Posted by: Karen | February 2, 2006

Ouch XC Report

Saturday I ran the 4k option instead of the 8k full course of the 12 Mile Coulee XC race. I rarely run the 4k option, and certainly had no intention of doing it that day, but sometimes stuff just happens. This race is run with a double loop. It starts along a gently undulating ridge, dips down into beautifully treed creek valley a couple of times, and then we haul our butts back up on the ridge and do it all over again for the second loop. The weather had been warm and dry the week before, leaving the ridge trails with bare, dry dirt. The bottom of the coulee, however, was glazed with hard, unforgiving ice.

My first mistake was choosing not to wear my Yaktrax. I knew that they would bother me on the grassy dirt, and thought that I would be able to gingerly balance over what little ice there might be on the bottom. There was more ice than I anticipated, and within 5 minutes of walking and trotting along I found myself staring up at the sky.

My second mistake was thinking I could trot over a piece that I could not. Usually? When I fall in a cross-country race? I bounce. I’m down, I’m up, I carry on. Usually I don’t end up with my toes pointing up in front of me, my butt soundly breaking my fall as my flailing arms, shoulders and neck strive to prevent the back of my head from cracking open. Once I managed to gingerly pick myself up I hugged a tree for a moment and then very slowly picked my way through and out of the valley.

I had very little confidence left. I ran on the dry parts, carefully balanced on the rest, and decided that I wasn’t going through the valley again without more traction or a helmet. I’ve a husband and children, eh? I do not have time to be injured. I cheered others in and took comfort knowing that I’m still on track for a perfect attendance series award (distance choice doesn’t count for that).

My arm hurt worse than my backside did for a couple of days – it’s a good thing I didn’t break my arm while trying to break my fall. I guess all that milk I love to drink must be doing some good.



  1. Nothing says “well done” like a black-and-blue butt!! 🙂

  2. Wow!! Sounds like a bad fall. What’s that old ancient Chinese saying. Fall down 7 times, get up 8. I’m proud of you for continuing with the race. I probably would’ve lay there until my hubby came to see what was taking so long.

  3. Yikes, glad you weren’t injured! Isn’t that split second between take-off and landing terrible?!

  4. Yowza…what a harrowing run. I was ‘hanging’ on every word!

  5. Oh man…that’s not a run…that’s a slide! Take care of yourself…

  6. Well, damn, no more running on the icy stuff without the spikes.

    Glad you didn’t bust something. That’s a perfect was to crack your tailbone, and no casts will fix that. Good thing you didn’t clunk your head too. Nothing worse than being carried off the course unconscious, but I think it would still count as having attended the race. No snacks though.

    You be careful up there, Karen.

  7. […] Number of DNFs: 0 I did shorten a race distance for the first time last February after falling on some ice. Hurt pride/confidence was the only real injury there. […]

  8. […] I will attempt to take it easy on Wednesday, as this Saturday I’ll be attempting to stay upright in and out of 12-mile Coulee. Thankfully the race isn’t 12 miles long – only 8k or 4k. Considering last year’s ice on that course? That’s plenty. Posted by karen | […]


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