async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Race Recap: Crossroads Trail Run 5k

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Race Recap: Crossroads Trail Run 5k

A few weeks ago, I was planning my weekend out of town to Door County, Wisconsin. No matter where I'm headed, I always check to see if there are any races near my destination. I was surprised to stumble upon this little trail race in Sturgeon Bay. The Crossroads Trail Run has been held for the past 10 years at the Big Creek Environmental Learning Preserves. The race supports the Crossroads Trail programs and is also intended to promote environmental awareness in the community.

I loved all that, but what really got me was that every finisher would receive A TREE. The trees were donated by a local nursery. Also, because it was the 10th anniversary, every finisher would receive a handcrafted cherry wood medallion. Ok, they had me at tree, but I was pretty excited about the medallion too. Cherries are the local produce that Door County is known for. There are a variety of distances offered to participants: 10k, 5k run/walk, and a 2k walk. Because I'm still working on coming back and building endurance, I decided to do the 5k.

I talked with my son, who would be accompanying me to Door County for the weekend along with his girlfriend. They were excited to participate but decided to sign up for the 2k walk. I warned them that it would be an early morning, but they assured me it wouldn't be a problem. On Saturday, I woke them up at 6 am and although they weren't excited about the early wakeup call, we made the 45 minute drive to Sturgeon Bay.



We arrived about 30 minutes before race time in order to pick up our race packets. Parking was right at the facility. Packet pickup was easy. Every participant received a Green Layer gender-specific performance shirt. We pinned on our bibs and I headed over to the 2 portapotties before the race start. The 10k runners went off first at 8 am, followed by the 5k runners, and the 2k walkers.

Initially, I started out at about a 9 m/m pace, with lots of runners and kids sprinting past me. But you know how that ends up, right? During the race, I ended up passing a lot of those folks.

The course started out on a limestone path but most of the race was run on a grassy trail. There was a pretty wooded section with tall pines overhead, serving as a canopy. The forest floor was covered with pine needles and it was a little hard to find the trail. I was grateful to have runners ahead of me. Overall, the course was winding and a bit dizzying. There were different colored flags marking each distance but if there weren't volunteers directing the runners I probably would have taken a wrong turn and have gotten lost.

The crazy trail
I ran about 2 miles before I had to stop to catch my breath. After that stop, there were two more. I needed to remind myself that the terrain and the curvy course were making it a little more challenging for me than if it were a road race. Towards the end of the race, we ran back through the woods, over a bridge, and towards the finish line. My son and his girlfriend had just finished the 2k walk and were waiting for me. She videoed me crossing the finish line.


Volunteers were waiting to hand us our medallions. I took mine and put my hands on my thighs to catch my breath. The athletic trainer came over to make sure I was ok. I reassured her and grabbed a cup of gatorade. Talk about leaving it all on the course!

There were 25 ladies total in the 50-59 AG
We walked over to a computer kiosk to check our results and I was excited to see I came in 3rd place in my age group! This race had 10 year age groups and that makes it more challenging to place. Of course, I wanted to come in 1st because the prize was a quart of maple syrup. But still, the third place prize was a jar of honey. I can't complain about that! For finish line treats, there was vanilla ice cream with cherries and granola, all local products. Personally, I think every race should have ice cream and cherries!

This race was a surprisingly well-supported event. There were a total of 400 participants and I certainly wouldn't have expected chip timing and gender-specific race shirts. My only complaint about the course is all the twists and turns--I don't know if this is common for a trail race since I've only run 2 of these. The volunteer support was incredible. I've run much larger races that had nowhere near as many volunteers as this one did. I loved the quirky age group awards and receiving a tree at the finish line was a very cool thing. If finishers didn't want to keep the tree, they could donate it back to Crossroads and it would be planted there. We took ours back to my parents' house, where they plan to plant them along the driveway.


I would definitely run this race again. It was a fun morning running in a beautiful place.

I ran a trail race and got a tree at the finish line! /via @oldrunningmom #runchat #running #DoorCounty

Have you run trail races and if so, is it common for the course to be full of twists and turns like this one? Do you run slower on trails? What is the most unique award you've ever received?

I'm linking up with Kim and Zenaida for Tuesday Topics.


46 comments :

  1. What fun, and so cool that your son and his girlfriend participated! I ran the Marine Corps 17.75K a couple of years ago. It was mostly trail, very rocky and difficult to navigate. Definitely different than a road race! Congrats on the AG award!

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    1. That is a race I'd love to run, just because. Of course the automatic entry to MCM would be a bonus!

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  2. I love the idea of getting a tree!

    I've only done a few trail races, obviously, but none of them were terribly twisty. Many longer trail races loop (a LOT), which is something I don't like so much about trail racing because I think looping is boring -- plus knowing you have to go up the really big hill for the third time . . .

    Congrats on your AG place! I actually just missed out at mine (only 5 year AGs), which totally surprised me, but the awards were cookies & I wouldn't actually have wanted that. The women I recognized from the wed night group runs -- who has only been running a year, and is about Darlene's age -- she ran our race in under 30 min! Definitely a speedster.

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    1. I'm going to avoid those repeated loop races--that's no fun! At this point in my life, it's all about the ride...

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  3. What a fun race! That's great that they concentrated so much on local products and they gave everyone trees :) That does look like a pretty twisty course. It seems like it would be easy to accidentally go the wrong way or something.

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    1. It would have been really easy to go the wrong way! But they had so many volunteers that it wasn't a worry.

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  4. Congrats on the AG award! There were a LOT of women in your age group. And a race that gives trees to participants is awesome. This sounds exactly like my kind of race! :)

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    1. I'm so pleased with my placement; but I'd sure like to be able to push the pace without dying in a 5k!

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  5. "You had me at tree" - you crack me up! And I agree!

    I haven't run a trail race but at least they had those volunteers to show you the way... I mean, it might be a good thing with all the twists and turns since it keeps you mentally engaged and not focused on the pain, right? Maybe that was the idea!

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    1. This was such an excellent race and so well organized. I'm so glad I did it! And yes, the trees were awesome!

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  6. The few trail races I've run (3 different courses, but run a few times each) have all been twisty, slippery (due to the dew on the grass, pine needles, etc.) and somewhat muddy. They all have been more hilly than I'd expect, which that adds to the challenge, so none of them were run at my usual pace. One of them gave out seedlings the first year I ran it, but I cannot remember what happened to mine (?). Congrats on the AG!

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    1. This was my 2d trail race and both of them have been slower than I'm used to, so AG awards are welcome. But I need to work a little better on pacing.

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  7. Trail races are always more challenging. I have a 10k trail race this week that I am not wishing I registered for the 5k. ;-)
    Great job on the AG win! I know you weren't first but still a winner!

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  8. What a cool race, especially the tree! Congrats on the AG award - trail races really seem to suit you right now. The one trail race I did had all sorts of turns, including a hairpin turn right before the final sprint.

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    1. I'm enjoying the laid back vibe and the relatively slower pace of the trail races!

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  9. Very cool! I love running on trails, something so peaceful being in the woods. While the terrain is difficult, I find having to think about where I'm going focuses me completely on my running and not on 10 bajillion other things I shouldn't be bothered with thinking about. Congratulations on an AG award! Nice tree!

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    1. I agree! I wish we had more trails around here so I could run them more often.

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  10. Finding a race while on vacation, getting your boys to wake up and placing in your AG! That is a win for sure. I love the tree as a medal how fun. I have fallen twice on trail races and I am afraid to try again. I like the idea of them though. I always check to see if there are races when I travel too!

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  11. I love that this race had really unique swag - I don't think I've ever heard of a race that gave out trees!

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  12. Congrats on the AG award and the finishing time. It sounds like a good race, in a beautiful place with perfect organization.
    I had only one experience on trail (I mean real trail not race in the country). It happened when I was member of the Navy Running Time many years ago at La Maddalena Naval Base. It was a nightmare: 2 hours of delay, under a rainstorm, path full of mood with a creek to cross, twists, turns and tree roots everywhere. I said: "no more"!

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    1. That would have been a challenge! My trail race was really tame compared to that.

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  13. How lovely! I love the tree and the medal and you doing a trail course! To answer the questions, yes, I think they are more wiggly. Well, the one I'm doing next month is quite straight as it's along a neolithic trackway but in general the Bumble Bimble for example had wiggles and loops in its 10 miles. And yes, it's slower, that sounded like a nice surface to run on but you are watching your feet and concentrating, and there are often gates and stiles to negotiate. Very well done on your AG placing!

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    1. I was happy with the AG place but not so happy with my pacing. I will continue to work on that!

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  14. I mostly do trail runs and I've had quite the mix, depending on the route! I tend more towards 15-21km at the moment, and there have definitely been a couple of sections where we hit switchbacks or pine sections that make it harder to find the path.

    I LOVE the tree! What a neat concept; and major congrats on the AG award

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    1. Trail runs are a little tougher to find in this area--but I will do my best to find more! It's nice to run in nature. I can see why you like it.

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  15. Congrats! I have a Norway pine in the yard that started out as a seedling from a race. It's maybe 3 ft. tall now. Fun prize!

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    1. I was surprised at how nice the trees were! I hope they like their new home. :)

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  16. This sounds like so much fun! I love that your family participated. And the prize tree -- that's just awesome! I am eyeing a trail race in July - would it be crazy to do a 10K as my first? I really don't care about my pace ...

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    1. I don't think doing a 10k is crazy at all! I considered doing the 10k but since my son and his GF were walking the 2k, I didn't want to make them wait for me.

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  17. I love trail races but you never really know what you'll find. That was quite a twisty course though! Congrats on placing in your AG. I would do that race for the tree too!

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  18. Well Hot Damn, Congrats!! And Throwing This One Out There, Planting A Tree In Honor Of A Passing Of A Friend, Family Member, Or Pet Might Be The Reason Way You Received That Beautiful New Sapling. Nothing Like Running An Unknown Trail And Placing. Well Done

    Cheers

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    1. It was a short little race but hey, an AG is an AG, right? The tree was the icing on the cake!

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  19. Sounds like a fun race! Congrats on your AG finish! I only do trail races now. No more road races (and mostly no road running) for me.

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    1. If only we had more trail races around here! I would definitely do more of them.

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  20. Way to leave it all out there! Love the tree at the finish line! So cool!

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    1. I thought it was a lot of fun! I need to work on longer distances tho.

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  21. Congrats on the AG award! I love that every finisher received a tree. Not too many races give out cool prizes anymore.

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    1. I'm definitely seeking out more unique experiences now. My medal rack is full!

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  22. I love this - everything sounds so nice and the tree at the finish line is super cool. Good job taking third, especially with that many women in your AG!

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    1. The 2 women who came in ahead of me were super fast! I'm surprised I came in 3rd.

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  23. I love that you got a tree for finishing!! That is so cool! I really want to try a trail race someday but first I have to get in more practice runs on a trail. It's pretty hard to do in a big city. I guess I just have to suck it up and drive myself out of town to go on my runs. Congratulations!

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    1. I don't get much, if any trail running here. This was a 5k and I figured I could manage that distance without training on trails. For a longer distance, I'd definitely seek out a place to run!

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