January 17, 2013

The 1st Annual SHITR

By Robin Rongey with Comments by Chuck Vohsen

"What an amazing/awful and magical/miserable and great/terrible night to run!

This was a quote by Chuck after the run, and I find that it is so fitting, not just for the runners, but for the volunteers too. To understand why, I need to start from the beginning and this is how the story goes.

Chuck and I are out running and he says “hey we should put on a trail run event, all of our friends are doing it and it is always fun” I, of course say, “that’s a good idea” he then goes on and explains his idea. A nighttime trail half marathon and have it in January. He was working on a great name for it, and Lori thought of  a great sticker idea to make it come together:  The Shivering Icy Trial Run, SHITR for short.  I laughed, then went into director mode.

We found a date that worked for both of us, and I started calling all my race directors friends looking for free schwag that we could give away. Chuck setup a Facebook event and posted the run information on the blog. We did a pre-run in December and checked out what Chuck thought would be a good mystery event. I have to say here, that we had a couple other runners with us so they knew the answer ahead of time or at least where to find the answer, I won’t name names, Kate, Patrick and Russ so don’t worry no one will know it was any of you.

I also sent out emails to the Metro Tri Club mailing list and from there it got resent to the SLUG’s mailing list. Of course somewhere in the email chain, it got to someone in the Missouri Dept of Conservation and we were asked to get a permit. Lucky for us Patrick was wrong about how the government works and we got the permit without incident. 

Patrick wasn’t wrong about how the government works, they almost always suck.  But we got incredibly lucky – the land manager for the wildlife area was exceptional!  He was totally understanding about our ignorance of the permit process and had the permit ready for us in no time.  Thanks  John!

When we decided to do this, we wanted to offer a really crazy run, with hope of seeing snow or ice. Oh and to make the mileage 13.1 we had to add a leg, so a trip to the top of the mound and back down was added. BTW, Chuck thought that up, so everyone blame him, it wasn’t me.

Haha, someone in the group I was running up the stairs with yelled out, “Who’s idea was this?”  I yelled back something like “Mine! Ain’t it great!  This wind is just as amazing as I hoped it would be!”  I never heard a reply but I’m sure it went something like, “You sick bastard”.

We thought maybe we would get 10-15 people to show up for it, but we quickly saw that we have a bunch of really insane friends and we might get 30 or so runners to come out.
We also thought why not make it something charitable.  Trail runners and adventure racers are just great people, so we thought they would be all up to contribute for a good cause. Chuck updated the blog to let everyone know that contributions to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America through our friend Patrick’s, 100+ Project would be appreciated.

The SHITR day finally came but due to a lingering injury, I could not run, so I switched over to full race director mode. Chuck’s wife Lori was also nursing an injury so she would be volunteering with me. Rob, Michelle, Sharon and David were also on hand to help out.

We had everyone sign-in by writing their name on a piece of poster board. We did this so we could make sure everyone made it out of the woods and if they didn’t we could go find their bodies.

I wanted the whole sign-in and timing thing to be minimalist so it wouldn’t spoil the grassroots vibe.  But I also wanted to know how many people came and be able to post some kind of results.  Hopefully we hit a good balance.

We were also giving out KIND bars, if you have not tried one you should they are the best bars I have ever had and they come in many flavors. I think they give me super human abilities too, I don’t have any scientific evidence to backup this claim, but I really believe it anyway. The people at KIND were very generous in donating these bars for the run. Many of the runners took a bar along on the run so they would have some extra energy when needed.

Thanks KIND!

As the runners lined up, the temperature was starting to drop. It had been 60 degrees earlier in the day, but it was 50 at the start of the run.

As the runners took off and headed up to the top of the mound, we felt the first rain drop fall.

It felt so good to finally be off and running with such a great group!  All the planning headaches were totally worth it.

In just minutes runners were headed back down and the darkness started to fall. Head lamps started glowing and soon all we saw was the backs of runners in the distance.

Lori and Michelle had headed down to the creek to get photos, so Rob, Sharon, David and I grabbed umbrellas and rain jackets and headed down the Hamberg to the Lost Valley trail head. There was no real purpose in the trip other than to keep busy while waiting for the runners to finish. It took us about an hour to get back to the van at the finish line and we were soaking wet by the time we got there.

We jumped in the van, turned the heat on full blast and pulled the van up to the finish line, turned on the head lights and waited. Soon we saw headlamps in the distance and at 1:43 Rob Ragnet-Schofield crossed the finish line.

Lori, Michelle, Sharon and I were standing out in the rain cheering and ringing cow bells. We gave Rob the Fastest SHITR award and Lori handed out the first custom made SHITR window sticker.

Minutes later Travis Redden crossed the line to cheering and ringing cow bells.

Then Aaron Fanetti crossed the line in 3rd place, but what was even more incredible was that he was wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts. Oh, so this doesn’t sound so awesome does it. Wait for it… by the time the first finisher crossed the line, the temperature had dropped to 33 degrees and the rain had turned to sleet. He is a little more awesome now isn’t he.

One of the other bits of schwag handed out at the finish line went to Russ D. from the Metro Tri Club.  A great pair of wool compression sleeves from Swiftwick!

By this time, I had to stop taking photos because my camera kept trying to focus on the sleet and I could get a good photo. It was so cold and we were so wet we started standing under the open hatch of the van trying to suck some of the heat out onto us. I’m not sure how this happened, but while all four of the girls were out in the cold, rain and sleet cheering the finisher in, the boys were in the warm dry van recording finish times. All finish times were taken from the clock in the van, so they were really an estimate, but hey what is a minute or two difference between friends.

At just under two hours we cheered Emily Korsch to a first place finish for the women. She got her custom SHITR sticker and got to pick a prize from our schwag box in the back of the van.
After that things were more of a blur, probably because icicles were hanging off my eye lashes. People came in so cold and wet, but all with smiles and their faces, knowing what an accomplishment it was to finish.

We needed a couple awards for the most Awesome SHITR husbands, Jeff Sona went back out to run his wife Carrie in and Chris Fulkerson went back out to run his wife Kerri in. I’m seeing a trend here, women named Carrie/Kerri, no matter what the spelling, have awesome husbands.

As we stood there cheering, more and more people came across the line, it doesn’t matter if they did the full distance or the short course they are all champions in my eyes.

Standing there seeing the runners shiver and try to change clothes and get warm, made me jealous of what I missed. I know, crazy right, they had crazy stories to tell and I wanted to have stories too.

They were so cold, I heard Kate exclaim, “I can’t feel my ass”. And she may or may not have had to have help getting her jeans on after getting a cramp in her foot. Jim D may or may not have had to have help changing clothes. Props to Doug Bristow for taking on that task and finding Jim hand warmers to help him warm up.

As it got later in the night, groups headed out to El Azteca for Mexican food and margaritas while we waited for the last finishers to cross the line.

We waited knowing that Christina and Chris and Kerri were still out and worried as the temperature continued to drop and the rain became more ice and less rain, but in the distance we saw head lamps, and soon they crossed the line.

It was Kerri’s first half marathon and what a half marathon it was. She should be very proud when she tells the story of her first half marathon. So now there were no bodies left for dead and we were all headed to get Mexican food.

Note: Jim Donahue got the Biggest SHITR award, and I don’t want to discuss why, Carrie Sona got the Messiest SHITR award because she was covered in mud when she finished the race, and Bob “Goldmember” Jenkins got an SPBLD award, but again maybe I don’t want to write about that either, the acronym stood for Shit Pants Bob, you decide what that means.

It was so cool that Russ brought the old bowling trophies to recycle.  They fit the mood of this run so well that we’ve got a guy out scouring thrift stores already for next year.  He’ll come up with the cheapest, campiest, old trophies for whatever awards we can think up.

Chuck and I want to thank all 45 runners for showing up and getting exactly what we promised, a “dark shivering icy trail run”.

We would also like to thank KIND, the Simmons firm, and the Metro Tri Club for donating schwag, the MO Dept of Conservation for use of the conservation area and GORC for building and maintaining the trails.

I’m going to channel Patrick right now and tell you what I think he wants to say to the runners.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who made a donation to the 100+Project! The money you donated will go to help out kids and young adults that suffer from asthma and allergies who are uninsured or underinsured. Your donation will make a difference!

Click to see Photos taken by Lori

Click to see Photos taken by Robin

For myself reporting on the run;  I had a great time hanging out at the start talking and goofing off with everyone and probably would not have gotten us started on time if Robin hadn’t been there directing.  It was really cool to start off running with my youngest son, and to run with everyone I met along on the trail.  My favorite part of the night had to be hanging out drinking and eating at El Azteca.  There were times I was laughing so hard I could’ve fallen out of my chair.  Other than that I’m going to leave all the details of the dark, cold, rain and sleet to other runners who are far better writers than I am.  Go check out these race reports, they are really inspiring!

January 16, 2013

The Movie - SHivering Icy Trail Run

Here is the Movie of the SHITR, the book will be released in the next couple days.  I think the book is always better than the movie, but in case you're not a reader, you can watch the movie.

January 15, 2013

Race Report Coming Soon

Robin has a race report and video in work.  It should be posted within a few days.  But while we wait SHITR runner Bethany James posted this awesome piece of creativity that I wanted to share:

My ode to Rock racing for putting this on, a la Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham: (sorry it's so long)

Would you like to run tonight?

I would not like to run so late. I would not like to, it’s not great.

Would you like to, here or there?

I would not like to here or there. I would not like to anywhere.
I don’t like to run so late. I don’t like it, it’s not great.

Would you like to on a trail? Would you like to in some hail?

I would not like to on a trail. I would not like to in some hail.
I would not like to here or there. I would not like to anywhere.
I don’t like to run so late. I don’t like it, it’s not great.

Would you do it in the mud? Would you do it, caked in crud?
Not in the mud. Not caked in crud.
Not on a trail. Not in some hail.
I would not do it here or there. I would not do it anywhere.
I don’t like to run so late. I don’t like it, it’s not great.

Would you, could you, in the cold,
Do it! Do it! You’ll feel bold!
I would not, could not in the cold.

You may like it, you will see. You may like it, though the trees.

I would not, could not through some trees.
Not in the cold. You let me be!!
Not in the mud. Not caked in crud.
Not on a trail. Not in some hail.
Not here or there. Not anywhere.
I don’t like to run super late
I don’t like it, it’s not great.

A mound! A mound! A mound! A mound!
Could you, would you on a mound?

Not on a mound! Not through the trees! Not in the cold! You let me be!
I would not, could not in the mud. I could not, would not caked in crud.
I will not do it on a trail. I will not do it in some hail.
I will not do it here or there. I will not do it anywhere.
I do not like to run so late!
I do not like it! It’s not great!

Say! In the dark? Here in the dark! Would you, could you, in the dark?
I would not, could not, in the dark.

Would you, could you through the rain? Would you, could you, through the pain?

I would not, could not in the rain. I could not, would not in some pain.
Not in the dark. Not on a mound.
Not in the cold. Not through the trees.
I do not like it that late, you see.
Not in some mud. Not caked in crud,
Not on a trail. Not in some hail.
I will not do it, here or there. I will not do it, ANYWHERE.

You do not like to be running out so late?
No, I do not. It’s not so great.

You do not like it, so you say, Try it, try it, and you may.
Ack! If you will let me be, I will try it. You will see.

Say!! I do like running so late!
I do! I do! This is freaking great!
And I will do it in the rain! And on a mound! And through the pain!
And in the dark, and through the trees! It is so great! So great, you see!
So I will do it on a trail. And I will do it in some hail.
And I will do it in the mud. And I will do it caked in crud.
And I will do it here and there. Say! I will do it ANYWHERE!

I do so like to run this late!
Thank you! Thank you! This was great!

January 14, 2013

SHivering Icy Trail Run Results

Due to Life getting in the way, it has taken me a few days to get these out, but here they are... the Results from the SHITR!   Blog Post coming soon.
SHivering Icy Trail Run Results

Name Time Place
Jacob Vohsen 1:14 Short Course 6M
Rob Ragnet-Schofield 1:43 1st Male
Travis Redden 1:49 2nd Male
Aaron Fanetti 1:51 3rd Male
Jeff Sona 1:55
Colby Nulik 1:57
Emily Korsch 1:58 1st Female
Megan Killian 2:03 2nd Female
Chris Fulkerson 2:05
Brian Hey 2:05
Eric Buckley 2:08
Garrett Fulkerson 2:10
Jeremy Nulik 2:10
Joe Froehlic 2:12
Bill Stevens 2:12
Jeff Mittler 2:13
Jim Donahue 2:17
Doug Bristow 2:18
Drew West 2:20
Keith Timmins 2:20
Brigitte Stotter 2:20 3rd Female
Doug Havlin 2:20
Tim Burke 2:26
James Browning 2:28 Short Course
Luke Lamb 2:36
Carrie Sona 2:36
Patrick Albert 2:40
Robby Brown 2:43
Russ Darbon 2:44
Jim Smith 2:50 Short Course
Janie Smith 2:50 Short Course
Chuck Vohsen 2:53
Trevor James 2:53
Kate Geisen 2:54
Joe Buffa 2:55
Josh Kottemann 3:06
Wendy Davis 3:06
Matt Dube 3:20
Tori Hamill 3:20
TJ Pasieka 3:20
Chad Hannon 3:33
Bob Goldmember 3:33
Beth James 3:33
Christina Luebbert 3:50 Short Course 11.8
Kerri Fulkerson 3:55

January 9, 2013


We’ve been watching the weather and hoping for cold and snow.  NOAA has one forecast, Weather Channel has something different.  Typical.  Don’t let their crappy forecasts convince you to stay home or you will miss out!

KIND Healthy Snacks has provided us with a load of their awesome bars to be handed out during sign-in.  I hope we have enough for everyone, but don’t be late – quantity is limited!

Lori has been busy working away with her vinyl cutting equipment to design and cut these cool decals for all SHITR finishers.  They are now complete and ready to be passed out at the finish line:

And don’t forget the mystery event.  I was 46 yrs old before I got to check this item off my “gotta do list”. 

January 8, 2013

MId-Week Adventure

Had the new gravel bike out for a shake-down ride on a mid-week adventure.  Can't believe it almost hit 50 degrees in January.  The Blueberry Pecan KIND bar tucked in the side of my seat bag didn't survive the ride.  These bars are my new favorites!

January 2, 2013

Come Run With Us - Details

Plans for the SHIvering Icy Trail Run have been coming along nicely, which is good, because it’s coming up soon!  So here are some more details:

Date is January 12th, and our start time is 5pm.  The start/finish will be at the Mound parking lot.  We have to go off on time, so it would be good to come a little early.  There will be an amazing $68,000 Schwag package tossed around and Robin will make some announcements about the course and the mystery event. 
We have gotten a lot of help organizing and promoting the SHITR from the 100+ Project .  Please consider dropping a donation in the 100+ bucket at the start line to help the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

 Course Description

In true adventure race fashion we will start by running uphill.  With one out-n-back to the top of the mound (the highest point in St Charles County).   The mound is closed after dark, so we only get the one trip to the top and it has to be at the start.  Bonus Cool Points to anyone that slides back down on the handrails.  I am sure SuperKate could be talked into making some side bets on it before the race!

We’ll then continue down the Hamburg Trail before turning right onto the steep gravel hill dropping onto the Lost Valley trail.  Take the first left turn possible and do the loop in a clockwise direction, then back up the gravel hill to the Hamburg and the finish. 

GORC has a great overview of the trail and the area here:  http://www.gorctrails.com/trails/mlostvalley.asp

And here is a Garmin track I made of the course.  http://connect.garmin.com/activity/253849989

There will be a sign-in sheet where we are asking everyone to put in their name before the start, and their finish time when they complete the loop.  If you don’t care about time, just write Finish, Left Early, or You Suck.  This way we know if anyone is left laying out on the trail with a broken leg, so please don’t leave without putting something on there. 
We will try to get some reflective tape out on the course ahead of time, but don’t count on it.  It’s an unsupported adventure for experienced trail runners, not a pre-planned summertime 5K in the city park.  

Mystery Event
If there is a mystery event, it will be part of the run.  You might be asked to solve a puzzle or find a specific piece of information to bring back to the finish line - thus claiming your share of the custom-made unique prize identifying you as a SHITR finisher.  The bit of information will only be found / deciphered by visiting an exact location which you will not be told.  (The smart guys will check our previous “Come Run with Us” post for the mystery event clue.)