Custom Search

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spillway Classic Trail Run

This morning hubby and I ran the Spillway Classic, a kind of silly 3 mile race through the woods and swamp and levees. It's held in Norco, which is the name of a narcotic pain killer and, coincidentally, a small industrial town outside of New Orleans. The idea behind the race is to get dirty, sweaty, and muddy. There are awards for the muddiest finishers and, as popularity of the race has grown, quite the post race party. This year we had hot dogs, MASSAGES, beer, and snowballs. Dude, snowballs! My idea of post-race food!
I decided that this mud-fest would be a great way to kiss the Nikes goodbye. I got about 650 miles out of them and the soles are completely worn away at the ball of the foot. It doesn't help that I land on the insides of my feet, so they wear unevenly, but seriously these things didn't hold up well at all. Today was their farewell race.

Actually I accidentally threw these out a few weeks ago when I bought my newest shoes but I made David fish them out of the trash for me, right before the garbage men came. What did God make husbands for, anyway?
So, the race review: The spillway classic is oodles of fun, but it is not a race you run for time. Period. Here's why: the course starts on a levee, then descends into swampy woods in a single file trail. To run fast you have to basically be the first person at the start, because you can do little passing on the levee (it's narrow, there are 2000 people on it, and the sides are steep crumbly dirt so you can't skip out on the edges to pass unless you feel like tumbling down the levee). Once you get into the woods, there are two gigantic mud pits and one large muddy puddle, in which all the people you didn't pass on the levee slip, slide, and splash (ok, I may have done some splashing, too. Mud is fun when you have old shoes). Then everyone HALTS!!! Screeching halt!!! This is the point at which runners realize that they are actually entering a narrow, hilly path in the woods. The couch-to-5kers freak out for a moment, then everyone comes to grip with the fact that the only way out is the mud puddles or the woods. The column gradually eases forward. Then you run single file through hills, bridges, roots, fallen logs, ramps, etc - all fun stuff - in the woods. You come out in a grassy field right at the finish, boom, you're done. The only time you have for a sprint is on the grass...if sprinting is your thing.
Spillway Pros: Totally fun, great chance for trail running, technical T-shirt, really good post-race party, firefighters spraying off the muddy runners afterward, choice of ale or light beer, first 500 finishers get some kind of goofy award. Here's this year's:

It's a BOTTLE OPENER! How freaking adorable is that!!! I love!!!
Spillway Cons: Really none, but just for disclosure it's only 3 miles, it's in BFE, and it's not a race you run for time (not just because of the trails and mud; also the super slow start). Like no PRs here.
I definitely had fun, but we started way in the back today and literally no one passed me. I only passed other people - including about 12 people in the woods, just for grins. Next year I'd try to scoot up to the front a little more because we were really going SLOOOOW in the woods.
Moral dilemma: I try to start with the same group I'll finish with. I don't want to be blocking any speedy runner's way, but I also don't like being behind lots of walkers and slow pokes. Now that I got hubby to drink the running Kool Aid, he's starting with me much of the time. Unfortunately, since he's slower, we've been starting more to the back. Should I still start at the frontish? Make him start behind me? Just shut up and stay towards the back? Opinions from other racers, please!


  1. That race sounds like a blast. I love the bottle opener! I haven't really gotten hubby hooked on the running but at the last one we did together, I stuck in the back with him and then spent time weaving and passing. He wanted me to go ahead but I didn't really feel right moving to the middle until we started, so I understand your dilemma. I'd say, if you aren't going for time, stick with him at the start, but if it's one you want to go for time, then start where you feel you should!

  2. I ran the classic today! Silly or not, it's one of my favorite races. I ran it last year and the water hazard was only a 1 (aka a teeny puddle that I ran around b/c there were like 4 people taking up the whole puddle and looking for their shoes) so I had fun with today's 2.5. :) I think in this particular race, it is very important to start in the front and try to burn yourself out on the first mile to get in a good place once you get to the woods b/c if you start too far back, you end up behind people who stop in the middle of the trail in the woods and you can't get by. I just love the part of the run that goes through the woods- both years I've found myself thinking that I would love to do a 10K of just that wooded trail. It's so much fun to run and jump and duck. :)

  3. Regarding potential trail runs in Mississippi, if you find out about them, you can email me at srgallender (at) We really should do some races together sometime, although I'm pretty sure you will smoke me. :)

  4. Hmmm, that is a tough call on whether to run w/ the hubs or leave him in your dust. Maybe do a little bit of both? I am glad he's caught the running/racing bug, though!