of the mountains with their heart pumping climbs and lung searing altitude. Although I'm not a mathematician, I'm pretty certain that running into a 45 mph headwind across open prairie on one of the first 70 degree days of the year, is about as difficult, if not more so, then ascending most trails through the mountains.
While certainly the hardest parts of running in wind like this is staying hydrated and pushing against the resistance (when heading straight into it) or the feeling of being pushed (when running across it)... Funny, it never really seemed to be at our back? But the other maddening aspect was the noise, that kind of wind is loud, and after nine, ten hours of it, the noise starts to get to you. I remember how quiet it was when I was finally finished and got in my car and shut the door. So quiet it was kinda eerie.
When all was said and done that Saturday about 58% of the starters made it through the entire 50 miles, I was thankful
to be among them. Several stopped after the first loop,
tempted by good food, a cold drink and a place out of the
wind. Special congratulations to Salomon/Great Plains Running Co team members Rick Mayo (2nd in a time of 9:19:21) Paul Schoenlaub (3rd) and Stuart Johnson (5th) Way to go guys!
All in all, a great day at the "K". Phil and Stacey put on a great race and for Kansas, the scenery is pretty darn good. Whatever "conditioning" my legs loose out on by not getting to climb big hills, they more then make up for in resistance training compliments of a stiff Kansas breeze.