Location: Boyne Mountain Resort, Boyne Falls, MI
Date: October 6th, 2018
I ended up arriving at Boyne Mountain Resort right around 7AM. I had been up there the day before but they were unable to find the t-shirt for me. We had a choice of color and I asked for a slightly different one than most of the runners chose. I found the race director (Chris) and he said he was able to find the shirt just after I left yesterday, not a big deal, I had it now!
This weekend was also “Skitoberfest” at Boyne Mountain. More information on that is here: https://www.boynemountain.com/upcoming-events/skitoberfest
Around 7:30 most of the other runners had gathered near the starting line. I was watching the weather all week for the race. I was really, REALLY hoping that the rain was going to hold off. There was a break between 7-8AM where there was no rain so I went and tossed my jacket back in the car. Plus honestly, it was just too warm anyways since I knew I would end up sweating a lot. Just before 8AM though, as expected the rain started again. Oh well, nothing I have not ran in before.
The first part of the run was quite literally straight up a ski slope. I had never considered running one before, and honestly will probably never want to run one again. For some perspective, here is a photo from the start area:
The photo really doesn’t do it justice though, once you get out there it is just nuts. It is quite literally over 500 feet of elevation change in around .25 – .50 mile.
After getting up the hill we were on the golf cart path around the resort. It wasn’t too bad and felt like a typical road run since it was pavement, just with more hills.
After following the cart path for about 4.5-5 miles we veered off into the woods again. Another steep(ish) hill later was the first aid station.
There was water, apples, oranges and a few flavors of Hi-C I believe. I opted for some of the Hi-C, spoke with the race directors dad for a little bit then took off down the trail again.
The trail was now in the woods, mostly switching between two-track width trails and single track. This was probably my favorite part as it reminded me of running in Elmira on the Jordan Valley Pathway/NCT. Below are a few shots from the trail. Some of the photos are blurry as I was running or had too much water on my phone from the rain.
Around the 12/13K mark I figured it was time for a selfie!
Don’t let the smile fool you, my legs were on fire and I was definitely soaked from the rain. More often than not my shoes and socks were absolutely drenched. Aside from my breathing, several times I could hear the “sloshing” of my socks in my shoes from the rain.
After weaving in and out of the woods for a bit, around the 17K mark was the next aid station. Again with apples, oranges, water and Hi-C as well as some various candy and chips! I was all for the candy, I have such a sweet tooth!
After this aid station it was time to cross the road and do a loop in the wood near the tennis courts. It was a pretty short loop, around a mile or so but I did walk a few times despite it being flat. I was still trying to conserve energy because I knew what was coming up.
After the loop in the woods we went around the tennis courts, across the road and back towards the start/finish area. We went past that and began running the 5K course as the last part of the run. The 5K course ran up the side of the mountain (not one of the ski slopes) but was still another 500 foot elevation change! I walked this, I knew it was too steep to consider running as I felt my heart rate was already pretty high.
Part way up the side of the mountain I stopped to snap a quick photo.
After reaching the top we followed the cart path back through the woods again and around down towards the bottom of the mountain, near where we started.
This is where things got a little confusing.
Unless you were paying attention to all of the instructions when we started, or running the 5K, you did not know that you were supposed to run back up one of the ski slopes again as part of the 25K. I recalled hearing that and stopped to check the map on my phone and sure enough, it was part of the run. As much as I didn’t want to go up the slope again, I turned around and did it. It was part of the race experience and I had paid for it!
Again I took my time going up, mostly walking due to how steep the hill was. This absolutely killed my overall pace but I didn’t care, I was going for completion!
I stopped several times to snap photos on the way up since I was already walking anyways 🙂
After reaching the top it was time to head back down (yay, almost there!). I think going down may have actually been worse though. The ground was very soft, with lots of loose dirt. It was actually pretty hard on my knees and ankles as I was trying to keep my balance most of the way down.
According to my watch I finished the race in 02:48:54. I was disappointed to find out that was not actually 25K though (several other runners confirmed this as well)! I followed the course the best I could but I think it was just short in the end.
Below is the elevation chart from my watch.
I’m pretty sure it’s the first and last time I’m paying to run up a ski slope 😉
I do have to say, I like the design on the shirts! The cup was the medal for finishing the race.
Side-note: I wore my ASICS GT-2000 6 Trail Shoes again. I had some issues with these a few weeks back on my first run with them when I ran on the Warner Creek Pathway and the Jordan Valley Pathway. Partially due to my socks and the amount of dirt in my shoes, but also the way they were laced and some heel slipping causing a huge blister on my heel!
I changed up how I laced them by looping the top holes which really helped, especially considering the amount of dirt on them at the end of the run!
Overall I really enjoyed the run, despite the weather not agreeing!
I was a little disappointed about it not being a full 25K as I was hoping this would be my first one, but it happens. Maybe that means I’ll do the VASA Trail Run 25K in Traverse City next month, still have time to decide! Also considering the Treetops Trifecta since it is in Gaylord and so close to home!