well it rained the night b/f from midnight until race time, so i knew it was going to be seriously muddy. i knew it wouldn't be a PR race--it would just be a try and survive race. everyone was slipping. everyone was wiping out. everyone had mud on their butts and from their knees down. although...i didn't hear anyone complain. everyone seemed to be having a good time. i wasn't really prepared for all the hills. being in the middle of Illinois, i thought it would be relatively flat. it was ALL hills. the entire day would bring 8,000 feet of elevation gain and decent. there were 10 creek crossings throughout the day, so the feet were wet all day. since the course was all mud and hills, it was tough negotiating. going up meant one step forward and slide two back. going down meant surfing or glissading down the mud. what an adventure. this was my first 50 miler w/out a pacer to help me push on. although i had many ups and downs and feelings of weakness, i felt fairly strong all day. it was by far the toughest trail race i've done so far. i'm so proud of my finishers belt buckle. it was epic! epic, i tell you!