My friend Dave got me to sign up for the Squirrelly Tail Twail Wun, a half-marathon outside Harrisburg, PA near Dave’s house. Seven months after the arrival of baby Bjorn, I’m finally not pissing myself when I run hard. So it seemed like a good time to venture back into trail racing.

The Squirrelly Tail had the worst trail conditions I’ve ever seen. It was hard to decide what was worse: the thick white ice rinks or the shin-deep mud. In some places thin ice gave way to goopy brown puddles. ‘Ice slop’ Dave termed it.

Originally, the plan had been for our friends Tom and Meira from State College to run the Squirrelly Tail with us. Meira is a trail vet and would have loved the ridiculous conditions. But at least three times I thanked the heavens that Tom’s business commitments had kept him from racing. After we hit the first ice sheet he would have bailed and scurried back to his Porsche. And I never would have heard the end of Martha And Her Stupid Stupid Trail Running.

The Squirrelly Tail was Dave’s first real trail race, and he decided early on to just run with me. Dave has a history of questionable spatial awareness, and I was a little uneasy with him tight on my tail as I skidded to stop for ice sheets and danced laterally to navigate mud slops. But, after a light heel clip at the start, he put on a Gold Star performance for spatial awareness. Not even a bout of his classic halfwheeling.

I got a cute little squirrel figure for winning the women’s race. And the volunteers served up a mean bowl of peanut butter sweet potato chili, and laughed at how I had kicked mud all the way up my back.

After the race, when Aaron and I were perusing the results on UltraSignUp, we realized that this was the first trail race I’d won in like 5 years (not including Fat Asses). Aaron hadn’t won a race in 7+ years. Geez, what had happened to us? Aaron finally broke his streak with a victory the following weekend at Hashawa Hills 50k. Several times during the Squirrelly Tail I thought how happy I was to be only running 13 miles, and not 50k. With a baby I don’t have time to put in long mountain miles, so I’m going to be honing the shorter distances for a while. Which are a heckuva lot more fun anyway.


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