2005 Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run, Saturday, Feb 19th, 2005
This was the first annual, inaugural event
held at Wyandotte County Park, Kansas City, Kansas.Start time was , Saturday, Feb 19th.It's a hilly, three-loop course held on bridle trails and single-track with multiple stream crossings.The morning of the race, there was light rain, temps were in the 40s, and the very hilly course had somewhat
muddy conditions.Good conditions for self-flagellation.There were 49 runners signed-up, 41 starters, 23 finishers.
There were five 2-loop finishers, and thirteen
One aid station was run by Kyle Amos' family,
(his mom, brother and wife, Stacie).The start/finish station was staffed by
my wife, Vicki, and our son, Matt.The wonderful chicken noodle soup was
made from scratch by one of our sponsors, James Barker; who happened to be the 5th place overall finisher, as well.The potato soup and peanut butter cookies were homemade by Vicki Holmes.The Rice Krispie treats were made by a friend of the Amos Family.Kyle
Amos, 3rd place, helped mark the course until the night previous to the race, and put in about 15 miles of running, just 11 hours previous to
the start of the race.
Finisher's medals were rough cut out of steel
and in the shape of dog bones. All finishers received these, but one and two loop finishers received bones cut in half
that read, "I bit off more than I could chew".
Fruit Loops(runners who
registered the day of the race, even though they knew that the weather and course conditions would suck).
Loop 1 time
Loop 2 time
Loop 3 time
Known Special Idiots* (finishers doing their first Ultra event).
Loop 1 time
Loop 2 time
Loop 3 time
* Special Idiot: “Any idiot can run
a marathon; it takes a special kind of idiot to run an ultra-marathon.” – Alan Cabelly
Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run 50k Race Report by Rick Smith, (Participant)
Thought I'd try the ultra thing. Borrowing some fitness from my
marathon in early January, I signed up for the Psycho WyCo Run Toto Run 50k in Kansas City, Kansas. "WyCo" stands for Wyandotte
County (Kansas), and the "Run Toto Run" was a held in Wyandotte County Park on the "Bridle Trails" that circle Wyandotte County
Lake, easily one of the hilliest areas of the Kansas City metro. Run Toto Run is an obvious play off The Wizard of Oz. I will
try to spare you the cliché analogies, mostly because I don't remember the Yellow Brick Road being so hilly, but I must admit
that the volunteers did make the aid stations feel like the Emerald City with all their hospitality and wonderful selection
of Munchkins...I mean, munchies. I went in just looking to finish and enjoy the laid-back ultra experience, and I managed
to do just that.
=========================== The Mud-Slinging Tale:
Nearly 50 people had signed up for this first-time race, organized
by Kansas City ultrarunner and trail running advocate Ben Holmes. Despite 40-degree temps, a steady drizzle and guaranteed
sucky conditions, five people of questionable intelligence signed up on race morning. Crazy. At the crack of dawn, 41 starters
anxiously toed the line...well, it was more like standing around in the rain chatting, waiting for the start (this was an
ultra, after all). Some last-minute direction from Ben, and we were off.
A 50k is not really much more than a marathon, but 31 miles on
trails is still plenty far to cover on foot. According to the pre-race literature:
"This is a 50-Kilometer TRAIL event. If you want a sissy paved
course, this isn't the race for you. The course is a 3-loop course run on the bridle trails of Wyandotte County Lake
Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The trails on this course can be challenging due to rocks and roots and sometimes muddy conditions,
and the constant barrage of rolling hills. But remember: This is Kansas, so how tough can it really be???" Oh, that Ben...he's
a funny one. Soon after the start, we left the safety of the parking lot and park roads and headed into
the trails where we were greeted by a sign informing us that the trails "might be muddy." I might add that this is also where
the "barrage of rolling hills" officially began.
He he, you're killing me, Ben. Killing me.
I planned to run the course in what I've read is typical ultrarunner
fashion: run the flats and downhills and walk the steep uphills. Ideally, I could find an ultra veteran to help keep me patient.
I found plenty of ultra veterans around, but with nearly 75 percent
of the course a muddy mess, the flats and downhills were runnable/slideable, and walking the uphills was just as fast as
trying to run most of them anyway. In some of the low spots, it was all I could do to keep my shoes on my feet and out of
the ankle-deep slop.
The first loop went well. I hooked up with Tom, who informed me
that he had run a couple marathons last weekend. Yeah, two marathons...last weekend. I figured anyone doing that sort of schedule
would be sure to set a sensible pace (meaning he wouldn't go out too fast...I'm not sure the word "sensible" belongs anywhere
near Mr. Double-Marathon-Weekend). The first loop was all about getting my bearings and determining what I could expect for
the next two laps.
I finished the first lap in a little less than two hours...it
had been a pretty comfortable lap, talking with Tom and taking plenty of time to enjoy all the great offerings at the aid
stations ("Scooby Snacks," warm soup, Rice Krispie bars, Pringles, pretzels, cookies, Gatorade, coffee...you name it,
they had it.) I hoped I could maintain that pace (the running, not the snacking) through the next two laps, but I also
realized the mud would have something to say about that.
Tom had stopped to make some shoe adjustments, so I was on my
own as I headed out for my second lap. It had quit raining, so I made a quick stop to change from my heavier fleece jacket
into a lighter weight shirt, then it was back into the trails. I soon caught up with Dann, Ben and Angie, and we covered
the second lap as a group.
More good conversation, another leisurely aid station stop, and
a familiar course led us back to the end of the second loop in a little over two hours. A little slower than the first
loop, but most of it was probably due to a little detour we took so Angie could show us a really cool concrete overflow-drainage-funnel-thing
that dropped water like a water park ride around 75 feet straight down. Well worth a look, but it was a good thing we looked
on the second loop...I think the vertigo would have been too much for me on the third lap, and the extra little distance wouldn't
have been very welcome, either. Besides, I'm not sure the waiver covered a swimming and diving portion of the race.
By the end of the second loop, the mud was taking its toll, and
my legs were taking notice. Nothing major, and it helped that I had a veteran ultrarunner in Dann hanging around to keep me
company. Hard to complain much about a little 50k when Dann is rattling off near-death experiences and humorous encounters
from various 50-milers, 100-milers and 24-hour runs he has done...
Third verse, same as the first. Dann and I made our way through
the course at a steady pace, now traversing familiar terrain. For Dann, that meant having a pretty good idea how far to the
next aid station or other landmark. For me, it was more like one long, continuous deja vu: "Oh yeah, I remember this
mud section. It comes right after that last mudslide we just came down and right before this next uphill where we try and
grab the nearby limbs to keep from sliding backwards." The only place I consistently remembered from the previous two laps
was Ben's "Mile 1" marker, placed somewhere between second and fifth miles of the 10-mile loop. Approximately 15 feet beyond
the marker was Ben's "Just Kidding" marker.
You a very funny man, Mr. Holmes!
Yet another leisurely aid station stop (had my first Starbucks
Frappuccino thing...Nectar from the Gods, I tell you) and increasing fatigue managed to slow us down even more on the
last loop, but no matter. We had both quit "racing" early on, and just savoring the satisfaction that comes from a long day
in the beauty of the outdoors was more than enough. I'm convinced we could have had a slightly better finish time, but my
enjoyment of the experience far outweighed a few minutes here or there, especially since the conditions dictated so much
of our pace. Besides, I might not have noticed the Scooby Snacks at the aid station.
Everyone who finished received "dog bone" finisher's medals, rough
cut out of steel. Those finishing one or two loops received bones cut in half that read, "I bit off more than I could chew."
That Ben Holmes, he's such a cut-up.
Bottom line, a great first-timer experience. I might want to try
another 50k sometime. Or I might want to try working up to a 50-miler someday. Or I may never do another ultra. No matter
what, I can say that I have no regrets from choosing this one. It was well-run, with just the atmosphere and support I was
looking for, and I'd recommend it to anyone...especially if they like mud.