Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sweet H20 50K.....

Saturday Trey and I lined up for the Sweet H20 50K Trail Race just below Atlanta, Ga. The day brought some grueling heat along with a very challenging course. I've written a race report below.

(Photo of Trey at the start line) We started the race on a paved road that seemingly went for over a mile. Running on pavement is never something I choose to do in trail shoes, but I know it was set-up this way to thin things out and let each individual settle into their own pace before dropping onto the single track trail. The front end of the course wasn't too bad. At least... I don't remember it being too bad. I was cruising along at a very comfortable pace until we hit a series of powerline trails that looked much like roller coasters! Up, down, up, down, up, down!! There must have been at least 6-8 of these! This part of the course broke down many runners. I ran as much of this as I could and kept things positive. Shortly after this Trey and I decided to go our separate ways. I just kept plugging along and found myself running with some guys that I had met at other trail events in the southeast. I remember telling a guy named Jeff that I was just going to run the best I could and see what happened.... and also explained to him that I had run a trail marathon the week before. He also... had done a race the weekend before. I swear.... we trail runners are just plain sick! Not long after this I got a little burst of energy and was able to increase pace a bit.

(Photo of the creek)
I was on my own for a while and found myself delirious the second time around on the powerline trails! "Just keep going... Just keep going".... I would say to myself and I ended up running more of the powerline that I thought possible! The aid station at the top of these powerlines was a sight for sore eyes! I refilled my hydration pack, drank some gatorade and took some ice and kept trucking. This must have given me a new burst of energy as I was able to run a decent pace again. In fact... I passed a group of 4-5 guys on one of the descents! Time seemed to go by fairly quickly after this... UNTIL mile 20. Mile 20 was the creek crossing. Only 1 person at a time was allowed to cross. My wait to get across the creek was 8-10mins. Once across... I found my running legs again and was able to overtake another couple of runners.

(Photo of a snake skin around mile 29... possibly a rattlesnake skin. There were signs warning of them along the course)
At Mile 29 I found myself sick to my stomach and even thought I was gong to puke! Somehow... I was able to pull it together and talk myself out of throwing up and kept going. It was like a battle to tell my body to keep going. Every time I wanted to stop and walk I would tell myself "NO... you are going to break 6 hours you wuss!".

Sure enough the finish line was close and I knew I could break 6 hours. I rolled in at 5:57. A very respectable time on a tough course with temperatures in the low 90's! I was 9th overall female in a group of women who were tough as nails!... And a new PR for me on 50K distance. Trey rolled in around 6:43 and this was also a good time considering he had only run 20miles for the month leading up to this race.

(Photo of Sal and I after the race)

I would rate this course as tougher than Mtn Mist 50K... If anyone needs a comparison. Not sure that it is harder than Cheaha 50k, but it ranks up there with some of the harder races in the southeast.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Scenic City Trail Marathon

On Saturday I lined up for the Scenic City Trail Marathon. This would be my 3rd race for the month. I had no real expectations for myself... just wanted to use this race as a solid training run.

Sergio and I agreed to run as much of the race together as possible. We started about 3/4 of the way back in the field and quickly realized we were going to have to work our way up. The first lap went pretty well and we were able to pass alot of folks. We also ran about half of the first lap with Randy Whorton and Doug Dooley. Hanging with them really pumped me up! The second lap got a little more interesting.... Sergio took a few tumbles on the trail and eventually had to fall back. I kept trucking and was very surprised when I overtook Natalie Sims on the trail. She is way strong and must have been having a bad day out there is all I could figure. After passing Natalie I ran with a couple of guys who ended up passing me by.... at this point I was running solo until I ran up on Brenda Simril. Brenda turned and saw me and quickly speed up! This went on for a good 20mins or so until I couldn't keep her in sight anymore.

At the last aid station Kris Whorton told me that I was 2nd overall female and all I could think is "legs... please don't stop now!" Brenda ended up with first overall female and I rolled in with a time of 3:58 and a placement of second overall female. WOW.... I even beat my best road marathon time.. ON THE TRAIL!!!!

Now... let's see how the Sweet H20 50K goes next weekend!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Twisted Ankle 1/2 Trail Marathon....

Trey and I ran the Twisted Ankle 1/2 Trail Marathon on Saturday. The race is in Summerville, Ga and is approximately 1 hour from our house. We were the only Chattanoogans signed up for the 1/2. Most everyone else came up from the Atlanta area or came in from other larger cities within 2-3 hours away.
On the drive down to the race I wasn't feeling so spectacular. Can't put a finger on exactly how I felt, but I just didn't feel like I had "it". We've all felt like this at some point. Needless to say.. going into the race.. I wasn't gonna place any expectations on myself.

We started the race and upon mile 2 was the biggest damn hill I've ever seen in my life. Nothing could have prepared me for this!!! Needless to say EVERYONE was walking this mother. I saw no one running it. Probably lasted for 3/4 of a mile... felt more like 2 miles! Once we were at the top I started feeling sick and my stomach was in knots... had to stop and walk for a bit. Trey said I must have gas and told me to get rid of it!! YEAH... like it's that easy to do! We walk for 4-5 minutes and during this time I was passed by 4-5 girls. ARGH... why was this happening to me! Finally the knots went away and I began to jog and eased back into my run. Somehow I was able to go faster and faster and before I knew it I had passed every female that passed me during my little episode! The last bit of the race was a gnarly downhill then it flattened out. On the downhill I was able to pass a few more girls and gained a 1/2 mile or so on the last one I passed. Upon crossing the finish line I learned that I was 3rd overall female! YAY!!

Now.. let's hope the stomach issues never creep up on me again... ugh....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Motivation found at Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman.....

So... it's been a while since I last posted. Been busy with LOTS of trail running and working on speed! Hopefully it's all gonna pay off in the long run.

May 9th I competed in the Gulf Coast 1/2 Ironman with very little bike or swim fitness. For once... I was ready for that grueling hot run though! The swim was terrible.. I'm pretty sure that was the worst swim time I've EVER posted in my life. Maybe it was the 6-7 foot swells?! Maybe it was the lack of swimming on my part?! The bike went very well to my amazement. Ended up pulling off a 20.5mph average for the 56miles. The run was solid, but I could have most likely gone faster with some bike fitness under my belt! Ended up with 9th in my division and walk away from the awards ceremony with my first EVER award from this huge event that attracts the best from all across the country! Sooo.. I'm a happy camper.

Maybe next time I won't sign-up last minute and will have put more than 5-6 rides in and more than 4-5 swims in. Good news is that this event has motivated me to get back on the bike get back in the water too!

No pictures from the race. Enjoy the ones we took at the beach instead!