My running buddies Mark and Kristy were there and we met-up before the race.
Check out this Superwoman. They offered everything from a 5K to a 50 miler during the weekend-long event. On top all the miles she’s running with her Atlanta Running Tours company and with Big Peach Running Co, she chose to run the half-marathon. The 10K was more than enough for me. She had awesome finish and didn't even get her sneakers dirty!
Going into this, I was expecting pinestraw covered walking paths and rolling hills through the forest.
Don’t be fooled by this picture either. The course looked like this for about a milli-second.
Oh no, it was really was more like this
The entire race was a narrow track of roots and rocks with a 1500ft flux in elevation. There were points were you had to use your hands to get up a hill or had to turn sideways to shimmy around a ledge.
For someone used to road races, it was hard to be patient. The trail never became wide enough to run any way but single file.
When we came to a small, dried-up stream bed, I thought this would be a good opportunity to pass some people ahead of me since there was enough room to get around them. I was getting antsy to make a move. My toe got caught as I leapt over, and I face planted on the other side, scrapping up my knees and elbows quite nicely.
We were only a half-mile in at this point. Did someone say patience?
It felt like forever before my Garmin chirped for the first mile. One stinkin’ mile done. I couldn’t believe it. I was sure we had to be at least halfway done. I almost left my Garmin at home because I didn’t think it would work with the tree cover, and my pace would be irrelevant anyway. It worked fine, and I was very glad to have it since my sense of time and distance was completely distorted.
Around the mile mark is when the other women dropped off, and I began playing leap-frog with the woman who I thought she was the lead. After a few minutes of dueling, she with shot ahead of me on an uphill and disappeared from sight.
With about 2 miles left, I ran through the lone aid station and they confirmed I was the second place female. This gave me the boost I needed to keep pushing. I figured first place was out of reach, but I sure as heck was going to hold onto second.
My Garmin continued clicking onward with no finish line in sight. Then suddenly, there it was. Sweet Jesus, blue sky and an open field ahead. It was clear shot to the finish, and the first place woman was in view!
I sprinted my tail off but couldn’t close the gap. She beat me by 8 seconds. For my first trail race, basically since high school cross-country sometime in the late 90’s, I couldn’t have been happier with second place though. It was another 6 minutes before the 3rd place lady came in.
Was this road runner in over her head entering a trail race? Totally. Was it a great experience? Absolutely.
Our friends Kurt, Krysti, and son Jakob live in the area and met up with us after the race to do some more hiking.
We planned to do 6 miles but cut it short at 4. It was taking longer than we expected and the kiddos were getting really fussy. I was pretty much over it too, but I didn’t want to ruin it for the group. Thanks for giving me an out Emily.
I also have to give big shout out to Mr. Blondie for waking up so early in the morning on his day off, driving the 2 hours each way to the race, and entertaining the kiddo for hours while I raced. You’re the best!
Now if you’ll excuse me. I need to waddle off and find my foam roller.