November 14th I lined up to run the second Upchuck 50K. http://www.rockcreek.com/upchuck/ This race is my absolute favorite trail race in the area. It is a point to point run that goes over some of the hardest terrain the Cumberland Trail has to offer. The best part is.... I didn't have to travel anywhere to do the race!!! It's only a 20-25min drive from my house!
I started the race very very conservatively and planned to keep it that way all day since Ironman Cozumel was only 2 weeks away. Everyone said I was crazy to even attempt this before an Ironman, but I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to run on these trails.... They are my favorite after all!
The first part (The Rock Creek Segment) http://www.rockcreek.com/upchuck/ is the fastest and easiest part of the 50K. While this section is beautiful... it is very uneventful until the very end where there is quite a climb to the first aid station.
The second part (The Possum Creek Segment) http://www.cumberlandtrail.org/possum.html is probably the SLOWEST section of the 50K. This segment provides many grueling ups and downs including a VERY LONG climb out of a gorge that leaves you crying for mama! It is also filled with many creeks, pine forest, rhododendron gardens and rock gardens along the way. This one is tough from beginning to end. Seeing the aid station was quite a relief.... and this is where Lance would meet me to pace me in on the last segment as well.
The third part (The Soddy Creek Segment) http://www.cumberlandtrail.org/soddy.html is pretty fast for the first quarter of the way... then the fun begins. It is very similar to the second segment in technicality and also very diverse. The one thing about this section is that there are no bridges across two very wide (and sometimes deep) creeks.... no matter what... you will get wet!!! The leaves on parts of this trail made for interesting running as well.... they were so thick and deep in areas it was like guessing where to step and what might.. or might not... be a good footing! I held true to my word and kept the pace conservative... so once Lance and I made it to the road... I was ready to open it up a bit more going down the mountain to the finish line.
When we rolled into the finish I found out that I had placed 2nd overall female and was just delighted to hear such news!!! And.. just a few minutes later... my good friend Anna came in right behind me to take 3rd overall female! What a great day!
If you like tough 50K trail races.... this one will send you home happy!!!