Run Woodstock is a hippie-themed weekend of peace, love, music, tie-dye, camping, and running at Hell Creek Ranch in Pinckney, MI.
In addition to 5k/10k, 5 mile, full/half marathon, 50k/50 mile, and 100k/100 mile races, there were also optional activities such as hiking, hula hooping, tie dying, yoga, and even 'natural' (sans clothing) runs.
FAST provides grants and fellowship programs to encourage research aimed at finding a cure for Angelman Syndrome. The organization also provides education and advocacy services.
In honor of the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics, the Angel Runners coined the term 'F.A.S.T. Island' in reference to our campgrounds.
Shortly after I pitched my tent and set up my sleeping quarters, an air raid siren sounded. I quickly learned this was a tornado warning after I shocked everyone by explaining earthquakes 'just happen' in California - there is no advance warning.
I was still standing there in shock when a local fellow running blogger, Clark from Traveller's Running Log, arrived. After we determined F.A.S.T. Island was unharmed, he helped us reinforce the camp to guard against future wind storms.
It rained consistently through the night so we were prepared for mud when we headed out to the trails in the morning.
Boyana and Timothy's Freak 50k started at 6:00 am. Krishna's Mellow Full Marathon started at 7:30 am along with the Hippie Half Marathon which Dawn, Jason, and I were registered for.
The morning was pleasant but humid. The heavy foliage from the trees shaded us from the sun and helped keep us cool.
I also learned a new euphemism for poop - road apples. Except I kept getting confused and saying 'mud apples'.
The course was well marked with colored flags and directional signage.
Expecting more course support, the only nutrition I brought with me were EnergyBits spirulina algae supplements and a Smucker's Uncrustables from Boyana.
Halfway through the run, I decided to chew on my EnergyBits despite the instructions to swallow them whole. The taste reminded me of Japanese nori (seaweed) crackers. I quickly regretted this decision because I ended up with green residue on my lips which I managed to smear everywhere - especially my hydration bite piece.
It was the solution to my quest for a sturdier portable peanut butter and jelly sandwich for long runs. The little crustless dumpling shaped pods come frozen in individually wrapped packages with just enough air to cushion the Uncrustable.
Presumably from the previous evening's windstorm, there were a number of what appeared to be freshly fallen trees on the trail.
Some sections had so many downed trees that we felt like mini hurdlers.
The Hippie Half course crossed paths with the longer distance races so we had the opportunity to cheer on some of the Hallucination 100ers. (Unfortunately, we could not say the same for their aide stations.)
Dawn met an energetic 82 year old runner named Bob out on the course. We chatted with him briefly and then discussed how we hoped we would be in similar physical shape at that age.
Although my stomach growled and cramped with hunger, I was pleased to see the combination of the EnergyBits and the Uncrustable carried me to the finish.
After Dawn, Jason, and I completed our Hippie Half, we returned to F.A.S.T. Island and waited for Krishna to finish the Mellow Full.
We cheered Boyana and Timothy upon their completion of the Freak 50k.
In the evening, Boyana and I headed out with our headlamps for the non-'natural' (fully clothed) Flippin' 5k.
Runners for both Flippin' 5k versions started out fully clothed (this was a family-friendly event, after all) but at some point out on the course, there was a split where the fully clothed runners veered in one direction and the 'natural' runners stripped and completed their race in the nude.
After completing my first ultramarathon at last year's Freak 50k, I enjoyed racing a shorter distance and having more time to participate in the Run Woodstock weekend activities.
One thing that impressed me was the exceptional porta-potty maintenance. Some campers arrived on Thursday but even on Sunday, the porta-potties were well-stocked and not overflowing.
I want to thank Boyana, Dawn, Jason, Krishna, and Timothy for another unforgettable Run Woodstock weekend full of running, camping, and laughs. I am already looking forward to doing this again next year.