A few months ago, I got an email from the 50K I did last year (Run for the Kids Trail Challenge) offering me free entry to this year's race. I replied to the RD, thanking him, but declining b/c I assumed I would be taking my team to State. Well, if you read my last post, you know we didn't make. On Sunday, during the LR with Sam, I started throwing around the idea of running it. So, I came home and emailed the RD, asking if the offer was still open. He responded with YES! Being that I had been out of the classroom the past 2 Fridays for track meets, I didn't think I should do that again. We left immediately after school Friday and made it to Birmingham about 8:30. We found out from the front desk that would extend our checkout to 2:00, so we could shower there after the race and head home yesterday. SCORE! I slept like a rock Friday night. TP was shocked b/c he was up half the night due to loud people. He even called the desk to complain. Ugh. I slept straight through, woke up at 4:00 to drink my Ultra Fuel, and went back to sleep until 5:45. We got to the race start about 6:15, with a 7:00 a.m. start. This is where a few unfortunate things happened. I realized I hadn't packed any gels, forgotten my visor AND sunglasses. Awesome. They also delayed the start by 15 minutes. This may not seem like a big deal, but when temps are going to get to 90*, you want every cool minute you can get.
Soon enough, we got underway, and I stuck tight to the first male. My Garmin didn't get good signal from the get-go, so I really have no clue what pace we were running. We were to run 9 laps of 3.4 miles, followed by another short section of trail to get to 50K. Roy and I got to know each other very well out there on the trail. We ran together for 10 miles. It was during the first lap that I realized I would NEVER make my time from last year (4:24). The course was at a totally different place this year, and much tougher. I did appreciate that there was more cloud cover, but the trail was more rolling and technical. We hit the first 3 laps in about 30 minutes each. I could tell Roy was itching to go faster, so I took a potty break, and let him go. Then I ran alone for what felt like forever. This is how it went down every lap- start at "camp" and run for a few yards on the road until we entered the trail. There were 3 very short, but sharp downs and ups, followed by another brief period of road/gravel. We entered the 2nd part of the trail where the rollers started. It was a narrow trail, only one person wide. We crossed over a dam bridge, followed by more rollers until back at the camp. I drank 2 bottles of Hammer Perpetuem, 2 bottles of water, and a bottle of Powerade. It was brutal hot and humid, though. My shirt was drenched after the first lap, and by the 2nd lap, my shorts were drenched, too.
A few interesting randoms from out on the trail...
*The geese hissed at me (and every other runner) every single time we passed by. Hahah.
*At first I didn't mind the mountain bikers passing, but towards the end it got old. I got kind of delirious out there and told one of them "good job." Haha.
*My shoes were awesome- Brooks Pure Grits.
* When we reached the highest point of the course, we had a pretty good view of the lake below. I loved hearing the children and people laughing and playing... until the last lap. Then I had some very bad thoughts about them laughing and playing in the cool water.
*My boyfriend ROCKS. Seriously, he laid out all my things at the transition area, and when he saw me approaching each time, shouted out, asking me what I needed. He sweetly wiped the dirt off me after the race, and went all the way to the car to get me a towel and my phone. More than that, he encourages me and supports me always. He is great to me every day, but especially on days like yesterday.
*Run for the Kids Trail Challenge has the sweetest RD in the whole world. I have never met an RD that cares so much about the runners. As the runners finished, he went up to each one personally, and asked them what he could get them. He had organized lots of people to basically "serve" the runners food and beverages afterwards. He was there at ever lap, cheering people on. He started this race for Camp Smile-A-Mile and he makes zero profit off it. There aren't many "extras" to the race, just a shirt and mug, but I am hooked- great people doing great things. I will continue to do this race as long as I am able. (They have something called the Trail Challenge, where you basically pick your distance, too.)
The last lap gets a paragraph all to itself. By the time I got to the last lap, I was having to do some walking. Remember Prince that ran with me last year? Well, he was helping at the finish, and when I passed through the last transition, I asked if he wanted to do the last lap with me. So, he helped me out a LOT. I was really tired of running alone. Heck, I was tired of running in general. As we left the gravel area (described above) and turned onto the trail, he shouted, "Snake!" A group of ladies that were walking stopped, and we stopped. It was really long and black and red. I am so annoyed and ready to be done that I say, "Sprint past it!" So off we go. We get to the top of one of the rollers and head back down, when BAM! I tripped and SLID down the hill. I lay there for a minute. The lady walkers behind me are freaking out. I tell them to go on. Prince tells them to go on. I slowly get up and brush off. Minor damage- strawberries on hip/butt, knee, and forearm, creaky foot/ankle. I walk a bit, then start jogging in attempt to finish this thing. We get back to the aid station for the last time and TP runs up to me, asking if I'm okay. He them tells me that he's already run the extra section, and starts giving me explicit directions about. This part wasn't marked as well, so it was kind of tricky, plus I was so tired that I really could've used a yellow brick road to help me find my way. I finally make it out and FINISH!
1st Overall Female, 2nd person
I immediately drink a diet coke while TP works to clean me off.
And that's that!