Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beat the Blerch 10k race recap

A little background (where i’ve been): 

I know it’s been a while since I posted. Part of the reason I’ve been so quiet is that I believe I’m having some IT band issues with my right hip. After a 9 mile run on Labor Day weekend, it was really tight and sore, but I really didn’t think much of it until I was in Yoga class the following week trying and failing to do simple stretches and poses. My Yoga teacher, who is also a runner, was the one that suggested it was my IT band and has given me some stretches to do. I believe I am out of the woods as far as a serious injury is concerned as it seems to be working itself out, but due to this I have significantly backed off on running for the month of September.



Fast forward to race morning, and I’m feeling confident about the 6.2 miles ahead of me. Morristown is about an hour away from us, so we planned to arrive at the parking lot at 8:20 for the 9:30 start time, knowing we needed to catch a 15 minute shuttle and then pick up our race packets.

We were right on time GPS wise until we came to a dead stop about .6 miles from the parking lot, which we realized was solely due to the race! People that had signed up for the half marathon, which started at 9, had gotten out of their cars and started to walk to the lot! We were in that line for about 45 minutes, which to date is the longest we have ever waited in a line to park at any event…. Off to a good start!

At one point, I got out of the car and walked to the lot as well so I could use the port-a-potty without wasting additional time. The line for them (there were only 2 there) was also ridiculously long, so I snuck into the National Guard Armory, which was the parking lot they were using for the race, and used the restroom there which was really nice, clean, and totally empty. I’m surprised more people didn’t think of this honestly… Win for me!

Once Brian was finally able to park, we then had to wait in the shuttle line, boarding at 9:23. The race was about to start, and there were still a ton of people behind us! 

15 minutes later we arrived at Lewis Morris Park, the race venue, and met up with my cousin who had come to spectate. The festival area was crowded and the packet pick up line was also long. Are you starting to sense a theme here?? I picked up our packets while Brian waited in that ridiculous port-a-potty line, and by this time the10k racers had lined up and a group of racers were starting every minute or so.

We were directed by race volunteers to the back of a very long starting line wait, which was so far back that it was up a hill and part of the course. After  a few minutes, we realized that no one was lining up behind us, even though the festival area was full when we lined up….

beat the bleach 10k morristown
Starting - dead last minus the 2 people behind us...
Apparently, the race volunteers stopped directing people after we lined up and therefore people didn’t realize that the line stretched back that far and just lined up straight at the start. This made us DEAD LAST to start the race! No worries, as it was a timed race and it shouldn’t make a difference, right? WRONG!!

I knew going into this event that it was a trail run, but honestly had no idea how technical the trail would be. I ran for about half a mile before the trail turned into a huge pile of rocks up a very steep hill. Many people in front of me were now walking, and the trail was so narrow that it couldn’t fit much more than a single file line. I powered through until about the 1.5 mile mark, where the rock piles were separated by some fallen logs and tree roots and the trail had narrowed so much that even people in a single file line were getting snagged by bushes, then said screw it and started walking as there was no way to pass.

beat the blerch 10k
Photo courtesy of Beat the Blerch East Facebook page

beat the blerch 10k
Photo courtesy of Beat the Blerch East Facebook page

 Since the trail was so technical, many things that made Beat the Blerch unique were missing from the course. There were no Blerches chasing runners, and there was only one on the course at mile 3, where the only real water station was situated along with a couch and some cake. I again said screw it and got some cake since everyone was walking in front of me. 

beat the blerch 10k
Fallen log on course - photo courtesy of Beat the Blerch East Facebook page
At mile 4, the trail eased up and started going downhill (after 3 miles straight of uphill) and I was finally able to get into a comfortable running pace. Then the roots/logs started back up again, so much so that I had to jump over many of them. Andddd because I’m so clumsy, I of course FELL DOWN A HILL , rolled a bit, and was covered in dirt. After assessing the damage - scraped hand and elbow, sore right thigh, pants still intact, I continued on and ran where I could, but still had to walk when the lines became single file.


beat the blerch 10k

My finish time was horrible, but I still managed to place 456 out of 1089 people. Since we started last, this means I had actually passed about 633 people on the course, which was no easy feat!!

How did Brian do, you ask? I assumed he was struggling as well since we started last together and we aren’t trail runners, therefore not used to the course and our ankles not trained for the terrain…. I couldn’t be more wrong! He went on to place 7th in age group and 18th overall, meaning he passed  1,071 people!!!!!! Wow!

beat the blerch 10k
Brian's fast finish!

Now back in the festival, we were able to enjoy all the Blerchy activities: cake, nutella, free photo with the Blerch on the couch, etc. 

beat the blerch 10k
Free Blerch Photo!
beat the blerch 10k

The swag was exceptional, and besides the awesome finisher's medal, we also got Blerch headbands, magnets, stickers, and they had tech tees in both men's and women's sizes!

beat the blerch 10k swag
The awesome swag!

Later that day, my leg started to swell under my jeans and turned into a golf ball sized bump above me knee. 4 days later and it’s flattened out but it’s starting to get really colorful!

My battle wound day 3 - no more swelling but very colorful!
I probably would not run this course again, although I still support the Blerch and hope they change venues next year. There were just too many people for the terrain to accommodate, and since Beat the Blerch is supposed to be full of people in costumes with a very casual atmosphere, I didn’t feel as those the course fit the theme of the event. 

Also, Brian and I just aren’t trail runners. We train almost solely on roads 
due to where we live, and I’m probably way to clumsy to attempt that type of trail regularly.

Do you run technical trails or stick solely to road races?


  1. Sorry to hear about your fall! I agree it was a very challenging technical course! I did the half and it was not fun when the trails merged with the 10K runners. Hopefully they will change the venue or take into account that for next time! Nice recap!

    1. Thanks Sharon! They defniitely didn't think the course through when planning this event. I'm hoping for a different location next year!

  2. Janine, wow, you and Brian absolutely rocked this thing. To be able to pass 456 people yourself and Brian 1,071 people on a 10k course is no easy feat. This is HUGE. Congratulations Sincerely hope the IT band is co-operating these days! :)

    1. Thanks Carl! The IT band is doing ok, I've increased the amount of Yoga/stretching I do and decreased my running mileage for the off season in hopes of it not becoming a repeat issue.

  3. Yikes! That seems like way too technical of a course for this kind of race. Hope the knee and ITB are much better by now! Having parking and porta potty nightmares must be hugely stressful for race directors. So frustrating.

    1. I won't be doing any trail runs quite like that anytime soon! Knee is better; hip is still slightly cranky on and off. I'm hoping running less during this off season will fix that.


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