As we walked to the starting line of the Land Between the Lakes 60k, we could hear thunder clapping in the distance. There was nothing surprising about it. With greater concern each day, the local weather forecasts had been calling for volatile weather on race day in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. But no weather forecaster, no training plan or coach, could have ever prepared me for what I was about to encounter.
The race director hustled us off at exactly 6:30 AM. My guess is he figured the sooner he got us buried beneath the trees within the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, the sooner we'd forget about the storm brewing in the sky above them.
It worked. After a 2-mile run on the road from Lighthouse Landing to the trail, we entered the woods - minds fixed on the work to be done. The trail is an 11.3 mile loop with views of both Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkely along the way. My friend Nicole and I were in for the 60K, so we'd get 3 loops worth of the views. Only on this day, I'd spend far more time battling for footing and balance than admiring what I'm sure on a sunny day - are scenes from the Divine.
The race started with several hundred of us running together. However, because most were in for the 23K - one loop around and then call it a day - the crowd thinned quickly as the morning wore on.