The first annual first-ever Pod Trod was held last Sunday at gorgeous Clinton Lake park in Lawrence, Kansas. Man, was it fun. The idea was that you download a narrated course description the night before the race onto your mp3 player - and don't listen to it! You then show up the next morning, and when the race starts, you start listening and running. Or listening and standing. Or listening and running back to wherever you just were. Whatever.
I convinced my friend Theresa to run this one with me. Actually, I had several friends say they would, then they bailed. Whatever. We got down to the lake about half an hour before the start, milled around for a bit, and got ready for the race.
I had downloaded Clinton Confusion. Theresa didn't have a working mp3 player so our solution was to use the speakerphone on my iPhone so we could both listen to the description. It actually ended up working pretty well. You could choose from one of three courses; Clinton Confusion, Lumbering Luddite or Mud Babes Revenge. All three transversed basically the same area around the blue, red and white trails at the park, they just all went in different directions at different times.
Gary Henry gave the pre-race briefing to the 50-or-so assembled runners which mainly consisted of "have a lot of fun out there". I had a feeling we would. With that Gary sent us on our way, or "ready, set, play".
The first part was easy, run to this big brown house. Check. Everyone kept running past it and we hadn't listened to the next track so we just followed them while listening to Greg "LeCompton" Burger tell us to head down to Lands End. Lands End is this 5 or 6 trail intersection only a Brit could really appreciate. We came down this hill to the sight of 30 or so runners just standing there, heads cocked, looking up in the air, intensely concentrating on something. If someone would have seen it and not known about the race they seriously would have thought that the aliens had just turned on their brainwashing devices and we were all standing there waiting to get picked up. It was hilarious.
You have to pick up tokens during the race to prove that you passed the several checkpoints. Greg sent us down the blue trail for a while to some stairs, which we were to climb, then get back on the white trail and end up at Lands End again. Check. No ticket yet. Odd.
We then took off the other way on the blue trail, randomly passing people running in all directions on the trails, very reminiscent of the museum scene at the end of The Thomas Crown Affair when there's "guys with bowler hats all over the place". It was hilarious.
We found the #2 'token' which got us real worried about where #1 was. We decided to keep moving on. We were directed to the red trail along the shoreline, headed West, for about half a mile. This was a tough section as it was very rocky and rooty and narrow and there were people passing us going the other way. After a while and some turns we found the #3 'token'. Easy. Dammit, where was #1?
We were directed back to Land's End and told to head to the finish. We started that way but stopped before there deciding we needed to find the first token. We re-traced our steps and found a bucket at the first set of stairs that said "CCC #1". Yeah, that wasn't there when we headed out.
The way back to the finish was along the white trail. We could hear the folks at the start/finish so we decided to cut through the woods and out onto the field instead of trucking all the way back to Land's End to hit the finish. The Nerds at the finish were like "where the hell did you guys come from?" when we came out of the trees. "Shortcut." I said.